DISCLAIMER: All things Start Trek, people, places, aliens, that have been used in the shows and movies are copyright to Star Trek, its creators and Paramount. Some of the characters and information was taken from the show and some from book Mosaic by Jeri Taylor. I have mentioned parts from different episodes, some minor some major (Year of Hell), and have taken several lines from the show and incorporated them into the story. A special thank you to Kate Mulgrew and Jeri Ryan for bringing Captain Janeway and Seven of Nine to life.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: I have differed from parts of the seventh season Neelix's return to Earth with Voyager is just one of the differences. Also please note that Chakotay is somewhat of a dubious character towards the end of Voyager's journey, I'm not a fan of Chuckles so if you are, don't say I didn't warn you. I forgot to thank my beta readers, shame on me, Sarah and rt. The awards used are ones that have been mentioned in the Star Trek universe except for the Purple Heart.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
Chapter Twenty Three
"Captain's Personal Log Stardate 55787.1. It's 0500 hours and my mind refuses to let me sleep. We'll be arriving at the Banarian Expanse today and so far it has been an uneventful trip except for my sister's meddling, which is the reason for my insomnia. A dinner on the holodeck and just last night a dinner in her quarters with Mark and me the main attraction. I know she means well, but Phoebe is like a dog with a bone when she sets her mind to a task. And I now believe Seven was correct the other day when she said Mark was probably the one that put Phoebe up to this matchmaking in the first place.
"I don't know what I'm going to do with them; maybe it's time I sat Mark down and just explained a few things. I'm still not ready to tell anyone about my relationship with Seven yet, I'm still a little gun shy about being hurt again. When I'm with her, she fills my heart and soul with so much happiness and I want to lose myself in her. It's when we're apart that the doubts start to creep in; self doubt mostly. I wonder why she would want me; twelve years her senior; most of my time taken up with ship and crew, even here in the Alpha Quadrant. I keep waiting for her to get fed up and tell me she'd rather be with someone that can give her the attention she deserves. She missed out on so much of her life, why would she want to wait around for the little bit of life I can give her?
Kathryn moved over to the replicator and ordered 'coffee black'. Carrying it with her to stand, staring out of the view ports in the living area of her quarters, her mind drifted back to the previous night.
Kathryn entered her sister's quarters after being granted permission and saw three place settings on the dinning table. "Tell me Mother is joining us."
"No." Phoebe stated. "Tell me, sis, do you ever take off that uniform? I'm beginning to think you might even wear it to bed. It's like a suit of armor for you isn't it? Except it doesn't protect you from swords and arrows, but from life."
"I can turn around and leave." Kathryn threatened.
"No wait, I'm sorry, I'm just worried about you."
She rubbed her temples, trying to ward off an oncoming headache. "Phoebe, I'm perfectly all right, you don't have to worry about me."
"You aren't 'alright', Katie. You never turn off the Starfleet officer, even Richard leaves it at the door when he's around friends and family. But you you are always 'The Captain' even around Mom and me." Phoebe was frustrated.
"Phoebe, our situations are a little different. Being a lieutenant and a captain are not quite the same."
"Even I know that." She placed her hands on her hips and directed her version of the Janeway glare at her sister. "But can't you be yourself around us? Can't you be Kathryn tonight? Mark has been trying to rekindle what the two of you had before Voyager was lost, why can't you meet him halfway?"
"And what about what I want? Doesn't that count for anything?" Before she could explain that she wasn't interested in Mark, the door chime sounded.
The captain shook her head and finished her coffee. "Computer, state the time."
"The time is 0630 hours."
"Damn." She'd gotten lost thinking about last night. It had turned into one of the most awkward dinners she had been involved in, in a long time. One word answers from both her and Phoebe had Mark struggling to make conversation with both of them. The only good thing about the night was that it had been a short evening.
It was definitely time to sit Mark down and explain a few things to him, but first she wanted to let Seven know what she planned on doing. She grabbed her uniform tunic and headed to astrometrics, she knew even this early in the morning that Seven would be in her office.
"Captain Janeway, what can I do for you?" Seven never looked up from the PADD as she acknowledged the person entering her door.
Kathryn looked around making sure no one could see them and then hugged the tall woman. "Good morning, Seven."
A smile lit her face as she returned the hug. "It is a good morning now. How was the dinner last night?"
She sighed and the smile left her face. "Other than to get a hug, that's actually why I'm here. I wanted you to know that I plan on telling Mark that I'm not interested in him romantically and ask him to back off."
"Are you going to tell him about us?"
"Not yet. I still feel like I want to keep that just between us for the time being." She tried to gage Seven's reaction. "Is that all right with you?"
"Yes, I am trying to get used to the new people on board and let them get use to me, having to add in a known relationship with the Captain might make that harder."
"Is there anyone or anything specific that's giving you problems?"
"No, it is not unlike when I first came aboard Voyager. I believe it will just take time for people to adjust. Gretchen has been a considerable help in smoothing over a few rough spots."
"Good, but let me know if I can do anything to help." She released Seven and moved a bit away from her since it was getting toward the hour when more and more people would be heading towards their daily assignments. "What I would like to do about Mark, is talk to him in a private setting, but I wanted you to know what was going on."
"You want to invite him to your quarters, but did not want me thinking it was a dinner date." Seven smiled.
"Thank you." Just then an alert that Seven had programmed announced the scans that she set to run had finished and displayed their results on the labs holomatrix and they entered the lab to view them.
