DISCLAIMER: Star Trek Voyager and all who sail in her belong to Paramount/Viacom and no infringement of copyright/trade marks is intended.
VIOLENCE WARNING: This story deals with captivity, please be advised that punishments are described that deal with technically induced physical pain.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
Part 6: Community
Stardate 52563.7 (July 25, 2375 5:05pm)
After she was released from training, B'Elanna walked back to the quarters she and Seven shared, her mind still mulling over the information she had learned about exactly what duties a Communications and Electronics Specialist was expected to perform as a part of Alpha Squad. It was nothing she couldn't have guessed from her training, but it was nice to find out for certain. In short, she was to find and scan the enemy unit for what information she could find out about them, while preventing the enemy from doing the same to Alpha Squad.
B'Elanna entered the quarters and immediately noticed that Seven was seated on the couch, and of all things, appeared to be writing upon a pad of paper, like in the old movies Tom had insisted she watch. The blonde woman looked over at her entry and smiled, "B'Elanna," she greeted her warmly.
"What's that?" asked the half-Klingon curiously.
Seven hesitated for a moment, "An exercise Lee and Maria suggested to help clarify my thought about being separated from the Borg."
"Oh?" B'Elanna remarked, frowning. She wasn't sure she liked the idea of the two women trying to play therapist with Seven.
"I am making lists of what I lost when I was severed, and what I gained. I believe this type of exercise was a common therapeutic tool used in the twenty-first century." Seven replied. The blond was watching her intently, her head slightly tilted to the side.
B'Elanna nodded, "It's a bit disconcerting to know that we're the only ones from this century."
Seven nodded, "Lee was taken in 2019, Maria in 2003, Nancy in 2008 and Janice in 2014. They woke up in cells where they were paired, just as we were."
"They had no prior knowledge of each other?" B'Elanna asked, trying to imagine what it would have been like to be paired with a complete stranger.
Seven stated, "Elizabeth and Maria recognized one another, but had never actually talked with one another. Christina had never met Nancy, Lee had never meet Amy Lewis, and Janice had never met Brenda Allen. I have not obtained information as yet, about the other couples."
B'Elanna came over and sat down beside Seven. To her surprise the blonde turned over the pad that she had been writing upon, preventing her from seeing what had been written upon it. Concerned she frowned even more deeply, and took in a breath to try and explain to Seven that no matter how well meaning the two women were they shouldn't be doing this.
"Lee and Maria assured me you would respect my privacy in this; they appear to have been wrong." Seven said, as she turned back over the pad of paper and rose. "I will prepare our bath." There was a world of hurt in her eyes and voice that stunned the half-Klingon.
"Seven, wait," B'Elanna asked as she turned back over the pad. "I do respect your privacy; I'm just worried that they could hurt you, if they don't know what they're doing." She knew, though Seven had never said it explicitly, that the blonde had come to appreciate the relative privacy she had gained in their captivity. B'Elanna certainly didn't want to do anything which would make the blonde think that she didn't respect her right to it.
Seven paused and looked back at her, "Though many advances have been made in the development of pharmaceuticals, the basic principles of psychoanalysis have not changed appreciably in the past 350 years."
B'Elanna was about to reply when she realized that she might be lacking a vital piece of information. "Are you saying they have training?"
Seven raised her brow, "Lee Scott has Doctorial Degrees in Theoretical Physics and Counseling Psychology as well as a Masters Degree in Divinity. Maria has a Doctorial degree in Clinical and Counseling Psychology. Janice has a Masters Degree in Social Work, and had completed all but the residency requirement of her Doctorate degree in Counseling Psychology. She has worked with Lee and Maria to complete that requirement, and though they cannot officially give her the degree, she now has all the training required for it."
"Oh," B'Elanna replied weakly, "Good grief, there are three of them. You know you have the right to tell them to go away, they didn't bully you into this did they?"
Seven looked amused, "No, they did not 'bully' me into anything B'Elanna, and it is time for our bath."
"Are you implying that I smell?" replied the half-Klingon with mock indignity, knowing full well that she reeked from all the sweating she had done during the day, and trying to lighten the mood further. Orientation had taken about an hour, the rest of the time had been spent in team runs of the obstacle course. She was unconcerned about the robot reacting, over the course of several months it became apparent that more than their tone's were being monitored, and the robots were exceptionally accurate in detecting when they were actually angry.
Seven took in a breath from where she was standing across the room and raised her brow once again, then turned smartly on her heel, and headed into the bath room.
B'Elanna ambled after her, "Theoretical Physics, Psychology and Divinity, interesting mix of degrees." She commented as she entered the bath room.
"Her first degree was in Theoretical Physics from Cambridge University, which was still in existence when Voyager last had contact with the Federation. The thesis paper she presented is in Voyager's database, as are the remainder of her writings. She obtained her Divinity degree immediately afterward, also from Cambridge University, and served as a minister for six years before going to Bangor University, for her Psychology Doctorate." Seven responded as she adjusted the water temperature.
"She's in Voyager's database?" replied B'Elanna surprised.
"Yes," Seven glanced toward her, "She was one of the primary authors of the religious theory of Free Will. She was also one of the central figures in the formation of the Church of Conscious Design in 2015, as well as it's first President."
