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.

Nine Months
By Kudara

Part 10: Voyager


Chapter 37


Stardate 53009.28 (Jan 4, 2376 9:34am)

"Captain, a vessel just came in range of the long range sensors." Ensign Kim reported, looking toward the Captain from his communications console.

Captain Janeway looked back at him then over at Tuvok inquiringly, "The vessel does not match any known hull configuration. It is heavily armed and is approaching our location at warp 9.97." He looked up from his tactical console briefly.

Janeway frowned, the months since the disappearance of B'Elanna Torres and Seven of Nine had been difficult for the ship. Lt. Carey tried his best but he just didn't have the skill and intuition that B'Elanna had possessed. It had resulted in them becoming more careful and suspicious. Where once she would have waited for the ship to come closer, Janeway now erred on the side of caution and ordered, "Go to yellow alert."

Everyone on the bridge waited tensely as the unknown ship closed the distance between them.

"Captain they are hailing us using a Federation code," Kim exclaimed, looking at his console in disbelief.

Janeway traded hopeful glances with Chakotay, "Maybe another ship taken by the Caretaker?" he suggested.

She shrugged, "Onscreen Mr. Kim."

"This is the Federation Starship…," her voice trailed off as she registered what she was seeing. There was a very tall russet haired woman standing in the middle of the other ships bridge, but what caught her attention was the appearance of Seven of Nine at one of the bridge consoles behind her. The former Borg was barely recognizable except for the tell tale ocular implant, her long hair was gathered loosely at her neck, and she wore a button up royal blue loose fitting tunic shirt that fell to mid thigh and black pants.

"Captain Kathryn Janeway of Voyager, I presume," the russet haired woman spoke.

"You have one of my crewmembers," she blurted out, still shocked. Out of the corner of her eye she noticed Paris react as well at his helm console.

The russet haired woman lifted one eyebrow, "One of your former crewmembers, whether or not she changes that status is completely up to her." The woman's voice was not harsh or unkind, but it was unyielding.

Captain Janeway's attention immediately snapped from Seven to the unknown woman. "And who am I speaking to?" she asked carefully.

"Elizabeth Janeway of the Starship Artemis, formerly Colonel Janeway of the United States Marine Corps." The woman responded calmly, as if she hadn't just stated that she was from an organization that had ceased to exist over two hundred years earlier, not to mention her claim that she was a Janeway.

Kathryn Janeway stared at the woman, taking in the features, the level grey eyed stare. "I'm sure you understand that's a bit difficult for me to believe." She finally commented.

The other woman nodded with an amused smirk on her face. "Yes I did consider that, Seven would you please send over the briefing I prepared for Captain Janeway." She turned and looked at Seven who after a few moments at her console nodded to her.

"Receiving data file transmission, Captain," replied Kim from behind her, drawing her attention.

"I'll leave you to read over that, you can contact us once your done." The russet haired woman announced.

Captain Janeway turned back around quickly, "Wait there was another crewmember…"

"B'Elanna is doing fine," Elizabeth Janeway interrupted her, "you'll understand once you read the file." She grinned, "She's currently in the engine room trying to teach some 350 year old women modern engineering."

She wanted to insist that she be allowed to see this for herself, but she was also burning with curiosity about the data file that had been sent over. Once again she glanced at Seven, noting how relaxed and human the former Borg woman appeared. The ex-drone certainly didn't appear to be in any distress, though she was giving Paris a rather narrow eyed look that puzzled her. She had thought Seven and Paris were friends, or as friendly as Seven had used to be with anyone.

"Alright, I'll contact you once I and my senior officers go over the information you sent." She replied.

Elizabeth Janeway nodded to her then turned and glanced at Seven and gave her a short nod. The view screen went blank as the channel was closed from the Artemis' end.

"Harry forward that data to the briefing room, Tukok, Chakotay with me," she ordered as she headed toward the briefing room doors. "Oh, and stand down from yellow alert."

"Captain," Tom Paris caught her attention.

"I'll let you know Lt. Paris," she said not unkindly. She had heard that he was dating one of the Delaney sisters, not that that had anything to do with his concern for someone who had been his friend before they started dating.

Twenty minutes later she sat back in her chair in disbelief, the briefing that had been sent over was just that brief, but what it did cover was shocking. The abductions, the centuries of suspended animation, the genetic manipulation, the forced participation in those 'games' and holding the loved ones as hostages. Janeway shook her head at the unjustness of it, the life these people had been forced to live.

The information didn't say exactly what had happened to B'Elanna and Seven, but Janeway could extrapolate what had most likely happened. Had they been paired together? With complete strangers? Closing her eyes and rubbing the bridge of her nose she admitted that she knew the answer to those questions, they had been paired together; the last of the abductees from Earth had been taken from suspended animation four years earlier.

The idea of the two women being forced together was appalling. Two people more likely to come to blows if kept in the same area for an extended period of time she couldn't imagine. Though she remembered B'Elanna as being more bluster than action, the half-Klingon had been unrelenting in her dislike and distrust of the severed Borg. In fact one of the reason's she had sent the two of them on the mission was to try once again to get B'Elanna to see that Seven wasn't the threat the half-Klingon thought she was.

She didn't want to think about the implications of them being forced into a sexual relationship with one another; the psychological damage from their captivity would have been enough without that added in, and not just for Seven, but for B'Elanna as well. With any luck Seven had accepted it as a physical act necessary for their survival, with none of the emotional baggage another woman might have suffered.

The look Seven had given Paris suddenly gained new meaning, and even though she didn't really want to, she wondered if Seven had formed some type of emotional attachment to B'Elanna, she knew captives often did that with their captors but B'Elanna hadn't been…her thought trailed off as she considered the fact that B'Elanna had been in control of Seven's punishments. She swallowed, she didn't want to think of B'Elanna purposefully hurting Seven, but given their past she couldn't dismiss the idea either. Shaking her head she drove the thoughts back, she just didn't have enough information to go on.

Three months of searching before finally being persuaded by Tuvok and Chakotay that the two were lost. And all the time they had been twenty light years away from the moon where they went missing.

Looking around the table she noticed that Chakotay looked as dismayed as she felt, and Tuvok… looked thoughtful, and concerned if she were to guess by the small furrow between his brows.

"B'Elanna and Seven?" Chakotay murmured disbelievingly, "I wonder who was chosen as a fighter?"

Tukok raised one eyebrow, "Lt. Torres. All those chosen to fight were structurally modified to be six foot three inches tall; Seven of Nine's height has not changed."

Chakotay gaped at him, "That's taller than I am."

"Yes," replied Tuvok curtly.

Chakotay grimaced, "I must have missed that piece of information in all this." He said somewhat apologetically.

Tuvok merely nodded.

Janeway who had been listening to their discussion silently up until now came to a decision and broke into the discussion, "I'd like the Doctor to go over Seven and B'Elanna, we know nothing about the Ilanar, I know they said that there was nothing they could do about the genetic modifications that were made, but we have no reason to believe them without verifying it. They might have missed something simply because their not familiar with our species." Not only that but she wanted to see how the two women interacted with one another.

The two men considered her words for a few seconds and then nodded. "They might have missed something," Chakotay commented hopefully.

She stood, "Let's see if I can get Elizabeth Janeway to agree, she seems rather possessive of Seven." She commented disapprovingly. She strode to the door, completely missing the incredulous looks both officers shot in her direction.

After the doors shut behind her Chakotay looked over at Tuvok, "So do you think they're related?" he asked.

"I do not have enough information to make that determination Commander." The Vulcan stated, then after a pause continued, "though they do, initially at least, seem to share certain characteristics."

"That's what I'm concerned about," Chakotay commented heading toward the doors.

"Indeed," Tuvok raised one brow thoughtfully, and followed him.

"I don't believe that Ilanar made a mistake, but if Seven and B'Elanna have no objections, then they may of course see your Doctor. If they agree, I'd like to accompany them over, along with a few other people. I'm sure Doctor Miller would love to see your medical bay." Elizabeth Janeway was saying to Captain Janeway when they walked onto the bridge.

"Of course," answered the Captain at her most diplomatic, "How many?"

"It will depend on who wants to go, but I'll make sure that the number will be kept to at most ten of us including Seven and B'Elanna;." Elizabeth answered casually.

Janeway absorbed this before nodding cordially, "We will make arrangements to transport you over."

"That will have to wait until I find out whether Seven and B'Elanna agree to your proposal. I'm sure you will understand when I say that none of us are particularly interested in feeling as if we are being forced into doing something, or as if we are forcing others into doing something. Not after our experiences," Elizabeth stated evenly, staring directly at Captain Janeway.

The two of them regarded one another for a few moments, finally Captain Janeway nodded, "Yes, I can understand why you would feel that way. If you would contact us once you have asked them."