"Is this the area of the expanse where the strange readings were recorded?"
"Yes, but I do not see anything out of the ordinary now except "
"Except in grid 279," the captain climbed the stairs for a closer look. "It looks like some kind of "
"Energy distortion." Seven smirked when she realized they were finishing each others sentences. A grin and a raised eyebrow from Kathryn and Seven knew the captain had also figured out what they were doing.
"Anything on the sensors about what this thing could be?"
"We are still to far away for a detailed analysis of the area." Seven responded; back to business.
"All right, I'll get to the bridge and change course. About an hour at full impulse should bring us into medium resolution sensor range and that should be enough to get an idea of what it is."
An hour later and they had dropped to half impulse. The sensors were telling them that the distortion was some type of energy field and it had just discharged a wave headed right for them.
"Discharged from what, Mr. Kim?" the first officer asked.
"It's headed right for us," Tom stated, "and picking up speed."
"Shields at maximum, Captain, and I've diverted power to hull integrity." Tuvok stated.
The wave was too wide and too fast for them to get out of the way. "Keep us pointed into the wave, Lt. Paris. Tuvok, reinforce the forward shields." Janeway ordered, though she was certain her tactical officer had already done that. "What are the sensors telling us?"
"It contains ion particles, plasma discharges, gamma emissions, electromagnetic pulses and radium." Lt. Kim had to recheck the last reading.
"Radium?" the captain questioned. "If I remember my elements correctly, that's a rare, highly radioactive metallic element found in very small amounts in uranium ores, with a mass number somewhere around 220 or 230."
"You remember correctly, Captain." Viktor had pulled up the info on his console. "It's the luminescent particles we're seeing within the wave."
"Impact in 60 seconds." Tuvok stated.
"All hands, this is the Captain, the ship is going to be hit by an energy discharge, secure stations and brace for impact in 45 seconds. Bridge out." Following her own instructions, she moved down the stairs and sat down in her chair.
The wave engulfed the ship and sent it ass over teakettle along with the crew.
It took Tom a second or two to climb back into the chair at the helm and get the inertial dampers and the stabilizers back online and functioning.
"Damage report," Janeway barked as she picked herself up from the floor, along with the rest of the bridge crew.
"Minor hull breaches on deck eight, weapons are offline and shields are down to 18%." The security chief reported.
"Long range sensors are down and transporters aren't functioning." Lt. Kim added.
"Warp engines aren't available, but we do still have impulse power." Mr. Paris stated.
"Injuries?" She asked as she helped Viktor up; he was just regaining consciousness.
"Reports are just coming in from sickbay. Sixteen causalities no fatalities broken bones and concussions the most severe." Tuvok reported.
"Janeway to Torres."
"Torres here, Captain."
"B'Elanna, where are my warp engines, I'd like to get a good distance away from here in case there is another discharge."
"Dr. Collins here, Captain, I'm guessing your engines are in engineering, however most of your engineering crew is in sickbay at the moment and quite busy being treated."
"Do all doctors have the dispositions of a bull moose in heat?" the first officer whispered.
"And ears the size of a Ferengi, Commander Viktor. I'll be sure to remember that comment next time you need medical attention."
Janeway chuckled, "Which would be right about now. Commander, get to sickbay, I'll be in engineering trying to locate my warp engines. Janeway out."
"Captain," Viktor stood up and followed her to the turbolift, "I'd be happy to lend a hand in engineering."
"Ah, no thank you, Commander. I seem to recall something about in your final year at the Academy; you managed to reverse the matter/anti-matter injectors and 'blew up' your simulated ship." She laughed at the snickers coming from the rest of the bridge crew. "I think I can manage on my own, Viktor, if it's all the same to you." She grinned at his sheepish expression as the doors swished shut.
Phoebe had been up early that morning; the disagreement the previous night with her sister had unsettled her, she had been restless and hadn't wanted to take the chance on waking Richard up. Taking a chance that her mother wouldn't yet be too busy, she had headed for her office.
"Well, you're up early." Gretchen said as she put down the PADD she was reading and leaned back in her chair.
"I was having trouble sleeping."
"Last night didn't go very well I take it."
Her first response was surprise which faded to exasperation. "Is it just you or are all mothers mind readers?"
Gretchen laughed. "No crystal balls involved. I had wanted to speak with Mark about something and had asked his location, which as you know, was your quarters, so on a hunch, I asked where Kathryn was and guess what, she was there also."
Phoebe waved her hands in the air. "All right, all right, I surrender. Guilty as charged." She sighed heavily. "Katie and I had a bit of an intense discussion before Mark got there and it's been bothering me."
"Oh, Phoebe, when are you going to learn enough is enough?"
Any further discussion was interrupted by the comm system. "All hands, this is the Captain, the ship is going to be hit by an energy discharge, secure stations and brace for impact in 45 seconds. Bridge out."
After the ship stopped its impression of a bucking bronco, Seven entered the office. "Dr. Janeway, are you injured?" She asked as she made her way over to the older woman, helping her to stand.
"I'm fine, just a bruise or two. Phoebe, you okay?"
"Just dandy, can we go on the ride again, Mom?"
Seven's implant rose. "I am going to assume that is another example of sarcasm and not an actual request."
"Good guess." Phoebe replied as she picked herself up.
All of the sudden, red lights flashed and klaxons started blaring.
"Warning: warp core breach imminent in TEN minutes."
Chapter Twenty Four
"Janeway to Seven."