B'Elanna stared at Seven in disbelief, she had certainly heard of the Church of Conscious Design, it was the precursor of the only major remaining system of religious philosophy on Earth, now known simply as Deism. And now B'Elanna realized where she had seen Elizabeth Scott before. A picture of the woman could usually be found somewhere in almost every Deist meeting hall.
Stardate 52581.59 (August 1, 2375 06:45am)
B'Elanna breathed deeply through her nose, knowing that Elizabeth would give her a look and a lecture if she saw her panting through her mouth.
"And down," Elizabeth called, the russet haired woman dropped into a perfect push-up position along with the entire Squad, and began calling out the next twenty-five, four position push-ups.
B'Elanna cursed the woman silently as she called out with the rest, "One, two, three, four, one. One, two, three, four, two " On the first day she joined Alpha Squad, and found out that Elizabeth had been a Colonel in the old United States Marine Corps, she had been very interested in finding out what the woman's life had been like. But that had been before she joined the unit in their daily exercise drill that started at 0600 hours. This was entirely too much first hand experience in how the former Marine had lived.
B'Elanna ran through the completed exercises, trying to figure out how much longer she had until she could go back to her quarters, take a quick bath and sit down with Seven for breakfast. This new time schedule was hard to adjust to, she had to wake up and pull herself away from a very cuddly, naked blonde, get dressed, and then force herself to leave on time when Seven insisted on getting up and giving her a good morning kiss. Since the blonde was about to take her own bath, Seven didn't see any reason to get dressed before kissing her, thus B'Elanna's difficulty in leaving.
This morning, after the events of the previous night, it had been especially difficult to pull away from Seven and go to training.
They had been sitting on the couch after eating dinner when B'Elanna finally asked Seven what had been bothering her all evening. The blonde had been noticeably distracted and worried about something ever since the half-Klingon had entered their quarters.
B'Elanna had grown increasingly alarmed as Seven stood up, actually paced back and forth a few times, and then finally stopped in front of her and took on her old Borgish stance, feet slightly apart, stiffly upright and hands behind her back. It was out of character for her after all this time, and looked even odder as she was wearing a pale green silk robe.
"Seven?" B'Elanna stood up as well, deeply unsettled by the blonde's reversion to the old mannerism, and wondering what in Gre'thor was going on to upset her so much.
"B'Elanna," Seven interrupted her, "if we were returned to Voyager would you return to Lt Paris?" the last words came out in a rush.
B'Elanna stared at her silently for a moment in surprise, then she reached out and pulled her into a hug. "No, Seven. I said my goodbye to Tom the night we first made love. I won't leave you, not even if we get released and somehow find our way back."
Seven's arms wrapped around her back and the blonde hugged her back. "You will not?" the slight waver in her voice betrayed her continuing need for reassurance.
"Seven," B'Elanna waited until the blonde looked up at her. "I," she bent down and gently kissed soft lips, "choose," this time she claimed the soft lips more passionately, "you." This time when she kissed Seven, she didn't withdraw, and when the blonde's lips parted beneath her own, she claimed what was offered as well.
When they finally parted she gazed into Seven's darkened eyes, "Because I want to." She didn't say anything further; she didn't dare, as it might be interpreted as a criticism of their treatment. She could only hope that Seven would understand everything she meant by those words.
Seven's eyes widened, and she nodded. "I want this as well," she declared. The blonde rested her head against B'Elanna's collarbone, and they stood silently in each others' arms for a moment. "Lee was correct, I was 'making a mountain of a mole-hill'," she murmured.
"What?" asked B'Elanna, unfamiliar with the term, though she thought she could guess what it meant.
"I was letting my fear of your answer turn the question into a bigger obstacle than it actually was," Seven replied straightening, and leaned back against the half-Klingon's arms, letting their strength support her. "Lee warned me that if I did not face my fear and ask you, that my doubt would poison the emotions I feel when I think about you. I did not want that to occur, even though I do not understand all of them, they are important to me."
B'Elanna sucked in a breath, searching Seven's eyes for any hint of what feelings the blonde was referring to feeling for her. She wasn't sure, but that certainly sounded like Sevenish for 'I think I'm falling in love with you.' Or maybe it was just wistful thinking.
'Wistful thinking?' B'Elanna thought to herself. 'Do I want Seven to fall in love with me? Am I falling in love with her?' She considered the questions for a moment then ruefully she silently acknowledged, 'well I was thinking just a week ago that it would be easy to fall for her.'
Focusing on Seven once again B'Elanna admitted, "I'm feeling some rather intense emotions when I think about you too, their rather new to me as well."
Seven's blue eyes opened wide, and she stared silently back at B'Elanna for so long that the half-Klingon became rather nervous that she had just completely misread the blonde, and admitted too much too soon. Then suddenly Seven reached up and grabbed her head and pulled her down into a passionate kiss.
"Make love to me," the blonde requested when she finally released B'Elanna.
"Absolutely," B'Elanna agreed, and lifted Seven into her arms. She was almost in the bedroom when she noticed that Seven was looking at her with a curious expression on her face. "What?" she asked.
"You have performed this action with increasing frequency ever since your treatments were finished. Does it have some meaning of which I am unaware?" Seven inquired curiously.