"I'll let you know shortly," Elizabeth assured her and then cut the communication.

"Seven wasn't on the bridge that time. So is she overly eager to protect her crew or is something else going on?" Captain Janeway spoke aloud.

"Seven of Nine and B'Elanna Torres are the only experienced members of their crew. Elizabeth Janeway might not wish for them to return to Voyager." Tuvok theorized.

Captain Janeway considered his statement, frowning at the blank view screen.

"Captain, incoming transmission from the Artemis," Kim announced.

"That was quick," she commented, "onscreen."

A different woman was standing by the captain's chair this time and there was no sign of Elizabeth Janeway. She was as tall as Elizabeth had been, blond haired and blue eyed. "Hello, I'm Christina Myers, Elizabeth's third in command. She had to go find someone to mind Mary and Ruth since their favorite sitter will be coming with us. There will be seven of us including B'Elanna and Seven."

Bemusedly Janeway replied, "Alright, let us know when you are ready to transport over."

"Mommy, mommy," shrieked a young blonde headed girl as she came running into view, waving a piece of paper.

"Carol don't yell," chided Christina as she knelt down to see the picture her daughter was waving. "Did you make that for me? That's very beautiful, thank you."

"Sorry, she wouldn't settle down until she brought it to you," another voice said off screen just before the owner, yet another blonde appeared, carrying a toddler on her hip.

"It's ok, Captain Janeway meet my wife Dr. Nancy Miller, my eldest Carol and my youngest Rebecca." Christine introduced.

Greetings were exchanged then Nancy ushered the children out with the murmured comment to Christina, "Lee's keeping them along with Mary and Ruth, I'll meet you in the transporter room in ten minutes."

Christina watched their departure a fond smile on her face then she turned back to her view screen, "Sorry for the interruption. As soon as everyone's in the same place we will contact you. It should be around ten or so minutes."

Captain Janeway nodded and the view screen blanked immediately afterward.

"I guess it was something else," commented Chakotay still staring at the blank screen.

Pinching the bridge of her nose she nodded, the reality of the other ship crashing into her consciousness. There were almost as many children as adults on the Artemis, what did they want, the obvious answer was that they wanted to travel back to earth with them. A heavily armed, heavily shielded ship would be a definite help, but this one was crewed by completely inexperienced personnel with families.

"Captain, what's going on?" asked Tom Paris confusedly.

Coming to a decision she said, "I'll let you two read the briefing sent over." She indicated Ensign Kim and Paris. Her voice took on the snap of command, "But the information is to go no further that this room, it's not meant for gossip. So I'd better not hear anyone in the hallways or mess hall whispering about B'Elanna and Seven, there's nothing amusing or titillating about the situation they were forced into to survive. Am I clear?"

She looked at the two men who stared back at her confused, "Yes Captain," they readily agreed. The two of them glanced at one another confusion turning into uneasiness as they realized the implications of her order.


Chapter 38


Stardate 53009.43 (Jan 4, 2376 10:54am)

'She looks so much more Klingon now,' was her dazed thought, as B'Elanna materialized on Voyagers transporter platform, and Kathryn Janeway got her first look at the half-Klingon. 'And so tall,' before B'Elanna had been her height, now she towered above her.

"Captain Janeway," Elizabeth Janeway was the first to step off the platform, the other women, including her two crewmembers, waiting for her to go first. "This is my wife Maria Rodriguez; she introduced the dark haired, dark eyed Hispanic woman standing beside her. I believe you already met Christina Myers and her wife Nancy Miller, and this is Tanya Montego," she introduced another tall, dark haired, dark eyed, Hispanic woman, "and of course you know B'Elanna and Seven." She smiled, but her grey eyes were serious.

It was a not so subtle way of informing her that Elizabeth Janeway saw B'Elanna and Seven as members of her crew, not returning members of Voyager's. Tuvok's comment came back to her, and she wondered how accurate her Security Officer might have been, was this just the desire to keep the only two experienced people she had, or was it something else. Gazing at the two women, she was startled to see the wariness in their eyes, as if they weren't either entirely certain they wanted to be here or perhaps weren't certain of their welcome.

Did they blame her for not finding them? She wondered suddenly. "I'm glad to see you two are alive and well, and I'm sorry we stopped looking for you. There just weren't any signs of what had happened to you; even the shuttle had disappeared without a trace." Janeway apologetically explained.

"The robots were thorough in enforcing their order that no sign of them was to be left," Elizabeth said darkly, anger in her eyes.

B'Elanna shrugged, "I doubt you would have been able to find us even if you found the planet we were being kept upon, the shielding Kryayh used to hide the compound was pretty advanced."

She filed away the information, planning on brining up the subject of just why the two had been taken in the first place, once they were in the briefing room.

"Hey Starfleet," B'Elanna greeted Harry Kim, who was handling the transporter controls, with a smile.

"Ensign Kim," Seven nodded to him.

"B'Elanna," Harry finally managed, "Seven," he began blushing furiously as he stared at the two women. "I'm glad both of you are alive and well," he added, his voice more emotion filled, "we missed both of you."

"We missed you too, Harry." B'Elanna answered. Janeway couldn't help but notice the use of the plural, or that Seven nodded in agreement, apparently not having any issue with B'Elanna's use of it.

As Janeway watched the two women she was surprised and relieved to see that they appeared to be at ease with one another. She watched as Seven moved to stand beside B'Elanna, and the half-Klingon immediately reached out and placed one hand on the blonde's back. She was forced to revise her initial concept of their relationship; no matter how they might have started, it appeared that there was some level of affection between them now.

"Hey, I'll try and catch up to you later, ok." B'Elanna assured him.

Harry nodded to her, and the group proceeded directly to the briefing room.

Once they were all seated, and Janeway had introduced Chakotay and Tuvok, she asked the question that had been foremost in her thoughts since finding out what had happened. "Why were Seven and Lt. Torres taken?"

Elizabeth sighed, "Wrong time, wrong place," She replied simply. "We were returning from a mission when we were transported down to the surface and ordered to capture them. We learned from the Ilanar that the ships sensors had tracked their shuttle, determined they were human, or at least part human, and they matched one of the psychological profiles Kryayh had developed. They contacted Kryayh and he ordered that we were to obtain them."

"And you didn't see anything wrong with obeying those orders?" Janeway asked, angrily. Suddenly, she was the subject of looks ranging from disapproving to almost hateful. To Janeway's shock, Seven was one of the ones giving her a look verging on hateful, it was nearly as cold and anger filled, as some of the looks the former drone had given her when first severed. Just as abruptly as the emotion appeared on the women's faces, it faded away, replaced by almost uniform controlled looks that unsettled her.

"Did you just scan the briefing we sent you?" asked Elizabeth coolly.

Janeway regrouped, clearly grasping from the brief reaction she had seen, that she was missing some essential fact. "I read something about nerve inducers but the briefing you sent us didn't go into a lot of detail." She replied defensively.

"When I first woke the robots used a bioelectric field to approximate the effect the nerve inducers would have on Seven." B'Elanna spoke up. Her carefully even tones, so unlike the B'Elanna Torres that Janeway recalled, sounded odd coming from the half-Klingon. Janeway couldn't remember B'Elanna ever reacting quite like this. "I don't think it could have hurt more if someone skinned me and then stuck my bleeding body in a vat of acid." The half-Klingon explained shortly. "My fucking temper..."

"Lt. Torres," Janeway tried to interrupt, angry at the language.

The half-Klingon simply increased her volume and continued, "earned Seven three fifteen second punishments of that. After watching her suffering because of me, I did everything I could to make sure it never happened again. I failed at times, and I felt lower than targ shit every time, whether there was realistically anything I could have done to prevent it or not. Please, do not imply that disobedience to those robots was a simple matter of conscience." Her voice was moderately closer to its old angry growl by the time she finished speaking.

"You will not speak to me in such a disrespectful manner Lieutenant Torres, I understand you have been through a lot, but that's no excuse…" she trailed off watching in surprise as Seven reached out and gently touched the half-Klingon's shoulder, giving her an understanding look. B'Elanna turned and looked at her, their gazes met and the half-Klingon took a deep breath and nodded. Both of them completely ignored her.

Seven turned her attention to Captain Janeway, "Neither B'Elanna or I blame them for capturing us." Seven interrupted coldly, "When they received the order to capture us their first reaction was to refuse. It is painful enough for B'Elanna and I to know that all of the hostages were punished for this one refusal. I wish that they had not refused at all, I regret that we were the cause of them being punished."

"Disobedience was not a simple matter of conscience; it was a matter of life and death for their hostages." Nancy interrupted coolly, "While adults can take up to six activations of the nerve inducers without being permanently brain damaged, our children can only take three. So no, as much as they regretted it, the continued freedom of Seven and B'Elanna was not worth the lives of all of three hundred adults and two hundred and seventy children. Not to mention that after killing everyone in Alpha Squad, they would have still taken B'Elanna and Seven."