"Seven here, Captain."
"Most of engineering is in sickbay at the moment, would you give me a hand with the warp core?"
"On my way, Captain, Seven out."
Seven arrived just ahead of Janeway, since Gretchen's office was located on the same deck as engineering. "Do we know what the problem is?" She inquired of the frantic looking engineer standing at the console on the lowest level beside the core.
The captain entered in time to hear his response. "According to the diagnostic, the reaction chamber is leaking anti-matter. I've tried the emergency shutdown procedure but the injectors are not responding."
"Warning: warp core breach in NINE minutes."
"Alright, Ensign," the captain headed to the upper level, "let's see if we can find out why those injectors aren't closing."
"Captain, shouldn't we eject the core?" he asked.
Seven stood at another console, rapidly punching in commands. "That is not possible at this time; the computer relays to the magnetic plates have been damaged. A manual ejection might be an option if I can reroute the controls of the magnetic valve."
"Get to work on that, Seven, while I work on getting the injectors shut down." She stated as she removed the panels that gave her access to the area she needed to work.
"What should I do, Captain?" The inexperienced young ensign asked as a plasma conduit ruptured.
"You can seal that leak before we end up with a plasma fire on top of everything else."
"They're getting younger and younger out of the Academy or maybe I'm just getting older." Janeway mumble as she surveyed the mess in front of her. "Wonderful."
"Warning: warp core breach in EIGHT minutes."
"Captain?" Seven overheard the sarcasm.
"It's a mess up here; the blown EPS relays have fused the isolinear chips. How's your end looking?"
"A couple of years ago, I would have questioned why my gluteus maximus' appearance mattered." Janeway laughed. "The manual ejection option is not looking good." Seven admitted. "Maybe I should abandon this idea and work with you."
"Damn." Janeway stated as another plasma conduit broke. "Ensign, evacuate the engine room."
"Now, Ensign, that's an order, everyone out. You too, Seven, get out of here."
"I will not comply, Captain, you need my help and I will not leave you."
"Bridge to Captain Janeway, any chance on getting the core stabilized?"
"Dr. Hansen and I are working on it, Commander; it's going to be close. I've ordered engineering evacuated and sealed off. I think this might be a good time to try out those enhanced Borg forcefields."
"Warning: warp core breach in SEVEN minuteS."
"Captain, you and Dr. Hansen need to get out now, we'll try putting up a second containment field around the core and another around engineering."
"Negative, Commander, we'll continue working. Tuvok, erect the fields and that's an order."
"Containment fields have been deployed," Tuvok stated, "Good luck, Captain."
Computer, seal all entrances to engineering and override only on my or Dr. Hansen's command. Authorization, Janeway, beta zero six one." The computer chirped its acknowledgement.
B'Elanna Torres limped out of the turbolift on deck 18 as fast as her newly knitted broken leg would allow. Touching her comm badge as she headed towards main engineering, "Torres to the bridge, status."
After being brought up to date and uttering a few choice Klingon phrases, the lieutenant tapped her comm badge again, "Torres to Captain Janeway."
"I'm a little busy at the moment, B'Elanna, what can I do for you?"
"You can open the door and let me in my engine room." She growled and received a few wide-eyed looks from the mostly civilian science staff that had come out of their labs that where located near engineering.
"I'll remind you, Lt. Torres, that while it might be your engine room, it's on my ship. You might want to get away from the area while you've got time. We might be testing out those enhanced Borg forcefields in the next few minutes."
"That might take more time than we've got, there's a lot of curious people out here standing around."
"Ouch, damn it," was heard through the comm link. "You might want to explain to them just what a warp core breach entails."
"Warning: warp core breach in SIX minutes."
B'Elanna leaned her forehead against the double doors. "So, Captain, you have any of that Kathryn Janeway magic left?"
Janeway chuckled, "We'll find out in a few minutes, B'Elanna, Janeway out."
"So, what does all that mean?" One of the civilian scientists asked.
The lieutenant looked sideways at him and in her usual tactful manor, she explained. "Basically it means if the Captain and Dr. Hansen can't shut the injectors down, the warp core will explode and maybe if the enhanced containment fields hold, we won't all end up as space dust."
"Warning: warp core breach in Five minutes."
There was a lot of murmuring and some people were starting to move towards the turbolift as Richard weaved his way through them and towards the people still clustered around engineering.
"What are you doing down here? Don't you know you should be as far away from the warp core as you can get?" He was sure he had given his wife the PADD that contained the emergency procedures, now whether or not she had read it was another matter.
"Warning: warp core breach in FOUR minuteS."
Torres touched her comm badge again, "Seven, how's it coming?"
"I have repaired the power relay and the Captain has made significant progress in her repairs of the computer relays for the shutdown sequence, but there was extensive damage."
'Well,' Richard thought, 'I now know what Phoebe and Gretchen are doing down here.'
"Lt. Torres, is that corridor cleared yet?" Kathryn asked through the still open comm link of Seven's badge.
"Pretty much," she answered and looked at the few people still remaining.
"Warning: warp core breach in THREE minuteS."
Seven closed the open comm link and dropped to her knees beside the captain. "May I be of assistance?"
"Yes, you could follow orders and get the hell out of here." She stated without stopping her work.
"I stand by my original refusal." She replied and started replacing isolinear chips.
"I believe you've grown even more stubborn than you used to be," she chuckled.
"I had a very good teacher." Seven smiled. "Kathryn, maybe when we get out of here, we could talk about your 'taking it slowly' requirement."