"Ahh," she hedged, as she laid Seven down gently upon the bed. She was still trying to figure out how to answer, when she noticed the gleam in the blonde's eye and an ever so slight quirk to her lips.
"Your teasing me," she exclaimed.
"Yes," replied Seven. Then more uncertainly, "I did not do it correctly?"
B'Elanna got upon the bed with Seven. "No, you did it perfectly," she admitted. "I'm not sure why actually; I just like how it makes me feel." She did like having the strength to pick Seven up so casually, but that wasn't the main reason, she just liked how it felt to hold the blonde like that.
Seven's expression turned analytical for a moment as she examined B'Elanna, then the look faded and the blonde stated calmly, "Acceptable."
The half-Klingon eyed the blonde uncertainly for a moment, wondering what had Seven had just decided her actions meant, but decided to drop the subject, she wasn't certain she wanted to know. Besides, there were many other things she wanted to do, now that they were here. Moving quickly she shed her robe and moved so that she was completely on top of Seven, supporting her weight on one knee and both hands, and barely touching the blonde's body.
She was not surprised to see Seven's eyes darken, and her nostrils flare, as the blonde's eyes wandered over her body, and her hands explored the musculature of B'Elanna's arms as they supported her weight. "I'm not the only one who likes my new strength," the half-Klingon noted with a smile, "or the fact that I'm now taller than you."
"No you are not," Seven readily admitted with a smile of her own. She met B'Elanna's brown eyes frankly, "Though I considered you to be aesthetically pleasing before they were made."
"So you thought I was sexy before?" B'Elanna asked smirking, her eyes wandering appreciatively over the form underneath her.
"Yes," agreed Seven simply, as she tightened her arms around the half-Klingon.
B'Elanna submitted and rested a little more of her weight on the blonde, knowing that Seven liked it.
Seven twisted restlessly under her, "B'Elanna I need " she trailed off, and the half-Klingon could see the frustration on her face.
"You need what, Seven?" she asked softly.
"I am unsure," came the aggravated reply, "I need to know that you need me, I need to be touched by you, I need you to hold me . I need I need to hear your sub-vocal growl, I need the feeling that it causes in me." Seven looked at her desperately, silently asking if B'Elanna at least understood what she needed, even if she didn't.
Seven was breathing rapidly, agitatedly, B'Elanna shifted more of her weight onto one side and reached up and stroked the blonde's face gently calming her. Once Seven was less emotional, B'Elanna shifted her weight once again. "What do you feel when I lay on you like this."
Seven considered the question, "Protected, safe."
B'Elanna captured Seven's wrists and pinned them to the bed on either side of the blonde, "And now."
"Aroused," Seven struggled slightly and then stilled, "helpless secure." The blond frowned slightly.
"You know I wouldn't hurt you," B'Elanna assured her.
"Yes," Seven agreed and her face smoothing out as she understood, "That is why I feel secure, even though you are displaying your superior strength."
B'Elanna lowered her head and began kissing the blonde, the usual surrendering parting of Seven's lips was all the trigger she needed. This time she didn't bother to try and hide the growl of possessiveness, instead she pulled back and stared into Seven's blue eyes as she made the sound.
Seven's eyes widened, a tremor ran through her entire frame, and she arched against B'Elanna's body and moaned.
Hearing, seeing, smelling Seven's reaction, the half-Klingon finally uttered what had been silent in her mind until now, "Mine." she growled.
A sharp longing cry broke forth from Seven, "Yes," she agreed.
A loud cough brought her abruptly back to the present, looking around confusedly B'Elanna realized with embarrassment that everyone but she was standing. Her fellow members of Alpha Squad were staring at her with mingled looks of curiosity and amusement.
"And here I was thinking that you didn't really like doing push-ups." Elizabeth's voice drew her attention to the front of the unit.
B'Elanna groaned silently, as she jumped to her feet. "Sorry," she apologized, feeling some relief that at least they didn't know what she had been thinking about.
Elizabeth chuckled softly, and meeting her grey eyes B'Elanna realized from the knowing smirk on the other woman's face that perhaps she shouldn't make that assumption.
Stardate 52598.36 (August 7, 2375 09:43am)
B'Elanna sat with Elizabeth, Christina, and Amy Lewis, Lee's partner, half-listening to the conversation between them. Amy was the de facto leader of the weapons specialists, not because of her prior occupation, but because she showed an uncanny grasp of tactics and a sure sense of where to place her people and equipment to maximize their effectiveness. Prior to her capture she had been the president of a small company providing managed computer information security services to the United States government.
The majority of B'Elanna's attention was on Seven, who with several other women were huddled around the newest addition. B'Elanna didn't know either of the baby's mothers well. Lisa Stewart had been a member of the Canadian Royal Mounted Police, and was now the squads' best rifle sniper, Karen Collins had been an Emergency Medical Technician. The newborn, Heather, was Karen's second child, the oldest child Evelyn, was three, and currently sitting between her two mothers.
Karen looked up and spotted Seven examining her child curiously. "Do you know much about children, Seven?" she asked.
Seven was startled at being addressed. "No I do not," she answered finally.
"Well if you would like, you can help with Heather, that way your own won't be so much of a surprise." Karen offered.
"My own?" repeated Seven blankly.