"I'm sorry, I didn't realize how painful or how damaging the nerve inductors were," Janeway apologized shaken, and cursing herself for not having realized that particular fact from the briefing.

Elizabeth replied, "Perhaps I didn't make it as clear as it could have been, it's not exactly a subject we like to dwell upon," in a conciliatory tone.

Captain Janeway felt Tuvok and Chakotay, sitting on either side of her; relax from where they had tensed up as soon as the mood in the room had gotten hostile, even if it was a very controlled hostile.

"I can understand that," she allowed.

There was a moment of silence before Elizabeth commented, "We have some questions for you, regarding the genetic engineering that was done upon us and our children, and how the Federation is likely to treat us if we were to make it back to Earth."

Janeway missed the sharp sideways looks the former Marine got from several of the other former captives at the way she had stated the question. B'Elanna and Seven in particular were puzzled by it, but did not say anything.

Janeway shifted uneasily in her chair, "I believe the laws banning genetic engineering were in place before you were abducted?"

"Oh yes, I fought in what you call the Eugenics Wars. I started out as a Junior grade Lieutenant and was promoted to Major by the end of them." Elizabeth commented in a matter of fact tone, "As did Christina, in the Canadian Air Force, and I believe Tanya joined the US Navy during them."

"Yep, do your patriotic duty, save America from the supermen," commented Tanya sardonically.

"So yes, we are familiar with why the genetic laws came into existence," Elizabeth assured her.

"So you must understand why they exist, we cannot encourage genetic engineering, thus the bans on what fields they can go into. That way parents have no incentive to have it done." Janeway answered earnestly.

"Except we did not choose to have it done," replied Elizabeth.

Captain Janeway considered the women, "I understand that, it's why I wanted the Doctor's opinion, to see if it can be reversed."

Elizabeth regarded her evenly, "And if the Ilanar are correct and it cannot?"

"I've never heard of anyone being exempted from it," Janeway temporized.

"In other words you don't think the Federation would make an exception in our case, forced or not." Maria spoke up for the first time.

Her jaw firmed, "Genetically engineered humans cannot be allowed to dominate significant fields. If they are allowed to enter the technical fields they will dominate them, simply because they are more intelligent than non-genetically engineered humans. That's why the law has existed unchanged for over three hundred years. You fought against them taking over then, surely you must understand why these laws must be enforced now." She spoke with conviction.

"So, no matter how much we or our children are victims in this, we can't be allowed to compete." Elizabeth responded evenly.

Janeway frowned, "Hopefully it won't come to that, the Doctor is very good at coming up with unorthodox medical procedures."

Elizabeth nodded, "But if he can't," she pressured.

Exasperated with the obdurate woman she replied, "That's up to Federation Legal, not to me. I can't make that determination."

"Yes, but would you want one serving on your ship, competing with normal humans for promotions," asked Maria in a casually curious tone.

Janeway shot her a sharp look, knowing fully well that her answer would be an absolute no. She would have problems with knowing about such a crewman, would be inclined to set them much higher standards before promoting them over normal humans. "As I said that wouldn't be up to me. And if you wanted to travel with us I would have no problem assisting you with training any of your people to serve on the Artemis."

She received several coolly appraising looks after making the comment, but she lifted her chin and returned them steadily.

"I guess this means we definitely don't have positions any more on Voyager," remarked B'Elanna to Seven.

"What do you mean?" asked Janeway.

"We were both genetically altered for intelligence, strength, quickness; both of our tendencies toward homosexuality were made more dominant, and encoded so they would be passed to any offspring. B'Elanna was also genetically altered for height, the genetic code for her Klingon physiology was brought out more, and some of her hormonal and endocrine reactions were changed to allow her more control over her emotions." answered Seven.

"One of the few things Kryayh did to me that I actually appreciate," commented Torres lightly.

Janeway stared at her, astonished and aghast at hearing such a sentiment coming from the half-Klingon. She was certain that the old B'Elanna Torres would have been furiously angry at the idea of anyone forcibly altering her in any way. It just emphasized to Janeway how much the two of them had been altered, and more disturbingly they didn't even seem to realize how different they were from before their capture. It was like all of their emotions had become muted, rigidly controlled.

"One more question, please," Nancy leaned forward.

"Alright," responded Janeway warily.

"How do same sex couples have children or are they allowed to?" she asked.

"We don't discriminate against homosexuals anymore," Janeway answered quickly, feeling good about finally being able to respond positively to the women's questions. "Male couples can apply to adopt or find a surrogate mother; female couples can adopt, be inseminated with donor sperm or apply for ova fusion."

"Apply?" Nancy asked curiously.

"Yes such procedures must be done at approved facilities because of the possibility for genetic engineering, to ensure that such a procedure does not occur." She answered.

"And for us, since we were specifically engineered to pass on certain traits to our children, do you think we would receive approval to have more children." She asked directly.

"I'm sure they would have no problem with adoption or insemination," Janeway replied uneasily, tiredly realizing that this was yet another minefield.

"But not ova fusion with my wife," Nancy indicated Christina, staring at her challengingly.

Carefully she replied, "That wouldn't be up to me, it would be up to a medical board." Privately she suspected the answer would be a definite no.

"I suspect they would not, as you have already guessed," Tuvok spoke up finally, drawing some of the attention off the Captain.

Nancy looked at him, "We suspected, but could not be certain."

He nodded after considering her and her answer for a moment.

"I think that before we continue this discussion we need to find out whether or not the Ilanar are correct. If your original genetic code can be restored then none of what we discussed will apply." Janeway stated forcefully, tired of the discussion and feeling that she had been set up somehow to simply affirm their suspicions.

"And if we don't want to even if he can come up with a safe way?" asked B'Elanna Torres her arms crossed over her chest.

"Then I'll order you to Lt. Torres, your still a member of this crew under my command, no matter what you seem to think." Her temper snapped, and she stood up. "You don't even seem to realize how much you're not the person you used to be, I can't believe that the B'Elanna Torres I remember would even say such a thing. She wouldn't stand for someone making those types of changes to her."

"I officially resign then, I no longer wish to be under your command. I won't allow you to trample over my rights a second time." Torres replied coldly, no sign of temper besides the tone at all. "So are you planning on keeping me prisoner now, or am I allowed to return to my ship."

Jarred by the tone, the reminder, and her final words, she sat down once again, "No, Miss. Torres you are not a prisoner on this ship."

"Any such decisions cannot not be made until the Ilanar's data is confirmed," Seven stated, breaking the silence. "It is premature to be discussing this matter." It was obvious that she was trying to break the chilly silence that had fallen in the room.

"True," replied Nancy. "Let's go ahead and find that out for certain before we discuss things any further," she replied staring at Captain Janeway with obvious dislike.

Elizabeth looked around the table, silently taking everyone's opinion. She turned to Janeway and nodded, "Alright we will see this sentient hologram of your's. I'll admit I'm pretty interested in meeting him."

"As am I," murmured Maria ending her watchful evaluation of Captain Janeway in order to glance at Seven.


Chapter 39


Stardate: 53010.09 (Jan 4, 2376 4:43pm) (follows from Chapter 1)

They stood for long moments silent, wrapped in each other's arms. After a minute of silence B'Elanna sighed and spoke, "Lets go to our quarters and discuss this."

As they walked back to their quarters, B'Elanna couldn't help but mentally compare the quiet strength and innate politeness of Elizabeth Janeway, with the more fiery, outspoken and driven Kathryn Janeway. Both of them were strong leaders, both of them had their strongly held convictions, but Elizabeth had a strong dislike of forcing her point of view on anyone.

Probably a side effect of the past eight years, though B'Elanna suspected Elizabeth had always been one to tell people they could follow orders or walk out the door if they had a problem with it. One of the benefits of ground based command; there was no place to go on a starship. Kathryn Janeway had used to be more like Elizabeth, before the years in the Delta Quadrant, the constant attacks, and the tickle of people dying. Then she had become more and more controlling, and less likely to listen to dissent without seeing it as a challenge to her command.

"Am I that different?" B'Elanna asked, once they walked into their quarters.

"No, she was merely seeing a conditioned response to her anger. I reacted to it as well, as did everyone else from the Artemis at the table. As Maria has reminded us, it will take awhile for the memories to fade. You are still B'Elanna Torres, only, as you have stated before, with your emotions more under your control." Seven answered, coming up to her, laying her head against the half-Klingon's chest, and wrapping her arms around B'Elanna.

"The Doctor will fail; I believe he already suspects this after the results of the theta radiation test on the DNA samples he took. The bonds between the molecules broke much earlier than they should have. She will have to accept that the Ilanar are correct, and nothing can be done." Seven continued.