Janeway laughed, "We might be able to do that, my love."
"Warning: warp core breach in TWO minuteS."
"Torres to bridge."
"I don't suppose the transporters are back online yet."
"Negative, Lieutenant, I unfortunately don't believe they'll be available to beam them out of engineering."
"Understood, Torres out. Damn, come on Captain, you have a talent for pulling off the impossible." B'Elanna was banging her fist on the doors.
"Warning: warp core breach in ONE minute."
The staff on the bridge was doing their own bit of hoping. The consensus was that surely Janeway and Seven hadn't survived the Delta Quadrant only to be done in by an injector that refused to close.
The few people left outside engineering were doing their own version of hoping and praying, while the Klingon continued to grumble.
"Warning: warp core breach in THirty SECONDS."
"Come on, come on " the captain grabbed the last set of chips as Seven headed quickly down to the first level where the console for the warp core was located.
"Kathryn?" Seven queried.
"Almost, Seven, just give me a few more seconds." She requested as she bypassed the last damaged relay.
"A few more seconds is about all we have." The younger woman reminded her as she waited to punch in the sequence that would hopefully stop the breach.
"Warning: warp core breach in TEN SECONDS."
"Kathryn, I don't mean to hurry you but it will take me a second or two to input the command."
"Warning: warp core breach in FIVE SECONDS."
"Now, Seven." The captain slammed the tray of computer chips closed.
"Warning: warp core breach in THREE, TWO..."
"Warp containment stabilized." The computer announced and everyone on the ship breathed a sigh of relief.
"Janeway to Torres."
"Torres here, Captain."
"B'Elanna, I'll gladly give you your engine room now," she chuckled, "since it's a mess in here."
The chief engineer smiled. "I'm not surprised, Captain, you do tend to leave a certain amount of destruction in your wake."
Laughter was heard though the open link followed by a loud explosion.
"Captain?" No answer. "Captain Janeway, respond." Still only silence. "Torres to Seven what's going on?" No answer from either. "Computer, override seal on engine room door Torres six gamma four."
"Unable to comply."
"Bridge to Torres, what's happening down there? Sensors show a large section of EPS conduits blew out and neither the Captain nor Dr. Hansen is answering hails."
"I'm trying to get in there now, Torres out." She opened the panel to try a manual override on the main door to engineering, but that also failed. "Computer, what's the status of Captain Janeway and Seven of Nine?"
"Captain Janeway and Seven of Nine are located on the first level of engineering. More detailed scans are not possible at this time."
Torres hit her comm badge and tried again. "Seven Seven, open this Kahless damned door."
Seven came to lying on her back. She reached up and touched the spot on her forehead that was pounding in rhythm with her heartbeat and felt the stickiness that she knew to be blood.
"Kathryn " she crawled the few feet that separated her from the too still form of the captain as Lt. Torres' voice came over her comm badge to remind her that no one could get in to help them.
"Computer, disengage seal, authorization Seven of Nine beta three two eight."
Torres ran into the room, followed by a handful of others, as soon as the doors parted. "Torres to sickbay, medical emergency in main engineering, hurry." She knelt beside Seven who was kneeling beside an unconscious Janeway who was lying on her side at the base of the warp core.
"She has a heartbeat, but her breathing is extremely labored." Seven observed with a catch in her throat.
Torres swallowed hard and diverted her attention to the other immediate concern. "Don't just stand there," she yelled at two of her crew, "get up there and put that fire out."
Chapter Twenty Five
In sickbay, the EMH gave the concerned parties the diagnosis and prognosis, as Dr. Collins continued to work on the patient. "Second and third degree plasma burns on thirty percent of her body, we removed several pieces of conduit that were lodged in her from the explosion, her broken ribs and cracked vertebrae have been repaired. The most serious aspect of her injuries, are the burns to her esophagus and lungs from the heated gases discharged in the explosion. Dr. Collins and I are in agreement, surprisingly, that she needs surgery to repair the damage."
"How long before she fully recovers?" Viktor asked.
"Knowing the Captain she'll demand to be released as soon as she regains consciousness after the surgery. But it will be several days before she'll be able to resume command. I'll probably have to confine her to quarters since I know we won't be able to keep her here more than a day or two, but she'll need someone with her most of the time. It will take her a while to regain her strength and to be able to use her voice again."
The Doctor's prediction of an uncooperative captain was of course correct. She left sickbay the morning after her surgery, though she did promise, under duress, that she would remain in her quarters with a babysitter, as she put it, for the next several days. She was also under orders not to use her voice for the next 24 hours, which ended up not being too much of a hardship considering she slept most of them.
The next day she was sitting in her chair in her living room questioning the commander. "How are the repairs coming?"
"Most systems are back online, engineering is still cleaning up a few things." He was unsuccessfully trying to ignore the captain's irate sister glaring at him.
"No doubt, considering the mess in there." She swallowed the juice wishing it was coffee, but both doctors had nixed her caffeine intake and Phoebe was following their instructions to the letter.
"That last explosion was caused by a small plasma fire that had started from a ruptured EPS relay which in turn caused a couple of gel packs to rupture, which caused the explosion that blew the bulkhead," he reported.
"I guess we can be thankful it waited until we got the core shutdown."
"Um, I've asked Lt. Torres to train me I need to learn the systems in engineering. I should've been the one down there trying to fix the problem, not you, Captain."