B'Elanna froze for a second at the implications of the woman's words. Then she glanced around in realization, children, every couple had children, why hadn't it occurred to her that she and Seven would eventually as well. Hurriedly she rose, Seven was looking around as well, and from the wide eyed panicky look the blonde was getting, B'Elanna knew that Seven had reached the same conclusion.
"I'm sorry I thought you realized," Karen said uncertainly.
Seven's eyes met B'Elanna's as she crossed the intervening distance between them. "I didn't realize either," she answered the unspoken question in Seven's blue eyes, as she placed reassuring hands on the blonde's shoulders. She glanced once again toward the children playing in one corner of the room then back again to Seven, "But I guess we should have."
"Seven," Lee had come over in the confusion, her face troubled. "I'm sorry, it didn't occur to me that you didn't know. I guess because we're all so used to it by now." She waited until Seven acknowledged her words with a nod. "You won't be alone in this you know, you have B'Elanna, and you have all of us to help you," she smiled reassuringly. "And if I may say so, we do have quite a bit of combined experience," she glanced over at her own two children and smiled fondly.
Seven glanced at Lee, over Karen and her newborn, then back to B'Elanna for a long moment.
B'Elanna pushed down her own trepidation and met Seven's eyes unflinchingly. Her own doubts were less important than letting Seven know that they would deal with this together.
Seven took in a deep breath, "We will adapt," it was more of a question than statement.
More firmly B'Elanna repeated, "We will adapt," as she squeezed the blonde's shoulders reassuringly.
Seven nodded, and then moved closer to the half-Klingon, silently requesting that B'Elanna hold her.
It was a request B'Elanna was only to happy to fulfill, as feeling the blonde's slim frame resting against her own was definitely a pleasure. When they had first begun their physical relationship Seven had held back a part of herself in these hugs, it hadn't even been something B'Elanna had noticed until after Seven had asked her about Tom. It wasn't any large difference, but rather several small differences. Seven leaned into her now, relaxing completely, and molded herself as closely as she could against B'Elanna's body. Their embraces had become a statement of Seven's trust in her that B'Elanna cherished.
After a minute Seven stirred, and B'Elanna loosened her hold. Turning in the half-Klingon's arms the blonde addressed Karen. "When may I begin my training?"
"Ah," the woman replied caught by surprise, "Well no time like the present I guess, I can show you how to hold a newborn."
There were a few minutes of discussion back and forth primarily between Lee, Maria, Janice, Seven and Karen, before Seven allowed that perhaps her clinical knowledge of an infants physiology, did not in fact translate into a proper way to hold an infant so their emotional needs for security and reassurance were being met. Finally they had Seven's arms and hands arranged to their liking, and Heather was placed within them.
The blue eyes of the infant looked curiously at the being so nervously holding her, and she promptly decided to wave her arms and feet about. Seven immediately responded by holding the infant more securely against her chest as she looked down at it wide eyed, startled and momentarily concerned that she might drop the child. Once Heather quieted, the two of them, infant and woman, examined one another with intent curiosity.
B'Elanna stared at her lover, a curious sensation making itself known in her chest. What would Seven look like pregnant with their child, what would the child look like, and how would Seven look holding their own child instead of another's.
Stardate 52705.42 (September 15, 2375 11:34am)
"Contacts," B'Elanna reported, into the communications transmitter embedded in her helmet, as soon as she saw the two signals show up on the readout screen imbedded in the forearm of her coal black tactical suit.
Elizabeth immediately raised her hand in a halt gesture, and the entire unit paused and dropped to their knees, those assigned as scouts fanned out and took up forward positions their eyes trained on the forest around them.
"Contact one, 326 meters, 10 o'clock, inclination 5 degrees. Contact two, 345 meters, 1 o'clock, inclination 7 degrees." B'Elanna finished reporting. Looking toward the location of the contacts she couldn't see much of anything but the reddish grey bark of the fifty meter tall coniferous trees that made up the majority of the forest they were currently moving through.
"Scouts," remarked Christina's distinctive voice in B'Elanna's earpiece. She now knew enough about her fellow squad members to know that Christina's accent was Canadian, and was easily distinguishable from the softer drawl of Elizabeth's southern American accent.
"Likely," was Elizabeth's reply, "Dampening field?" she asked.
B'Elanna had already been verifying it's functioning, expecting the question. "Operating at 100%, they don't know we're here."
"Let's keep it that way. B'Elanna, move up and join accompany rifle squad one. Rifle squad one recon forward once she is in position. All other rifle squads hold position." Elizabeth ordered.
B'Elanna jogged forward, and took up a position in the middle of the squad, near the squad leader, Amy Lewis, Lee's partner. As soon as she was in place, Amy ordered the squad to move forward. "Ok slow and easy, let's move forward 50 meters before we go to ground."
B'Elanna resisted the urge to groan at the statement. Going to ground meant just that, they would move one by one; go from cover to cover, and creep and crawl if necessary, the rest of the way. Just why their captor had given them black suits, instead of more practical camouflage one's, was anyone's guess, but it meant that they had to be extra cautious if they wanted to spot the enemy first instead of the other way around. It was both fortunate, and unfortunate for the unit, that the lack of sunlight at the forest floor discouraged a lot of undergrowth. It meant that there weren't a lot of plants or bushes to crawl through, and it meant that there wasn't much to take cover behind except for the tree trunks.