"I meant what I said you know, that I would refuse the changes," B'Elanna stated, her expression completely serious.

Seven looked at her intently curious, waiting for her to continue.

"Neither of us had a choice about them, but now that it's done." She trailed off, gathering her thoughts. "I like being taller, I like being stronger, and living to be a hundred and eighty or so isn't something I'm going to protest." B'Elanna paused, "Learning who you are and falling in love with you is the best thing that's ever happened to me, the child your carrying is second. But these changes, I feel like I've paid for them, in the pain I went through, and the pain you went through, and their mine now, I'm not about to let Janeway decide she has the right to take them away."

Seven nodded understandingly, "I too felt resentful of the idea, but I did not understand why I felt that way. You are correct we did 'pay' for them, and now they are not something I am willing to give up either."

The half-Klingon nodded, and continued "I also wasn't at all thrilled by her reaction in the briefing room, we haven't been members of her crew for nine months, and she thinks she has the right to dictate our futures." B'Elanna fell silent for awhile staring into Seven's blue eyes. "I think Elizabeth is correct, the worst case scenario we designed, is now the most likely one." She pulled out of the hug long enough to shift positions so she could place a hand over Seven's lower stomach, as she stared into the blonde's eyes. "Or child would not be permitted to be an engineer or a scientist, and we would be denied the technology for us to have another one. You and I might not be permitted to work in our respective fields."

Seven placed a hand upon the caramel toned one resting upon her abdomen, "We are in agreement, I have reanalyzed the situation and I came to the same conclusion. We will vote to colonize, and travel with them to Amazonia. I have already sacrificed one child for Voyager; I will not sacrifice the future of this one."

B'Elanna nodded, silently, an unhappy expression on her face as she remembered the fate of One. She leaned over and kissed Seven on the forehead, "She deserves the best future that we can give her, one where she won't be discriminated against." She smiled wryly, "For that matter we do as well, I'd loose my mind if I couldn't be an engineer, or you a scientist." Changing the topic slightly she asked curiously, "Amazonia? I didn't know they had already picked a name?"

Seven smirked, "That is Aria's choice, apparently in ancient Earth history there was a nation comprised primarily of women. The women were called Amazons. It seems an appropriate choice, as our colony will consist entirely of women."

"Aria… she is… was rather, Morgan's hostage right? Short brunette with grey eyes and a child? From Beta Squad?" said B'Elanna frowning slightly as she tried to place the name.

"Yes," replied Seven, "They have a 6 month old daughter, Marian."

A smile slowly formed on B'Elanna's face, "There was a nation of lesbians on ancient Earth? I never heard about that in school."

"I am not certain, it was a matriarchal society. But given the primitive medical knowledge of the time I doubt they had access to ova fusion, thus it is not likely their population was comprised entirely of lesbians." Seven commented with a raised brow. "One would assume men were needed for reproduction."

B'Elanna chuckled in response, "Amazonia, I like it." More seriously she asked, "Are you sure Seven? Janeway might change her mind, we might be judging the Federation too harshly, and we planned out all the upgrades and modifications we wanted to do to Voyager. I'm not sure how much of a technical challenge building a colony will be, though I'm sure it will be challenging." The half-Klingon's hands shifted to gently hold Seven's waist and her brown eyes showed her concern.

"It is alright, B'Elanna. I know your main reason for finding Voyager was to fulfill your promise to me, and to see how Tom Paris was functioning. I found it very distressing that Captain Janeway would even consider that she had the right to give those orders. I have had enough of things being done to me; I am not willing to go into a situation where that might occur again." she stated emphatically. "Hearing her tell you she would order you to comply, reminded me of how she was when I was severed. For a moment I believed that she was about to tell you that you were not competent to make decisions for yourself."

"I had forgotten how autocratic she could be when she gets in the mood," B'Elanna commented ruefully.

"How was Tom Paris?" asked Seven changing the topic.

"Surprised by the changes, I don't think he stopped comparing our heights during the entire discussion. He's seeing Megan Delaney again; I wished him luck and happiness. Told him we were planning on getting married soon, and that you were pregnant," B'Elanna grinned mischievously. "That sure did surprise him, seems as if Janeway got entirely the wrong impression about our relationship. She thinks that we were forced upon one another and no one should bring up 'what we had to do to survive'." She finished disbelievingly. "I don't know whether or not to be insulted, or just amused at the conclusion she jumped to."

Seven gave her an incredulous look, "While I was aware that coercion might occur at some point, I choose to make love that night because I wished to, I was very aroused by your kiss and did not wish to stop."

B'Elanna chuckled softly, "Trust me; I am well aware of that fact, and very thankful for it. I hope I don't forget the tiniest thing about that night, how you looked, how you reacted to my touch, how you sounded…" her voice dropped to a purr, and the last was said almost touching Seven's lips. "I realized that night, how very easy it would be for me to fall in love with you."

"If you do forget you have only to ask me, I have ensured that I will not forget that night as long as I am functioning," murmured Seven.

"Mmm, perhaps we should make sure I haven't forgotten anything yet, it's been a few months after all." B'Elanna smirked.

"Indeed, from what point are we starting?" Seven asked softly.

"This one," B'Elanna kissed her passionately.


Chapter 40


Stardate: 53010.37 (Jan 4, 2376 7:08pm)

"It is fortunate that we went over the events of that night, your memory of it has obviously been corrupted." Seven smirked at B'Elanna as she ran a washcloth over her arms.

B'Elanna grinned unrepentantly in reply, she stepped out of the tub and began drying off, "What are you planning on wearing tonight to the meeting?" she asked. Lately Seven had been 'thick as thieves,' as Elizabeth would say, with Maria, Lee, and Evelyn Brooks from Beta squad. Evelyn had been a fashion designer, and had been consulting with Seven to find out what fabrics the blonde could get the replicators to produce. In return for Seven's help she had designed several outfits with the blonde specifically in mind, and as an afterthought some for B'Elanna as well. As a result the amount of clothes in their closet aboard Artemis had multiplied.

"The woolen wine red split boot skirt, the antique-white cashmere sweater, and black boots," Seven answered, staring at her curiously. "I have not had the opportunity to wear them as yet."

"Gorgeous," commented B'Elanna, thinking of how Seven would look in the outfit.

Smiling she stepped to the closet and opened the door, one of Seven's latest accomplishments, at least in the minds of Maria, Lee, and Evelyn was a fabric that duplicated the look and feel of leather. Seven, B'Elanna strongly suspected, thought their fascination with fabrics was a bit peculiar, but she did enjoy the new clothes she got from assisting them. She pulled the pair of black leather pants from the closet and took a moment to admire them; Seven had really done an excellent job considering she had only been given a verbal description of the fabrics properties.

Pulling on the black pants, B'Elanna admired how she looked in them. They were designed to fit like a glove over her hips and thighs, and then flare slightly to fit over boots. Grabbing a cream colored silk shirt, and black boots, she completed dressing.

Seven appeared in the bedroom door, a towel wrapped around her. She stared at B'Elanna, taking in her appearance, her voice husky she commented, "I may have failed to appreciate the actual value of finding the correct replicator pattern for leather."

B'Elanna chuckled smugly.

Ten minutes later Seven joined B'Elanna in the main room of their quarters. Her hair was loosely gathered at the nape of her neck with a gold hair clip; the antique-white cashmere sweater she wore was cowl necked, providing the slightest glimpse of the hollow of her throat. The wine red divided skirt was basically A line in design, fitting closely over her waist and hips and then gathering into full loose folds to mid calf. Calf length black boots completed the ensemble.

"You look very beautiful," B'Elanna told her appreciatively. "Shall we," she asked holding out her arm for Seven to take as she had seen some of the other women do for their partners. Seven regarded her curiously for a moment then walked over and curled a hand around her forearm.

As they walked toward the Artemis' meeting room B'Elanna couldn't help but compare the many greetings, and compliments on their appearance, she and Seven received, with what Elizabeth had described had happened in the Mess Hall on Voyager. She knew that some of the disparity was due to the simple fact that these women had never met the unemotional Seven who had constantly stated that things were irrelevant, inefficient etc. Another was that these women had never lost anyone to the Borg, or had ever seen Seven when she had been a Borg drone.

But whatever the differences were, the simple fact was that Seven was welcomed and accepted here in a way that she had never been aboard Voyager. Here, Seven's reputation was that she was standoffish and wary of adults she didn't know well, was kind and helpful once she was comfortable with you, and had an immediate rapport with children. It was the last that had enabled the women to first see past the cool exterior, one had only to watch Seven interact with a child to see the person hiding behind the defensive behaviors.