She leaned back in her chair and studied the commander. He was young; in fact this was his first posting as first office that wasn't in a training roll. She also knew from Seven that B'Elanna was kicking herself, taking responsibility for the injures that she had suffered. "Commander Nar, I appreciate the fact that you want to learn more and with time you will but you have to remember that I've been on starships for 25 years." She grinned at him. "You also need to learn that I'm not your conventional commanding officer. I take great pride in the fact that my Vulcan Chief of Security says that I live to make his life more difficult."
Viktor laughed, "I'm quickly learning just that fact. The captains I've served with have been content to spend 99.9% of their command sitting in the big chair or in their ready room. I've never seen anyone as hands on as you, even Picard, and only heard about a few throughout the history of the 'fleet that could compare to you."
"One more thing to keep in mind, before my sister throws you out of here," she had seen Phoebe purposely heading towards them, "you can memorize each and every tech manual out there, but the greatest asset you can employee in a time of crisis, is your ingenuity, your deductive reasoning and your imagination. Also there is no substitute for experience."
He thought for a minute, "So what you're telling me is all the physics classes at the Academy were just the instructors tormenting us."
"Ooh, I still have nightmares about some of those classes," she grimaced. "I nearly got thrown out of my astrophysics class my senior year for arguing with the professor."
"For what?" Phoebe asked. She couldn't imagine her sister doing anything to jeopardize her graduation from that particular institution.
"It was my senior year and the class had gotten sidetracked and was discussing massive compact halo objects. My junior honors thesis was about a new hypothesis concerning their origins let's just say the professor wasn't very open minded on the subject."
"What are halo objects on second thought I probably don't want you to answer that." Phoebe said.
"You know," Viktor said, "your paper is on the mandatory reading list now. In fact it was the subject of the debate final my senior year."
"Which side won?" the captain asked.
"The side that debated for your theory. You ought to read the transcript, it was very interesting."
"Okay," Phoebe interrupted them, "you have talked more than you should and it's time for your lunch anyway."
Kathryn had reluctantly accepted her fate of having her sister with her during the day and her mother and Seven splitting the evening and overnight. Her injury had postponed her talk with Mark, but fortunately Phoebe had kept his visits to a minimum the times he had stopped by the past couple of days.
It was the second night after she had returned to her quarters from sickbay that she awoke in a cold sweat, sitting up and breathing hard. "Computer, lights, one quarter."
It didn't take but a few seconds for her mother to enter the bedroom. "Honey, what's wrong? Are you in pain?"
"No, Mom, I it's just a bad dream. That's all; I'm okay."
Gretchen sat down on the edge of the bed and brushed the damp hair off her daughter's forehead. "Do you want me to stay with you until you get back to sleep? I could sing you a song like I used to do when you or Phoebe woke up from a nightmare."
Kathryn chuckled. "That would certainly make a good story going around the ship, the Captain having her mother sing her back to sleep after a nightmare. I'm afraid that wouldn't go over to well. I appreciate the thought though."
"Kathryn Keagan Janeway, that's a load of hogwash and you know it."
"Ooh, now you're channeling Aunt Martha, scary," she smiled at her mother. "But you did take my mind off the dream."
Gretchen turned serious. "Do you want to talk about it?"
Kathryn scooted back against the head of the bed, her pillow against her back. "It's strange not like the nightmares I normally have." She realized what she'd said when she saw her mother's grimace. "Sorry."
Gretchen patted her hand. "It's okay, go ahead."
"Most of my dreams are usually very disjointed all over the place and they're always from my perspective, I'm seeing them through my eyes. But this this was very clear, very precise and I was watching myself and the others in the dream."
"Maybe what you've just been through has something to do with the difference."
"Possibly, but I was back on Voyager and what I was seeing was like a memory it was so exact, but it never happened." She shook her head trying to dislodge the images running through her head.
"Since you don't want me to sing to you, how do you normally get back to sleep?" Her mother asked.
"I don't, I get up, have coffee and go to work. But I don't think I'll get away with doing that this time."
The next night, it happened again. The same dream, except this time it progressed a little further than it had the night before. With the same result, she woke up drenched with sweat, sitting up and breathing hard.
This continued for several weeks, each night the dream progressed, adding more disturbing images after reliving the previous ones. Dr. Collins had accused the captain of not following doctor's orders since it seemed like she had not completely recovered from her injuries the way she should have.
The minute Kathryn had admitted to the nightmares, she regretted it. The doctor had insisted she talk to the counselor about them, which was why she was now sitting in the counselor's office staring at her.
"Captain, I assure you that nothing you say will leave this office." Roxana Gazsi was one half Betazoid and like her counterpart on the Enterprise, she was empathic but not telepathic. She was a short woman with short dark hair and black eyes. She had served on two ships prior to her being given this assignment and had dealt with stubborn commanding officers both times; although Kathryn Janeway was taking stubbornness to new heights.
"Counselor, I realize I'm being difficult and I apologize, but it's very hard for me to open up. I learned to counsel myself for seven years, it isn't easy to change that overnight."
"I really do understand. In fact it might be easier for you if we try a different type of exercise. I want you to, other than your personal logs, try keeping a journal. Record your dreams and your responses to them and bring them in for me to study. It's a tad bit impersonal but it should be less traumatic for you."
"All right, maybe that would be easier," she agreed.