At least today was just another training mission, instead of a real one, and the 'enemy' were actually robots, instead of some unknown Delta quadrant species. But as Elizabeth had pointed out; the whole point of training was to prepare you for the real thing, and if you left your guard down in training because it was 'only training,' you had no chance in hell to ever survive the real thing.
Watching her readout screen the half-Klingon frowned at the information displayed, they had moved maybe 35 meters but the contacts were now 280 meters and 297 meters away. "Contacts on the move in our direction, now 279 meters, 10 o'clock, inclination 3 degrees; and 297 meters, 1 o'clock, inclination 5 degrees." She cursed herself for not noticing sooner as she reported the information.
She wasn't entirely sure just why but each time they trained some type of information would be denied them. This time it was knowledge of the terrain they were operating on. Her scanning equipment which would normally give a very accurate topographical readout, was currently reporting absolutely no information about the surrounding land at all.
"Halt," Amy immediately called out. As soon as everyone stopped moving she came over to where B'Elanna crouched.
"They've been moving steadily lower ever since they showed up as contacts." The half-Klingon called up the data from 10 minutes ago and ran it forward as Amy watched. "I think there is a large hill of some type in that direction that they are coming down from."
"I think your right. Elizabeth did you hear B'Elanna's report?" Amy asked.
"Yes, hold at your current location and keep watch. Keep me updated, we're going to scout around here and see if we can find a decent ambush spot." Elizabeth replied.
'If only there were some way I could manually enter in this data as topographical points,' thought B'Elanna staring at the contacts in frustration. A glimmer of an idea came to her, "Amy," she paused after the name giving the equipment time to set up a private communications channel to just the squad leader, "Do I have time to enter in some data? I would need 10 minutes, I think I can make a basic plot point topographical map of this area with the sensor data I have."
"Yea," came back the reply after a moment, "But be ready to pack up and move in two minutes or less."
B'Elanna didn't waste time replying, she just unbuckled the pack on her back and pulled out the piece of equipment she needed and began working. Eight minutes later she was looking with satisfaction at the basic topographical map of their surrounding area, compiled from the data of their own movements and those of their 'enemy'. "Amy," she waited for the necessary second, "It's done," she reported.
She waited for the older blonde woman to look over what she had done, and was not surprised when she was ordered to forward the information to the other three communications specialists.
"Woo, good job hot stuff; you've got to tell me how you managed that later." B'Elanna grinned, as she recognized Sabrina Gentry's cocky voice. Gentry was another Electronics and Communications Specialist. Originally from San Francisco, she had cornered the half-Klingon as soon as she found out that B'Elanna had been to the city, and asked her several questions about how her home town had fared since 2013 when she had been abducted.
"Congratulations, B'Elanna quick thinking," Elizabeth praised her privately. "You know this means you get to put together another training session, right?" The next communication from her was to the entire unit, "Rifle squad one fall back and rejoin the main unit."
B'Elanna chuckled to herself, and didn't bother to reply. She had been doing a lot of training sessions on a wide range of subjects for the squad. Mostly the robots had allowed it except for two classes dealing with some of the changes in technology since 2000. B'Elanna couldn't figure out whether or not their captor thought it might help them escape, or was not useful for them to know.
Seven had been doing much of the same thing for the hostages. Only her discussions more often ranged around advances in science and medicine, as an unusual number of the hostages were from medical or public service professions. There were two other doctors besides Nancy Miller, three certified nurse practitioners, one nurse-midwife, six registered nurses, four licensed practical nurses, three Emergency Medical Technicians, and two firefighters.
It only took B'Elanna and rifle squad one a five minutes to rejoin the unit. Elizabeth nodded to them as they came up. "Ok heads up, ninety meters to the north east there is a hill with quite a few rock formations, lots of cover. Christine and I have come up with this plan of battle "
Stardate 52722.64 (September 21, 2375 6:23pm)
B'Elanna eyed Seven worriedly, she seemed very distracted tonight troubled might even be a more accurate description. "Seven?" B'Elanna asked, wondering just what was going on. "What's bothering you?"
Seven started, and stared at the half-Klingon, as if surprised that she was there. The blonde shook her head and replied, "I am sorry B'Elanna." Then the blonde went silent once again, apparently not noticing that she hadn't actually answered her lover's question. Instead she stared at the carpet, a deep frown upon her face.
B'Elanna followed her gaze, but could see nothing objectionable about the section of carpet the blonde was staring so fixedly at.
Before the half-Klingon could ask what was bothering her once again, Seven said, "You know that Lee and I have been talking about different events, and my thoughts and feelings concerning them." Seven raised her gaze from the carpet, and met the brown ones of the darker skinned woman.
"Yes?" replied B'Elanna confused, "Is something you talked about bothering you? Did you did you want to discuss it with me?" She asked hopefully, though generally Seven was very open with her about what she discussed with Lee, the half-Klingon was also aware that there were things that Seven didn't like to mention. The blond was still very skittish when it came to discussing her time as a Borg, and the time immediately following her severance from the Collective. There were also a several things that Seven usually didn't discuss because she had moved on; the subject was finished, or so Seven thought. B'Elanna knew that Lee had, rightfully so in B'Elanna's eyes, convinced Seven that just because things didn't seem of importance anymore, they still could influence her daily behavior and feelings.