They entered the room and found seats next to Maria, Mary and Ruth. Elizabeth was standing by the central podium along with Tanya. As soon as everyone was seated, Elizabeth stepped up to the podium. "The Ilanar have some new information for us, Trya Kryayh's criminal trial went to sentencing today. He was found guilty on all charges and received a sentence of a thousand years of consecutive imprisonment for his…" she had to stop as the noise level in the room drowned her out.

B'Elanna felt a surge of satisfaction, turning to Seven she saw that emotion mirrored in the blonde's blue eyes. She pulled her into a tight hug, felt Seven's arms wrap around her back and return the pressure.

Finally everyone quieted from their elation at the news, and Elizabeth continued speaking, "They also had a second piece of news for us. The Ilanar understand that we may not all be in agreement as to whether or not to colonize or go to Earth, and that we might feel in some way obligated to assist Voyager. Therefore, matter what our decision, whether to return to Earth or to colonize, they have decided to open a temporary wormhole just beyond the range of either ship's sensors that will go to the Alpha quadrant." The room broke out again into loud discussion, and Seven and B'Elanna stared at one another in complete surprise and dawning joy.

"Harry," B'Elanna breathed, thinking of how happy her friend would be to see his parents.

Seven smiled, "I am pleased that they will be able to return, no matter what decision we make."

"Quiet please, we do still need to make our report to you about how today's meeting with Captain Janeway before we can discuss anything further." The room quieted down, and Elizabeth was able to begin her report of the meeting on Voyager. Elizabeth included nothing about Captain Janeway's behavior, her initial insistence that Seven and B'Elanna submit to a treatment if the Doctor found one, she only went over Janeway's responses to their questions.

Finishing Elizabeth concluded, "Maria and I got the distinct feeling from Captain Kathryn Janeway that the idea of allowing us or our children to bypass the Genetic laws was like opening some type of Pandora's Box. Maybe it would be, after all if we are permitted to then why not all children that have been genetically engineered, they weren't given a choice either. I admit I hadn't looked at it before from that point of view. Unfortunately, I think the Federation might agree with her, it's probably a precedent they will not want to set."

B'Elanna frowned disturbed; it wasn't really a point of view she wanted to consider either. She understood the reasons for banning genetic engineering weren't just to prevent another generation of warmongering supermen; it was to prevent wholesale genetic engineering just to ensure that your children had a level playing field with everyone else's. She just hadn't wanted to think about whether or not their children could create that situation if the Genetic laws were waived for them. She glanced over and noticed a furrow between Seven's brows as she looked at Elizabeth, undoubtedly the idea the Alpha squad leader had raised was troublesome to her lover as well.

Elizabeth continued after a moment, drawing B'Elanna out of her own thoughts, "I don't know this for a fact, and I might be completely wrong, but my personal opinion is that we will find ourselves in an unfortunate position if we go back to Earth. I have no doubt the will welcome us, feel very sympathetic for what happened to us, and have a very hard time with allowing our children to compete with theirs for positions in Starfleet, medicine, and the technical fields."

She stepped back from the podium and Tanya took her place, "I don't know about a Pandora's Box, but it was very clear than Captain Janeway was very resistant to any suggestion that the Genetic laws be bent for us. Personally, I believe we should go to the planet we determined was the best choice for colonization and build our own society, one were we can be sure that our children won't be limited in any way because of what happened to us. Now there was one other point Captain Janeway brought up. I'll let Dr. Nancy Miller address it," Tanya nodded to Nancy as the blonde woman stood and made her way to the podium.

"Good evening," Nancy greeted everyone. "Captain Janeway raised the question of trusting the Ilanar medical doctor's opinion that any further genetic engineering to correct what was done to us would be fatal. She wanted Voyagers Doctor to examine us and make his own determination." She held up her hands, her face solemn. The rise of hopeful conversation in the room died down immediately, sensing that there would be no good news. "He did some testing on our DNA while we were there, in all cases it showed that the molecular bonds between the nucleotides were much weaker than they should be. He hasn't given up, but I think its more determination and hopefulness than any actual possibility. He informed us that he should have a better idea by tomorrow afternoon, but I'm more certain than ever that the Ilanar with their much greater medical knowledge are correct." Nancy stepped away from the podium after finishing

Elizabeth stepped up to the podium as Nancy retook her seat, "Tanya and I have discussed the vote we were to have tonight. We do not want there to be any doubt in anyone's mind about whether or not anything can be done for us medically before we make our final decision. Therefore we will put it to a quick vote whether or not to proceed, if there is any objection then we will delay the vote till tomorrow."

The two leaders looked around, finally Elizabeth stepped forward, "Please if anyone has any doubt speak up, twelve hours isn't any time to wait considering."

A woman stood up, "Tanya do you have any doubts?" she asked. B'Elanna didn't know her name only that she was from Beta.

"Absolutely none, my personal opinion is that Captain Janeway's grasping at straws hoping to get B'Elanna and Seven back." Tanya answered immediately.

"Then I have none," the woman sat back down.

"Well then I guess the next thing is to move onto voting on…" Elizabeth broke off as her communicator activated. She and Tanya stepped back from the podium and began a quiet discussion with whoever was on the other end.

B'Elanna looked inquisitively at Seven who had her enhanced ear tilted toward the pair; finally with a frown the blonde shook her head. "They are too far away, and there is too much other noise," Seven told her in a low tone.

Elizabeth stepped back to the podium looking rather bemused, "Diplomat Mryayh wishes to address us after we have made our decision. Apparently, there was what we would call a civil suit, entered on our behalf by the Ilanar government against Trya Kryayh, and the other Ilanar involved in the illegal games. The court decided in our favor, and he wishes to discuss the settlement with us, but our decision will affect what form it can take."

There was an excited buzz throughout the room as people immediately began speculating about the latest news.

"A settlement is usually money or goods awarded to those damaged by another's actions?" Seven spoke directly into B'Elanna's ear over the noise. B'Elanna nodded in reply, and returned to watching the commotion around them.

Finally Elizabeth shouted, "Quiet!" The room settled down some, "We'll never find out anything until we get this vote done, you guys are worse than a bunch of guinea hens today I swear."

"Well, since there are no guys here you can't be referring to us," Christina responded loudly from her seat.

Elizabeth gave her a dirty look in response, which quickly faded into a grin. There was a combination of good natured outrage and snickers over the comment but people got the point and quieted down.

Seven looked questioningly at B'Elanna but all she could do was shrug, she had no idea what guinea hens were or why Elizabeth would compare everyone to them.

"Alright we will begin voting, please vote according to what you actually want, not what you think anyone else wants. It's very important for us to get an accurate idea of everyone's opinion." Elizabeth stated earnestly. She looked around the room slowly meeting everyone's eyes, "Voting begins now, I'd like for it to be done in thirty minutes."


Chapter 41


Stardate: 53010.59 (Jan 4, 2376 9:03 pm)

"Ok, I know this is getting late for some of the children to be up, so we will try to wrap this up quickly." Elizabeth said as she stepped back up to the podium after the thirty minute voting break. "We have counted the votes, and it seems that we are unanimous, everyone voted for colonization."

Spontaneous cheers had started breaking out as soon as she said the word unanimous, they grew in number and volume when she finished. B'Elanna looked around at the women in the room, feeling an odd mixture of pleasure, excitement and seriousness as she realized that she would be spending the rest of her life with these women. They would be her coworkers, neighbors, her daughter's, or rather daughters', in-laws as she and Seven planned on having at least three children.

She finally noticed that Seven was watching her, and impulsively she captured the full rose colored lips with her own. She resisted the urge to growl possessively, Seven would be her wife, they would raise their children together, she would have the blonde's love and support, and be able to give all the love she felt for Seven in return, for the rest of their lives. They would build a home, a society, for themselves and their children, one that would hopefully be as tolerant and accepting of its people as humanity claimed to be.

"What would you say to us marrying before Voyager goes through the wormhole," she blurted as soon as their lips separated. "Instead of waiting until we reach Amazonia."

Seven blinked once in surprise, then smiled, "You wish to invite members of Voyager over for the ceremony."

"Harry, Chakotay, Tom if he will," B'Elanna said.

Seven nodded, "I would like to invite the Doctor, Nelix and Naomi as well, and I have a distinct feeling that Captain Janeway will apologize to us tomorrow. If not for her beliefs, then at least for her choice of words, would you object to me inviting her?" she asked uncertainly.

B'Elanna looked at her dubiously, "Why do you think that?"

Seven raised one brow, "The brief Elizabeth sent was…brief. We gave much more information to the Doctor than was contained in it about our treatment and the details of the psychological conditioning Trya attempted. As well as informing him of our wedding and my pregnancy. And you took great delight in informing him of how we fell in love with one another." The last was said in a slightly disapproving tone.

"He kept hovering over you," B'Elanna explained moodily, "I just wanted to make it clear that you were taken."

"You succeeded," Seven said, and then went quiet as Elizabeth started speaking once again.