She spent several hours late that afternoon in her quarters recording the parts of the dream she had so far experienced. In the process of recounting it, she discovered a few things that she had previously missed. The dream was covering a time period, she could easily distinguish days and even months that passed during the dream. She was so involved; she almost forgot she had promised to meet Seven for dinner in the mess hall. She threw on her uniform jacket and zipped it as she entered the turbolift. "Deck four."
She entered the mess hall and walked towards Seven who had already been joined by Gretchen, Phoebe, Tom, B'Elanna and Tuvok. Her raised eyebrow was responded to by Seven's shrug of her shoulders. It was their subtle way of communicating; Kathryn's 'I thought we were dining alone', followed by Seven's 'It is what you get for being late'.
Polite conversation gave way to stories from Voyager's trip at Phoebe's prodding for more information. After dinner, Gretchen leaned over and quietly asked her daughter about the nightmares, but not quiet enough for Seven not to overhear.
Which lead to a three way whispered conversation, which was noticed by the other occupants of the table who fell silent. "Is this a private conversation or can the rest of us join in?" Phoebe asked.
"Yes and no," was the simultaneous answer from the three involved.
Then the captain gave a vague answer hoping to blow it off. "I was just mentioning a strange dream I've been having, nothing important." She had failed to remember her sister's preoccupation will anything that might possibly have anything to do with supernatural or spiritual.
"Ooh, strange how?" Phoebe perked up.
Kathryn opened her mouth to dismiss her sister's question, but rethought her reluctance. In recording her dream, it had almost become abstract; she could almost convince herself she was a character playing a part.
Seven was not happy to learn of Kathryn's avoidance in telling her of the dreams, though Seven knew of the older woman's habit of being reluctant to show any weakness.
"Maybe I should talk about it; you might be able to help me figure out why I keep having this particular dream." She saw the surprised looks. "I know, completely out of character for me, but it's driving me crazy," she grudgingly admitted. "Let's go back to my quarters, it's more private."
B'Elanna, Tom and Phoebe settled on the couch, Gretchen in the recliner, Tuvok and Seven in chairs that they procured from the dining area. Kathryn opened a bottle of wine for those that wanted it and replicated tea for Seven and Tuvok. Lastly she brought the chair from her desk and joined them.
Kathryn took several minutes to organize her thoughts. "It started the second night after I returned to my quarters after repairing the warp core."
Seven realized that was probably the only reason Gretchen knew about it, she had been staying with Kathryn at the time.
"You say 'the' dream." Tuvok observed. "Is it the same dream repeating?"
"Yes and it progresses a little further each time I have it, almost like I was rereading the same book, each night, only adding a few pages to each reading."
"Do you think it might be a suppressed memory?" the Vulcan asked.
"If it is, it would have to be suppressed by the entire Voyager crew, which would mean it was some kind of temporal anomaly, which gives me a headache every time I consider it," the captain admitted.
"Could it be something that happened on the holodecks when the Hirogen took over the ship?" Tom suggested.
"I don't think so, this happened over a longer period of time months actually, or so it seems."
"Who or what are the, what'd you call them, Hirogen?" Gretchen asked since no one had mentioned this species to her before.
"Ugh," B'Elanna said in disgust, "they're a horrible species. They called themselves hunters and everything was their prey. They displayed the bones from their victims as trophies."
"The first one I encountered wanted my intestines." Seven stated matter-of-factly.
"It was the third time we encountered them," Tom picked up the story, "that they took over Voyager and tried to turn the entire ship into a holodeck. They implanted a neural interface in most of the crew that made us believe we were the characters we were portraying in the different simulations. The Doctor and Harry working together were able to block the interface in Seven who in turn was able to access the control panel in the holodeck. The Doctor was only able to block the Captain's before he was caught."
"It was a good thing he picked the Captain first, I believe she was about to kill me." Seven stated.
"I never did thank him for his timing." Janeway remarked, looking at the blue-eyed blonde. "That gun might've been 20th century, but believe me they packed quite a punch." She absently rubbed her leg where she had been shot. "It was a madhouse until we got the rest of the interfaces blocked."
"And a mess," B'Elanna added. "It took months to put Voyager back together again."
There was a moment or two of contemplation before it was broken by Seven, "Your dream, Captain."
"Yes, well, the dream starts the day we brought the Astrometrics Lab online. And in the dream, a handful of us were in the lab and I distinctly remember the Doctor going on and on with one of his speeches, but I'm also aware of the fact that in reality, we were all on the bridge when the lab was activated."
The startled expression on Seven's face stopped her cold. "What is it, Seven? Do you remember anything about this?" Kathryn asked.
"Yes we detoured around Krenim space," the nods from the involved parties told her they knew what she was talking about. "Well, after my regeneration period that night, I found a 36.8 second gap in my memories. So I accessed the ship's computer and found the same blank spot. Then I reviewed my cortical node to find out what happened during that time period and why I had no recollection. I found the suppressed memory and what had happened."
"So it was a time travel incident?" Tuvok asked. "How long was the actual period of time that the rest of us do not remember?"
Seven saw the miserable look on Janeway's face and wondered how much of the incident she remembered. "It was a total of 257 days."
"Kahless." B'Elanna exclaimed.
Chapter Twenty Six
"Is someone gonna let the rest of us in on what happened?" Tom asked as he looked back and forth between the only two people in the room that seemed to remember.
"It " the captain stopped and looked at her mother and sister. "It's not a pleasant "
"I'm sure it's not, Kathryn," her mother stated. "Everything worked out okay, obviously, so quit trying to keep us in the dark about what you and your crew," she made eye contact with the others in the room that knew the things, good and bad, that Voyager had experienced, "have been through."