Seven began speaking, pulling back B'Elanna's attention from her thoughts, "Now that I understand my own actions and feelings better, I would like to tell you about what Lee and I have discussed, but..." her voice trailed off uncertainly.
"But?" B'Elanna asked, after the silence dragged out.
Seven looked at her searchingly once more, "I am not certain you would understand, that I could explain everything correctly. And that some of the things I wish to discuss might upset you," her eyes fell away at the last.
"Do you really want to talk with me about it?" asked B'Elanna, suddenly uncertain as to whether or not she was pushing the blonde.
"Yes," Seven's eyes rose to hers once again and her voice was sure.
"Then I'll listen, and I'll ask questions if I don't understand something. And I don't think that whatever it is will upset me, especially since it's bothering you so much. For some reason, when something's bothering you, I get more concerned about you than about me and my feelings." B'Elanna admitted with a self-conscious smile, feeling somewhat shy about revealing that piece of information.
Seven's face softened, and she nodded slowly. The blonde hesitated for a moment then requested, "Would you hold me?"
B'Elanna nodded immediately, both pleased that Seven wanted to sit on her lap and cuddle, and worried about why the blonde felt the need to right now. She moved closer to the end of the couch so Seven could rest her back against it, and then cradled the blonde as Seven sat on her thighs and curled up against her.
Seven closed her eyes and snuggled her face into the half-Klingon's neck, she inhaled the fragrance of her lover then kissed the darker skin there once before opening her eyes once again. "Do you remember the list Lee asked me to compile?" the blonde asked, settling back against the couch so she could look into the half-Klingon's face.
B'Elanna thought back, "The one where you listed what you had gained and lost from being separated from the Borg?" She hadn't looked at the list Seven had written down, but the blonde had told her what she was doing, if not exactly why, and B'Elanna could, and had, guessed at quite a few possibilities.
"Yes," replied Seven, looking troubled, "The first day we spoke, after you and the others left, Lee was able to detect that I still felt anger and resentment over my separation from the Collective. The list enabled me to clarify my thoughts, and determine why I felt that way, and whether I wished to continue."
B'Elanna frowned, confused, "I thought you liked being an individual?" she asked, her mind whirling with questions.
"I do, I am thankful that Captain Janeway insisted that I have the chance to become an individual. That thankfulness, while having a mitigating effect on the resentment I feel over being severed from the Collective, does not entirely eliminate it." Seven explained, as she watched B'Elanna closely.
B'Elanna could clearly feel the blonde's growing tenseness, realized that this was one of the things Seven thought she might get upset about. However, the half-Klingon understood what Seven was saying perfectly. "Sort of like I'm glad to be alive, but I still resent Janeway for going against my wishes, and letting the Doctor use that Cardassian butcher Moset's hologram and the knowledge he gained from torturing Bajorians, to get that alien that was leeched onto me, off."
Seven's eyes widened in understanding and relief, as she realized that B'Elanna did understand what she was feeling. "I am very pleased that you are still alive as well," the blonde informed her seriously, as she reached up and caressed the caramel toned cheek of her lover.
B'Elanna responded to the statement by leaning down and kissing the blonde gently, but pulled away before it became too passionate. She had some questions she would like answered if Seven was willing. She waited until Seven opened her eyes and glanced up at her questioningly. Gently she asked, "So what does the list have to do with the resentment you still feel?" Seven immediately tensed up again. "Seven, I really want to understand what's bothering you." Blue eyes met hers for a long moment, judging her sincerity, and apparently trusting it, for Seven began speaking in the next moment.
"The list itself is not important; it merely helped me understand why I still felt angry about being severed. It helped me clarify what and how I felt at that time, and even thought I was not capable of every human emotion, I was capable of feeling anger and fear. My first few months aboard Voyager I became very familiar with those two emotions." Seven admitted. She stared at B'Elanna uncertainly; "I am not sure how to explain to you " the blonde trailed off.
Seven straightened, and rested against the arm of the couch as she began speaking once again. "I was assimilated at the age of six, and placed in a maturation chamber. Most of my internal implants developed during that time, along with my human body. When I was mature, I was removed from the chamber, my body armor, and my eyepiece were added. I did not remember having a human body, my implants, my body armor, were complete when I became a functional drone and received my first designation." Seven paused in her recitation, looking searchingly into B'Elanna's face.
B'Elanna was still trying to figure out exactly what Seven was trying to tell her. Suddenly it dawned on her, "You didn't see your implants as being something the Borg added to you, they were just a part of you, because you couldn't remember ever being any other way." she blurted out.
Seven breathed a sigh of relief, "Yes, at that time I didn't remember being any other way."
B'Elanna felt a moment of unease, wondering if the resentment Seven had said she was still feeling, was due to the removal of her implants. Before she could ask, Seven continued.
"When I was severed from the Collective my human body began to reject my Borg implants. Nothing was done to reverse this process when it first began. By the time I was awakened, and informed that I would be staying aboard Voyager, it was already too late. When I expressed my wishes to rejoin the Borg, I was informed that I would die without medical care, and my wishes to be deactivated rather than become more human, were ignored." Seven's voice shook slightly and B'Elanna could see she how angered and distressed she was as she recalled the events.