B'Elanna tuned out Elizabeth as she made the connections Seven had been explaining, the Doctor of course would tell Janeway, and Janeway… B'Elanna groaned quietly, drawing an inquisitive look from Seven. "Janeway's going to feel guilty and apologize," she whispered in the blonde's ear.

Seven smirked.

B'Elanna raised an eyebrow at the blonde in reply, and then refocused her attention on Elizabeth speaking at the front of the room.

"I am planning on asking Captain Janeway to take some information back to Earth with her. The names of those who did not survive and what little we know about them, as well as our information. If any of you would rather we not include your information please let us know, I will be asking her about it tomorrow." Elizabeth finished. She was quiet for a second before bringing up the next point.

"Now, since the robots were made in the same body shape as the Ilanar, Diplomat Mryayh is going to use a humanoid holographic projection to discuss the settlement with us as he doesn't wish to upset the children." Elizabeth broke off as a glittering humanoid shape materialized in an open space to the left of the podium.

"He has used the actual appearance of his exoskeleton instead of skin," noted Seven with interest.

B'Elanna nodded, glancing around them. Everyone knew basically what the Ilanar looked like, Elizabeth and Tanya had done their best to describe them, but seeing the glittering crystalline form, even if it was vaguely humanoid, was another matter. If there had not been the children present, B'Elanna would have wished that the Diplomat would have transported over in person, just too actually see one.

"Greetings, I am Diplomat Mryayh," the Ilanar introduced himself, "We did not wish to have any influence on your final decision, but may I say that I am pleased that you have chosen to colonize instead of returning to Earth. It makes it much easier for us to arrange for the transfer of appropriate goods and services in equal value to the settlement you are now entitled to receive. It is not a small amount, the Kryayh family was a highly successful one, and the others who participated in the games who knew of your circumstances were also successful in business." He paused for a moment.

Interestingly his color shaded just barely towards blue, "I am embarrassed to admit that we cannot determine how to express to you the valuation of the settlement. The Federation uses Latium and credits, but those units have no meaning to most of you. None the less I can assure you that it is quite enough for us to offer you our services, we cannot give you technology or let you see it in use, but there is no rule preventing you from benefiting from our technology where it leaves no trace of itself. As in the wormhole we are opening for the other human ship."

Everyone waited curiously wondering what exactly he could be talking about besides the wormhole.

"We are offering to terraform the planet you have chosen, into one more suitable to your needs and uses. And to provide stocks of plants and animals with which you are familiar, as well as building the initial core of your settlement, to include a medical facility, food preparation and basic living shelters." He managed to get out before the reality of what he was saying became clear to everyone.

The planet they had chosen was of course M class, but they had not chosen only on habitability, but also on the likelihood of the Borg finding it, the amount of metals present for the future needs of their children, as well as the richness of resources available in it's solar system. Amazonia was not a bad planet to settle upon, but it certainly hadn't been the nicest planet of all the ones they had been given information upon. They had known that they would have to work to improve the planet some to get it up to earth standards, and they had accepted that fact.

Now with just a few words the Ilanar had just turned over all the tentative plans they had made. Instead of spending the first few years fighting with the planet, it seemed like they would be able to begin building their settlement as soon as they arrived.


Chapter 42


Stardate: 53011.98 (Jan 5, 2376 9:15 am)

"Captain, the Artemis just contacted us. Elizabeth Janeway is requesting a private conversation with you." Ensign Kim informed her, lively curiosity apparent in his eyes.

"I'll take it in my Ready Room," Captain Janeway answered, and stood up. It only took a minute until she was seated in the chair at her desk.

"Captain Janeway, good morning," Elizabeth greeted her politely.

She murmured in reply, "Good morning." The information the Doctor had given her last night had left her more than slightly frustrated with the briefing Elizabeth Janeway had sent over. She would have went into the meeting with a different set of expectations had she known what she did this morning, and she wouldn't have formed such an erroneous impression of the reason behind B'Elanna Torres and Seven of Nine's reactions.

"First I'll state that I'm sorry my briefing included so little information about what happened to us, and about the Ilanar. But we needed your honest reaction to our questions and we weren't certain we would get it if you were in possession of certain facts." Elizabeth Janeway informed her calmly.

She straightened, "And what facts would those be," she asked somewhat coldly.

"That we were about to make the final decision on whether to go to Earth or colonize, and were just waiting for more information. Information you provided us yesterday." Elizabeth answered, her expression kind but unrepentant.

Kathryn Janeway resented it, she knew perfectly well what that expression meant, she had used it often enough when explaining a difficult decision to someone. It said I'm sorry I had to do that, but I'm really not because I would do it again in the same circumstances. "And your decision?" she asked.

"Unanimous to colonize, we can't take the chance that the Federation will uphold the Genetics Laws." Elizabeth answered.

Janeway was not surprised, "The Doctor still hasn't given up, you don't need to make that decision yet."

"He won't find a way. I think you already know that from his preliminary results." Elizabeth responded.

She shifted uncomfortably, "He's surprised us before."

Elizabeth shook her head and smiled. "Anyway," she continued, "The Ilanar government has agreed to open a wormhole to the Alpha Quadrant for either ship, we won't need it, but I assume you might have some interest in it." Elizabeth Janeway sat back in her chair and waited.

"A wormhole to Earth?" she repeated numbly, "Where? When?"

"A few days' time, there were a few things I wanted to work out with you first," Elizabeth stated.

"Such as," Kathryn Janeway asked on automatic pilot as her mind tried to wrap itself around the fact that it seemed they would be headed back to Earth in just a few days.

"Literature, music, history, I'd like for our children to know where they came from. And we would appreciate it if you would take back a list of those who didn't survive, and a list of those who wish whatever relations they may have on Earth to know what happened to them." Elizabeth requested quietly.

"I think we can do that for you," Captain Janeway replied, after a moment of consideration.

"Oh and one last thing," Elizabeth smirked.

"Yes?" she asked somewhat warily.

Elizabeth grinned, "I have some wedding invitations for the 7th of January at 1700 hours for the nuptials of B'Elanna Torres and Seven Hansen. I was wondering if you would deliver them for me."


Chapter 43


Stardate: 53018.3 (Jan 7, 2376 4:30 pm)

It had taken two days of discussion to hammer out the basics of how Amazonia would be governed. A civilian led government with control over the defense force, executive, legislative and judicial branches, absolute separation of church and state, insisted upon by Lee, and a basic draft of a bill of rights for its citizens. Elizabeth Janeway had been volunteered to be the first governor of the colony, and she had even graciously agreed to accept.

Of the first day, several hours had been devoted to getting everyone to agree that the new colony needed a defense force. Finally, they had gotten a unanimous vote for it's formation with the understanding, that its primary role would be as a defensive force, emphasis on the defensive, and secondarily for peaceful exploration when they were able to start producing starships. In short, it was to be based upon the roles that Starfleet performed for the Federation, plus other duties that were more planetary oriented.

B'Elanna and Seven, after a long discussion about what they wanted to do in the new colony, met with Elizabeth. They wanted to help build the colony, but more than anything else they wanted to help design and build the colonies future starships. The newly minted governor had smilingly agreed, and had promptly accepted them into the Amazonian Defense Forces, both at the rank of Commander. B'Elanna was to head up the Engineering Department, Seven the Theoretical Research Division, both would be answering to Tanya Montego the new Commander of the Amazonian Defense Forces.

It had only taken Evelyn a few hours, to come up with a series of suitable uniforms for both civilian and military use. The dress uniforms bore a startlingly close resemblance to what used to be termed a Mess uniform. All of the United States military services had used variations of the same style, short waist length jacket, white mess shirt, cummerbund, and striped trousers.

Evelyn had chosen a dark navy blue as the color for the jacket and pants, arguing that white and formal dinners were disasters just waiting to happen. The Defense Forces version had gold stripes on the sleeves denoted rank, and the piping, cummerbund and trouser stripe were scarlet. The civilian government version had no rank, and the piping, cummerbund and trouser stripe were gold. The new uniform only awaited an official function for it's unveiling, fortunately there was one scheduled the very next day.

Commander B'Elanna Torres stared at herself in the mirror one last time; Evelyn had certainly outdone herself with designing the dress uniform.

"It fits perfectly, and looks wonderful on you, stop preening," Sabrina teased her, straightening the scarlet cummerbund of her own Defense Forces uniform in imitation of the half-Klingon.

"Just wait till you see the Starfleet dress uniform, you'll understand," B'Elanna chuckled.

"Speaking of which, we'd better go to the transport room to meet them," Sabrina reminded her, checking the time. The two of them strode into the transporter room a few minutes before B'Elanna and Seven's Voyager guests were scheduled to arrive.