Phoebe leaned back and crossed her arms, letting her sister know she didn't plan on going anywhere either.
"All right, I'll go through the dream and Seven can fill in things I wasn't witness to. I'm not sure I'm seeing the entire period of time, but anyway. The incident we all remember is being warned away from an area of space by a Krenim ship that stated the area was in dispute, but in the dream or memory, the area was Zahl territory and we had been welcomed by them. We were inside their space and had beamed aboard one of their representatives then threatened by a Krenim ship that was no match for Voyager. Some kind of wave hit us and the Zahl vanished, but it was like he hadn't been there, we didn't realize he was just gone. The Krenim ship suddenly became a formidable warship and started firing on us."
"I remember Krenim space, but I don't remember the Zahl." Tuvok stated.
"That's understandable; we learned later on that a chroniton weapon was being used to 'change' time." Seven explained.
Kathryn continued. "During the next few months, the Krenim warships kept attacking us, Voyager was damaged, their torpedoes went through our shields like they weren't even there. We lost phasers, torpedo launchers were offline, power relays severed, no turbolifts and we lost sickbay and most of deck five when it collapsed. Seven discovered an unexploded torpedo in a Jefferies tube and while she was able to discover its temporal variance, which was what allowed them to penetrate our shields, it exploded and Tuvok, you were blinded."
"It was my fault, Commander," Seven stated. "You ordered me to leave but I was insistent on discovering the variance so we could adjust our shields."
Tuvok raised an eyebrow. "I am sure that my blindness was a small price to pay for an answer that allowed us to better protect ourselves. And I assume that since the conflict lasted over 200 days, that a solution was discovered."
"Yes, it took a while, but Seven was able to change the deflector and shields to account for the temporal variance, but we were heavily damaged by that time. Replicators were badly damaged, and we were on emergency rations, environmental controls continued to fail, something like seven or eight decks were uninhabitable. That's when the 'weapons ship' appeared. As it scanned us, Tom and Chakotay were taken from the bridge. I'm sorry, Tom, but I have no knowledge of what happened to the two of you for the months you were aboard that ship." She looked to Seven.
"I do not possess that awareness either, I am sorry." Seven provided.
"The Captain of the ship introduced himself as Annorax of the Krenim Imperium. The weapon he was using to change time was a chroniton particle beam that didn't damage in the traditional sense, it vanquished entire civilizations. He tried to 'push' Voyager out of the time line; we managed to get away by traveling at warp eight, but lost most of the outer hull of the ship in the process."
"Why did he care about Voyager?" Gretchen curiously asked. "Was he just crazy?"
"He sounds more like a megalomaniac to me." Tom stated. "Maybe he thought he was a god."
"Voyager, he said, interfered with his 'mission', whatever that was. The best we could figure, the ship existed out of time. It kept changing the time line but the ship itself was never affected. Our best guess as to what was going on was a quasiality paradox." The captain stood up and walked over to the viewport, staring out at the stars, though not really seeing them. "By this time, more than half the ship had been destroyed, life support was nearly gone I was living every Captain's worst nightmare, their ship slowly being destroyed around them, watching their crew die one by one."
When the captain remained silent, Seven continued, "The Captain called the crew together and ordered all but the senior staff to abandon ship."
"They would've stayed," B'Elanna stated with certainty in her voice, "if you had asked them."
"I couldn't by that point asking them to stay would be asking them to die. And they had already given up more than a crew should have to give." She moved back to her chair, standing behind it with her hands resting on the back. "The seven of us that remained, Tuvok, Seven, B'Elanna, the Doctor, Harry, Neelix and myself had to take refuge in a class nine nebula where their sensors couldn't locate us to concentrate on repairs. We were still going to try to rescue Tom and Chakotay; they had been gone for a couple of months by this time. Poor Neelix had nothing to feed us but emergency rations, he tried to purée them and added spices to change the taste." She smiled and looked at Seven. "You of all people "
"Told him it tasted vile, which it did. Taste was no longer irrelevant." She continued, "You and the Doctor were arguing almost constantly by this point, about your health or lack there of. He even came to me after you and Ensign Kim had fixed the leak that had allowed the gases from the nebula to penetrate the ship. He wanted me to 'talk some sense into you', was the way he put it."
"Oh, yes, the Doctor. I'm afraid without the rest of the crew to worry about; he decided to concentrate on me. We had a 'disagreement' in the middle of the bridge."
"I know, he told me you and Mr. Kim had spent too much time in the gas and your lungs had been burned, and you had refused treatment."
"I didn't refuse treatment, I told him I couldn't afford to spend two days resting, he gave me trioxin for it."
"A treatment that he said was dangerous and that you had ordered him to give you. He knew that you were pushing yourself harder and longer than you were pushing the rest of us."
"And I was sure that was not going to be the last disagreement we had." Her thoughts returned to the next 'chapter' of the dream. "We had been through about six months of this by now and I was ready for it to be over. We left the nebula in search of allies. I knew that if we were going to be successful in defeating Annorax and rescuing Tom and Chakotay, we needed help. Unfortunately, the warp engines were still offline and we ran into micrometeoroids; and with no emergency power for the deflector, they were beginning to erode what was left of the hull. I headed to deflector control; there was a fire but the meteoroids were starting to buckle the nacelle pylon and if we lost that, we would be adrift and at anyone's mercy."