B'Elanna didn't know what to say, she was starting to get a clear idea of Seven's dilemma. She didn't doubt that Seven appreciated being an individual now, which meant that Janeway had been right to insist that Seven stay with them, and become human. But looking into Seven's bitterly angry face, and hearing that she had asked to be allowed to die "I never knew that." B'Elanna admitted, more to say something to Seven than anything else, while she tried to think. Seven glanced at her with a surprised look, "Oh, we all knew you weren't willing to stay, but I never knew that you had told the Captain that you would rather die than become one of us." B'Elanna clarified in an unhappy tone.
Once again B'Elanna's thoughts drifted the Morset hologram, and her own determination to die rather than have her life saved by the use of research gained from torturing innocent Bajorians. Once she had recovered, she was glad to be alive, but she had still been angry about her continued life coming at the cost of her beliefs. At the time the decision had been made she had been unconscious, completely unable to defend herself against something she did not want. As odd as it seemed, she had, and still, felt violated in some way by the entire incident.
Looking down into Seven's face she realized that the blonde had withdrawn from her, the icy blue eyes were defensive, uncertain. 'Because you didn't say anything that let her know that you understood why she would be angry,' her inner voice growled at her. "I think I understand, at least somewhat," she offered. Seven looked up at her questioningly from where she rested against the couch arm, her eyes already less defensive.
"After I regained consciousness, and the Doctor told me that the Captain had ordered that Morset's research be used to save my life, I felt helpless, and so angry because " she trailed off trying to articulate something that she hadn't really ever said before, "Because she's the Captain, and unless I wanted to leave Voyager she had the authority to override anything I said if it were for the good of the crew. Which is something I understand and agree with to a certain extent, I just really didn't like having my face shoved in it."
She looked at Seven who was staring at her, frowning thoughtfully. "I'm sorry, I guess it's not really much like what happened to you," she babbled feeling suddenly uncertain.
"You are incorrect." Seven interrupted abruptly. "I was angry in part due to," she smiled slightly in bitter amusement, "my face being shoved in the fact that I was helpless to alter what was happening to me. But I was denied even the option of leaving Voyager; I was a prisoner, not a willing crewmember."
B'Elanna winced visibly at the reminder, and the tone of Seven's voice.
Realizing that her verbal lash was totally misplaced by being directed at her lover, Seven let out an anguished sound, lurching upward, she buried her face into B'Elanna's neck. "I am sorry, I am not angry with you, I should not have snapped at you."
B'Elanna had wrapped her arms about Seven as soon as she moved, "It's alright," she said as soon as Seven paused, hiding a smile at the term Seven had used; undoubtedly the blonde had picked it up from the other hostages. The half-Klingon placed gentle kisses on blonde hair, and unconsciously rocked slowly back and forth in an attempt to sooth the woman in her arms.
Seven was silent then incongruously she remarked, "This is soothing, I was unaware that this technique worked on adults as well as infants."
"Huh?" remarked B'Elanna, a half-second before she realized what she was doing, and connected it to Seven's ongoing training in how to care for infants and children. "Umm," she stilled, and felt her cheeks heat in embarrassment. Seven pulled back slightly, and stared at her inquiringly. B'Elanna let out a breathy sight, "I didn't realize I was doing that, until you mentioned it."
Seven looked at her curiously for a moment longer then nodded. Her eyes dropped away from dark ones, "Perhaps we should not continue this discussion." she said quietly.
"No," B'Elanna exclaimed. "At least not because you think that I was hurt by what you said, I wasn't. Seven you have a right to be angry, just like I had the right to be angry over Janeway overriding my decision." They stared at one another, B'Elanna trying to convey her acceptance of Seven's emotions.
Finally Seven nodded, her eyes bright with emotion. She took in a breath, composing herself before continuing, "When I was wakened the second time, several of my implants, my body armor, and part of my eyepiece had already been removed. The amount of nanoprobes in my blood had been greatly decreased. I again asked to be deactivated, and was again refused. Captain Janeway, then asked me to assist with the removal of the Borg modifications, when I refused, she informed me that I had to comply." Seven finished speaking calmly, but her eyes showed her anger.
B'Elanna remembered that day, she had been fruitlessly trying to remove the Borg modifications for hours, before Captain Janeway and Seven had walked into engineering. Seven had immediately gotten on her bad side as soon as she opened her mouth and informed her that she had neglected to remove the autonomous regeneration sequencers. Now though, the blonde's attitude on that day made a lot more sense. "I guess she wasn't exactly telling the truth, when she told me you had agreed to help out then." B'Elanna asked quietly.
"No I did not, I agreed because it was made clear to me that I had no other choice." Seven answered, her tone was both terse and sad.
Seven was silent for a long moment after the statement, then she swallowed uneasily and tensed up. Suddenly, her gaze which had been wandering about the room, snapped to B'Elannas', and the half-Klingon was surprised to see the guilt clearly revealed there. "When I saw the communications node " Seven trailed off. Looking pleadingly at B'Elanna she finished, "It was a chance to escape, to stop what was being done to me. I regret those actions now; I almost caused the assimilation of Voyager, of you."