Elizabeth walked in right behind them "Well, I'll give it this; it's a lot more comfortable than the Marine dress jacket." she commented, wearing the civilian version of the uniform, with its gold cummerbund and trouser stripe.

B'Elanna who had seen a sketch Evelyn had made of a jacket she had described as a Marine dress jacket had to agree. The Marine jacket had looked very nice, and very uncomfortable. The bridge signaled and B'Elanna stepped to the controls and coordinated the transport with Voyager.

"Captain Janeway," Elizabeth greeted her as Kathryn Janeway stepped of the transporter platform.

Elizabeth and Kathryn Janeway had been exchanging correspondence for the past few days. Voyager had been coordinating data file transfers from Voyager's computer core to the Artemis, and B'Elanna and Seven had been compiling and transmitting to Voyager the upgrades they had discussed during their captivity. The two women hoped that the information would prove useful to Starfleet Engineering.

The upshot of this was that Captain Janeway was aware of Elizabeth's new position. "Governor Janeway," she greeted her, "You've met my First Officer Commander Chakotay, my Security Officer Lt. Commander Tuvok and the Doctor, may I introduce my Helm Officer Ensign Tom Paris and my Communications officer Ensign Harry Kim. Mr. Neelix is our Morale officer, and this is Ensign Samantha Wildman and her daughter Naomi Wildman."

"Good evening, it is a pleasure to meet all of you." Elizabeth greeted them. "I'd like to introduce my new Defense Forces Head of Engineering, Commander B'Elanna Torres and Communications Officer Lt. Sabrina Gentry."

"Congratulations on your posting Cmdr. Torres," Captain Janeway said to B'Elanna after a moment's pause. An almost sad expression crossed her face for a moment then it disappeared replaced by a smile.

The other Voyager officers stepped forward after the Captain and extended their congratulations as well, though she could tell that they were dismayed by her posting. It made it that much more final that she would not be returning with them to Earth.

"Thank you Captain Janeway," B'Elanna acknowledged. "I'd like to thank all of you for coming, Seven and I appreciate it," she thanked them. "We should be getting to the meeting room, or I'll be late for my own wedding," she joked.

"Who's performing the wedding?" asked Chakotay interestedly as they walked into the Artemis' huge meeting room. The huge square room had been divided into two spaces for the wedding, one open area for the reception, the other space arranged to present a chapel like appearance. The chairs had been placed to either side with a walkway in the middle, and a raised platform for the ceremony at one end.

"Lee is," answered B'Elanna absently looking around at who was already present. Finally she noticed their puzzled looks. "Sorry, the Reverend Elizabeth Scott," she didn't wait to see who would make the connection, "and yes, she's that Elizabeth Scott, the first president of the Church of Conscious Design."

"Oh Lee's not going to be happy with you," Elizabeth commented laughingly.

The initial stunned looks from several of the Voyager officers faded into confusion, "Why would she not be pleased?" asked Chakotay.

"She wasn't pleased when I told her about her picture being up in just about every Deist Meeting Hall." B'Elanna winced just remembering. "She thinks it's pretty silly to attribute the growth of Deism to her, when the philosophy was around long before she was even born, and will let you know her opinion if you mention it."

"Are you gossiping about me B'Elanna?" Lee's distinctive voice came from behind her.

"Of course," B'Elanna turned and gave the diminutive woman a hug.

"Mind the robes," Lee chided her, as she straightened the gold colored stole she was wearing. "And be polite and introduce me to your friends."

B'Elanna and Lee's relationship had changed rather abruptly one day from acquaintances to friend and councilor; B'Elanna had needed someone to talk to about her guilt over the idea of leaving Voyager stranded in the Delta Quadrant if they chose to colonize. She had originally intended to talk to Maria, but the Hispanic woman had been busy and Lee had been available.

With Lee's assistance, B'Elanna had finally come to the conclusion that no matter how guilty she felt, she could not make a choice that would ultimately harm her unborn daughter. Yet, she still felt that she was abandoning her friends on Voyager. She and Lee had discussed these feelings during a second meeting. To her own surprise, B'Elanna had opened up and talked about her own childhood, her anger toward, and feelings of abandonment by her father.

That was when she found out why Seven held Lee in such high esteem. Pointing out her own seven year old daughter's behavior, Lee had bluntly told B'Elanna that she could expect similar things from her daughter as well, once she was born. Lee informed B'Elanna that she would hear 'I hate you' from the half-Klingon's own daughter many, many times over the course of raising her.

Lee used as an example Virginia's short temper tantrum the day before when her daughter had been frustrated, angry and afraid. B'Elanna had been in the area and had listened frozen, remembering her own past, as Virginia ranted at her mother. Then she had watched amazed as Lee talked to her daughter calmly in reply, and then pulled the girl into a hug when Virginia had started to cry.

Using that incident as a starting place, Lee had finally gotten B'Elanna to think about her father leaving from an adult viewpoint, instead of the childish one she had held onto for so long. No, she had never thought that Virginia actually hated her mother; she had seen from the child's face what she was feeling. No, she would never consider leaving her own child if they said that in a moment of frustration and anger. At the end of that session Lee had left her with the task of considering why her father might have decided to leave.

B'Elanna had struggled with the task, but in the end she had been surprised by the answers she wrote down. Primary among them had been that she would leave because she was hurting her child too much by fighting with the child's mother. Right after writing that down, she had cried in Seven's arms for the first time. It was a major turning point in her life, and since then she had went back to Lee several times to discuss her feelings about her father and mother.

"Elizabeth Scott, meet Captain Kathryn Janeway, Commander Chakotay…" she went on and introduced everyone.

"Well, hopefully I'll have time to talk to you after the ceremony, but I must be going." Lee excused herself and glanced meaningfully at B'Elanna.

"I think that's my cue as well," B'Elanna grinned, she had starting feeling slightly nervous earlier, but now she could no longer ignore it.

As they walked up the middle isle Sabrina, took firm hold of her arm and whispered in her ear, "I have Christina and Brenda stationed at the door if you try and run for it, so don't even think about it."

As it was meant to, it startled a laugh out of B'Elanna, relaxing her, "Didn't I say something similar a two weeks ago at your wedding?" she grinned at her friend. Like Sabrina was doing for her now, she had stood as best friend for Sabrina at her wedding with Anuhya.

"And for much the same reason," laughed Sabrina.

"Hey, you were looking a bit grey for a moment, not a good color on you." B'Elanna joked.

The rest of it was a daze of memory for B'Elanna. Making sure Mary had both of the rings. Waiting for the first appearance of Seven, and then watching stunned as Seven appeared in the long antique-white wedding gown that Evelyn had designed for her, so radiantly beautiful it took her breath away. Naomi, concentrating intently on making sure to scatter the flower petals evenly before Seven and Elizabeth, who was her escort. Finally they reached the end of the isle and Elizabeth placed Seven's hand in B'Elanna's, and they stepped up on the raised podium in front of Elizabeth Scott.

Of what Lee said during the ceremony, one thing stood out in B'Elanna's mind, "Cleave together during times of trouble, selflessly lend each other your strength, your courage, your honesty and love, and though you may be bowed and bloodied by adversity, you will overcome it together."

B'Elanna clearly recalled sliding a ring on Seven's finger, and Seven placing one on hers, then Lee was stating, "Before this community, I now pronounce you married."

They stepped toward one another, and B'Elanna's lips met Seven's in a long loving kiss. Slowly they parted staring into one another's eyes for long moment, then smiled in joy at one another, before turning and facing the gathering. Traditional rice was thrown at them during their walk back to the end of the isle much to Seven's bewilderment. As Seven had stated to B'Elanna earlier, the half-Klingon was not male, and did not need any supernatural assistance in making her pregnant since she was already pregnant.

After fifteen minutes of accepting congratulations from people, B'Elanna watched with a smile as Seven, noting Naomi staring longingly at the other children playing, walked over to her and offered to introduce the half-Ktarian. Seven and Samantha spoke for a moment then Seven took Naomi's hand and lead her over to introduce her to Virginia and Mary.

"She's really changed a lot from how I remember her on Voyager," Chakotay commented as he came over to her.

B'Elanna nodded, watching as Seven listened intently to something Virginia was saying to her. "She loves children; you should see her with Karen's youngest Heather," she pointed out Karen who happened to be holding Heather at that moment.

Maria walked up to them, "Tsk, tsk, lost her already to a younger woman." She teased B'Elanna.

B'Elanna laughed, "I can see that happening quite frequently." She nodded to Chakotay as he waved at her and then drifted away to talk to Captain Janeway.

"She is a very loving person, you are a lucky woman B'Elanna Torres," Maria informed her.

B'Elanna smiled softly watching her wife, savoring the fact that she could now use the word in her thoughts to refer to the blonde. "Believe me I know that," she replied to Maria.

Tom Paris stepped into her line of vision, "Nice wedding B'Elanna," he congratulated her.

"Thanks Tom," she replied and watched as he gazed at Seven.

He turned back toward her, "I didn't really understand why or how two days ago," he admitted. "Even though you told me about it, about how your perceptions of her changed, how you two became friends. I didn't really get it, but seeing Seven here, how relaxed she is around everyone, it is like seeing a different person." He trailed off.

"I love her," B'Elanna told him simply.

Tom nodded and smiled, "Yea, you told me that, I guess I didn't really believe it. But I do now, good luck, B'Elanna."

"Good luck to you too, I hope things go well with your father," B'Elanna stated.

"Thanks, I suspect I'll need it," He replied and took in a deep breath.

"On a jet plane?" Elizabeth's incredulous voice drew their attention, and with a glance at each other B'Elanna and Tom drifted over to hear what Kathryn and Elizabeth Janeway were discussing. Seven came up beside her as they approached the two women, and B'Elanna grinned at her, knowing that the blonde was just as curious as she and Tom.

"You have determined that you are related?" Seven calmly inquired as they approached.

Elizabeth stopped staring at Kathryn long enough to nod to Seven, "Yes we have, her ancestor Henry Janeway was my father William Janeway's brother, and my uncle. I went to see Henry and Shannon in May of 2006 at Portage Creek, Indiana while they were still building the Millennium Gate."

Elizabeth turned back to Captain Janeway, "I think we should go for a walk, we can go to my office and share a glass of cognac and whatever poison you prefer and discuss this, I'm afraid your Aunt Martha had a somewhat embellished version of Henry and Shannon's first meeting."


Chapter 44


Stardate: 53025.55 (Jan 10, 2376 8:30 am)

Voyager's sensors had detected the formation of the wormhole 6 light years away the previous day, and had received confirmation from the Artemis that the Ilanar were responsible. Elizabeth had told Kathryn Janeway that the wormhole would be formed too far away for them to determine how it was created, and she had been correct. Their sensor data included nothing that would indicate how the Ilanar had managed to create the wormhole.

Now they were 300 million kilometers away from the wormhole entrance waiting for the probe they had just sent into the wormhole to exit and send data back. The Artemis had traveled with them, and was currently at station keeping two hundred thousand kilometers from Voyager.

"Captain, the probe has exited the far side of the wormhole, receiving telemetry data now." Kim informed her. She hid a grin, if Harry sounded any more intense she would have to look back to see if he was vibrating with excitement yet.

"Captain," his voice sounded awed, and she just had to turn around to meet his dark eyed gaze, "The probe is 10 light years from Wolf 494, and 17 light years from Earth."

"I guess when the Ilanar said near Earth they meant it," commented Chakotay with a grin.

"And, Captain," Ensign Kim continued his voice awed, "I'm picking up a Starfleet vessel," he paused staring at his board then looked up at her wide eyed, "it's the Enterprise."

Janeway whipped around and stared at the screen intently, "Can you contact them?"

"Attempting to now," Harry bent over his console working feverishly.

The view screen showed static for a few seconds then finally cleared. Janeway immediately recognized the features of the man standing in the middle of the Galaxy class bridge. "Captain Picard," she paused a moment controlling her voice, "it's so very good to see you."

"There's a bit of a time delay Captain," Kim advised her, "Three point two seconds."

"Captain Janeway," Picard smiled, "It seems you found your own way home." His smile faltered, "Do you have any information about this wormhole; my officers suspect it's not naturally formed."

"It isn't, an advanced race called the Ilanar created it for us. We weren't permitted to witness its creation though; they have their own version of the Prime Directive that forbids it." Captain Janeway informed him.

"Captain," Kim interrupted quietly, "The Artemis is contacting us." He frowned at his board, "And the Enterprise just sent their own probe through. I'll try and patch the two probes together it should help cut down the time delay."

Captain Janeway waited impatiently until Kim looked up and nodded to her. "Can you patch in the Artemis?" she asked.

"Yes, Captain," he answered.

Janeway turned around and looked at the screen as it split and now showed both the bridge of the Enterprise and the Artemis. "Governor Elizabeth Janeway, we have a communications link with a Starfleet vessel at the other end of the wormhole, this is Captain Jean-Luc Picard of the Enterprise."

Elizabeth grinned, "Well I'm glad to see that name carried on, I was aboard the Enterprise in 2001 when she was an aircraft carrier."

Captain Janeway noticed Picard giving Elizabeth a frowning look, "Captain Picard, meet Governor Janeway a rather distant cousin of mine, formerly Colonel Elizabeth Janeway of the United States Marine Corps."

Picard's eyes widened slightly as he absorbed the information, "Pleased to meet you Governor Janeway." He greeted her in his cultured voice.

Elizabeth nodded, "Captain Janeway, Reverend Scott has arranged for a proper send off for you, do you have an estimated time for your departure?"

"We're ready to go now actually, we hadn't expected to contact Starfleet so soon." Captain Janeway answered, wondering what was going on.

"Well then I'll let her know," Elizabeth drawled with a grin, she nodded to someone off to the side.

Janeway waited puzzled for a few minutes, until Elizabeth Scott wearing her ministerial robes walked onto the bridge followed by members of the new Defense Force in dress uniform, including white gloves. Seven and B'Elanna were among them, and with amusement she noticed when Seven saw who else was in the communications link with them. Though she couldn't hear her, she would swear that the former Borg mouthed, Locutus, before focusing her attention back on Elizabeth Scott. The group of women arranged themselves into a small arch around the diminutive woman, and held up what looked suspiciously like old paper choir books.

"Mr. Kim patch this through to the entire ship," Janeway whispered urgently, suspecting what was about to happen.

Reverend Scott addressed her, "Captain Janeway and the crew of Voyager, though you do not sail upon the sea this day, there is a hymn that was in our time traditionally sung for those embarking on a journey," she turned back around to face the other women. She paused for a moment making sure she had their attention then she lifted her arms and began to direct them.

Eternal Father, strong to save,
Whose arm hath bound the restless wave,
Who bidd'st the mighty ocean deep
Its own appointed limits keep;
Oh, hear us when we cry to Thee,
For those in peril on the sea!

O Christ! Whose voice the waters heard
And hushed their raging at Thy word,
Who walked'st on the foaming deep,
And calm amidst its rage didst sleep;
Oh, hear us when we cry to Thee,
For those in peril on the sea!

Most Holy Spirit! Who didst brood
Upon the chaos dark and rude,
And bid its angry tumult cease,
And give, for wild confusion, peace;
Oh, hear us when we cry to Thee,
For those in peril on the sea!

O Trinity of love and power!
Our brethren shield in danger's hour;
From rock and tempest, fire and foe,
Protect them wheresoe'er they go;
Thus evermore shall rise to Thee
Glad hymns of praise from land and sea.

The last notes died away and Reverend Scott turned around to face the screen, "May our Eternal Creator watch over you and your crew, Captain Janeway."

"Thank you Reverend Scott," she responded.

"You are not accompanying Voyager through the wormhole Governor Janeway?" inquired Picard, his dark eyes searching.

"No Captain Picard, we have a planet to colonize," Elizabeth responded.

"I'm certain Starfleet and the Federation would be very interested to meet you," he assured her.

Elizabeth grinned, "I'm sure they would, but the decision's already been made; only Voyager will be traveling through that wormhole today." Elizabeth glanced over at something then back to the screen, "Captain Janeway, the Ilanar have asked that you complete transit of the wormhole in one hour, they need to close it as soon as possible."

Janeway nodded, "I understand, and please thank them for us again."

Elizabeth just nodded; she had passed on several thanks from Voyager already.

She took a deep breath, "Mr. Paris take us in," Janeway ordered.

"God bless and God speed, Voyager," Elizabeth wished them.

"Good luck, Artemis," she returned it, taking one last look at B'Elanna Torres and Seven of Nine standing at attention behind Reverend Scott in their new uniforms. After the wedding she had understood better why the two women had not wanted to come back to Voyager. Seven was more than accepted by her fellow former captives, she was one of them, and had made several close friends there. No one stared at her implants, or whispered about her behind her back, or told her that she should have remained lost.

The last when Neelix had told her about it a few days later had first infuriated her then the anger had drained away and defeat set in. She knew that between her own behavior at the meeting, and those crewmembers hateful words Voyager had lost. Lost the two women to the love they had found in one another, and the acceptance they had in their new community.

Five minutes later after a slightly bumpy ride Voyager exited the far end of the wormhole. Filling their view screen were the stars of the Alpha Quadrant and the Galaxy class Federation Starship Enterprise.

"Communication from the Enterprise, Captain," Kim almost sang in his excitement.

"Put it through Ensign Kim," she ordered huskily.

Picard was smiling warmly, "Let me be the first to say… Welcome home, Voyager."

Part 45

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