B'Elanna pulled Seven against her chest and hugged her tightly, "It's alright, I'm not angry at you anymore for doing that." The half-Klingon hesitated for a moment then finally asked, "You were terrified of what we were doing to you, weren't you."
"Yes," admitted Seven, her face pressed tightly into the juncture of B'Elanna's neck and shoulder.
"I'm sorry," B'Elanna whispered. She felt Seven look upward. "That you were so afraid," she clarified. "I'm not sorry at all that you're here instead of being a Borg drone, but I'm sorry you went through all that. I felt angry and violated from my wishes being ignored. I can't imagine how much more violated you felt by us. We cut away parts of your own body." B'Elanna hesitated, uncertain whether or not she had correctly understood what Seven had been trying to tell her, "I'm right aren't I? To you, we were actually disfiguring you by removing your implants, violating your body."
"Yes," agreed Seven simply.
"I'm surprised you didn't try to escape again," B'Elanna admitted after a moment of silence, trying to put herself in Seven's position.
"We were far from Borg space, my choices were to deactivate myself or adapt." Seven answered, "I choose to adapt." Seven's voice was completely flat as she made the statement.
B'Elanna recoiled at the statement, shaken by the implication that Seven had considered killing herself at one point. Not wanting to pursue that subject any further right now, she changed topics and asked, "When did you decide that you wanted to be an individual, instead of a Borg," she asked.
Seven was silent; finally she said in a quiet, reflective voice, "After we found my parent's ship, I began to consider what my life would have been like if I had not been assimilated. I believe I began having doubts about returning to the Borg at that time, but I did not fully accept that I did not want to return, until we were approaching Borg space on Arturis's ship."
B'Elanna clearly remembered the incident; they had been tricked by Arturis into finding what they thought was a Federation ship, the Dauntless, sent to rescue them. But his true intentions were to deliver them to the Borg in retaliation for his species having been assimilated because the Borg hadn't been destroyed by Species 8472. "That was almost a year after we separated you from the Borg." she commented.
"Ten months, twenty-one days," replied Seven, still with a reflective tone.
They went silent, lost in their separate thoughts. Finally B'Elanna snorted softly with gentle amusement, "So you've been angry at us this entire time? I don't want to insult you Seven, but that's very human of you."
Seven was silent, and B'Elanna was beginning to wonder if she had made a mistake in joking, no matter how well meant, when Seven finally replied in a disgruntled tone, "Lee pointed that out as well."
B'Elanna bit back the joking comment she wanted to make, it just didn't seem like the right time for it, and searched for a way to switch topics to something safer. "You mentioned that you were considering whether or not to continue? Did you mean continue being angry?"
"Yes, it does not seem efficient of me to continue resenting Captain Janeway, or anyone else for what they did in separating me from the Borg, when I am currently pleased with the results of their actions. Lee has correctly pointed out, that as there is no one here whom I blame for those actions, that I am only punishing myself. I do not wish to engage in such illogical behavior, therefore I am determined to 'forgive' what was done to me and 'let go of my anger'." Seven stated, her voice decidedly more brisk and positive than it had been.
"Is that Lee, or you talking?" asked B'Elanna, bemused at the phrases coming out of the blonde's mouth.
"Those are Lee's statements, but I am tired of feeling this anger. It serves no purpose. I do not wish to experience it anymore. Therefore I will try and do what she has suggested to stop." Seven answered resolutely.
B'Elanna's thoughts immediately flew to her own long held anger at her mother and father, "I hope you do Seven, I hope you do."
Both of them were silent for a long moment, then B'Elanna spoke again, "Thank you for telling me. I saw that you weren't happy that we separated you from the Borg, but I never understood why, or what it was like for you. I don't know that I would have understood before the alien and the Morset hologram, but I think I understand now, or at least I understand better."
Seven looked relieved and tired as she rested her head in the hollow of B'Elanna's shoulder. "I am glad. It was not as difficult to explain to you as I had thought it would be."
"Another mole-hill," commented B'Elanna gently, as she tightened her arms around Seven, remembering the conversation about Tom almost a month ago, as she held the blonde.
Seven yawned against her neck, "Yes, another mole-hill, I was certain that it would be a mountain, I am pleased that I was incorrect."
"See, I'm not such a scary grouch anymore," chided B'Elanna, with a touch of true indignation.
Seven lifted her head at the words and she stared at the half-Klingon thoughtfully, "No you are not, I should quit anticipating your present reactions based upon our interactions before we were captured. I apologize."
"Accepted," said B'Elanna surprised. "Are you okay now?"
"I am. Lee was correct; talking to you does make me feel better. In fact..." A mischievous glint formed in Seven's blue eyes, "Since I just made a mistake that required me to apologize to you, does this mean we can 'make up' now?"
"Make up? Where did you hear that?" asked B'Elanna.
"Nancy," replied Seven succinctly. "She requires Christina to make up to her frequently."
"Umm," B'Elanna replied, suddenly not too sure whether or not she wanted to know just what Seven had heard about 'making up'. Watching the pout form on the blonde's face she couldn't help but begin chuckling. "Sure if you want to we can make up, but whose making up to whom here?"
Seven slid off her lap before B'Elanna could react and was leaning over the half-Klingon, one hand on either side of her head. "I wish to make up to you," she purred.
B'Elanna stared wide eyed.
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