Everyone was staring at the captain until B'Elanna, knowing her all too well, stated, "So you went in."
"I um," Tom cleared his throat, "don't suppose it was just a little fire."
"It was not." Seven answered. "It took Lt. Torres and I several minutes to put enough of the fire out to get to the Captain who was unconscious."
"The plasma burns of your resent injury, in all probability are what has triggered your memories of the temporal anomaly." Tuvok concluded. "That is assuming you came away from the other episode also with burns."
Kathryn looked thoughtful. "You could be right; the Doctor said by the time they got me out, I had third degree burns on 60% of my body." Oops, she realized too late how that statement would be received by her family.
Phoebe was looking at her sister like she was crazy, Gretchen looked a little ill, Tom looked a bit squeamish himself, the other three didn't look at all surprised that she had thrown herself into a life threatening situation.
"This led to the last 'discussion' the Doctor and I had. He was able to heal the burns, then revived me and probably wished he hadn't." She looked at Seven. "Did he say anything to you?"
Seven shook her head, "He did not."
"He ordered me to stay in 'sickbay' and when I refused; he went through the formality of relieving me of command. Said I was suffering from Traumatic Stress Syndrome "
A sharp intake of breath from the assembled people interrupted her. "I can't believe he had the balls to do that." B'Elanna blurted out.
"A crude but legitimate statement, Lt. Torres," Tuvok added, "and I can not believe you would submit to his decision."
"I didn't. I ask him how he planned to implement that particular protocol since Tuvok had no security team, the brigs had been destroyed and internal forcefields were offline. I told him he'd have a helluva hard time keeping me confined and that he had better grab a phaser because before I'd give up command, he'd have to shoot me. He said it would be on my record and I'd be facing a court-martial. I told him that would be a small price to pay after what we'd been through and if we made it home I'd be happy to face the music." She sat back down and continued.
"A month or so after that, we received a coded message that turned out to be from you, Tom. By then we managed to get a few allies to join us, they were as concerned about stopping Annorax as we were. You had sent us the weapons ship's location and said you would try to take the temporal core offline so it would be vulnerable to conventional weapons. I ordered the rest of you to the other ships to help them bring their temporal shielding online."
"Let me guess," B'Elanna stated, "you were going to remain on Voyager."
Janeway smiled, "You also objected then, Lieutenant. You said there was barely enough of Voyager left to get there, much less wage a war. I told you there was flight left in her and reminded you of the old adage, the Captain always goes down with the ship."
"You don't mean that." Phoebe blurted out.
"I also did not understand." Seven acknowledged Phoebe's statement. "When I looked at you, I knew it was in all probability the last time I would see you, and I can now say with certainty that I was heartbroken by that fact. Yet at the same time, I admired your courage, you tenacity and your belief in yourself and your ship."
"I can not believe I did not object that you wanted to remain on board." Tuvok stated.
Janeway laughed. "Oh, you did, old friend, you did. You were quick to point out that in Voyager's damaged state; the probability that I would survive an armed conflict was at best marginal. I replied that Voyager had done too much for us just to abandon her now. That she needed one of us."
"I have never understood the human compulsion to emotionally attach themselves to inanimate objects." He raised an eyebrow, which was the only irritation he allowed himself to show.
"Yes, you were quick to point that out then too."
"And I'm sure you were just as quick to contradict me," her tactical officer stated.
"Voyager was our home, part of our family, I felt as close to her as I did to any other member of my crew. Hell, Tuvok, I talked to her all the time and some times she talked back. I wasn't going to leave her."
They stared at one another for a few seconds. "I would respect that decision now, so I assume I did then, as well."
"You did you even hugged me." She gave him a sad smile. "But then you knew, as did Seven, that it was the last time we would see each other."
The captain continued, "We both knew that Voyager had been a thorn in Annorax's side for months now, he couldn't find us; we had interfered with his modifications to the timeline "
"And you knew he would target you. That's the real reason you sent the rest of us to the other ships." B'Elanna stated.
"You were always willing to sacrifice yourself for the rest of us." Tom added.
"You had a month alone on Voyager before the final battle," Seven had wondered about this since her memories had surfaced, "how did you occupy your time?"
"You mean besides keeping the impulse drive, deflector and shields running? Remember I had to crawl through the Jefferies tubes to get between the bridge and engineering and that took several hours each way." She could see Seven wasn't going to let her off the hook that easily. She walked to the replicator and ordered a mug of coffee. "I tried to think of all the good things that had happened in the past three and a half years meeting Kes and Neelix, removing you from the Collective, even the Doctor surpassing his programming and becoming so much more than anybody ever thought he could. The merging of the two crews that had once been enemies into working together, and I said goodbye, to the crew, my friends and my family. I wrote letters, stupid I know since they would never make it back, but it helped me order my thoughts. And I prayed to whatever deity wanted to listen, that someone would eventually make it back and tell our story, so people would know of the strength and courage the crew exhibited in the face of so many hardships and that they would be honored and remembered for their sacrifices."
The silence stretched into several minutes before Tom broke it with a question. "How did time reset?"
"Do you remember?" Seven asked when the captain seemed to zone out a bit.
"Yes, I do now. Two ships were destroyed before the temporal core was disabled. At least you and Chakotay were able to be rescued," she told Tom. "Their conventional weapons damaged another allied ship. It lost control and came across Voyager's bow and took out part of the bridge's hull and the helm in the process. The containment field was barely holding and I knew it would probably fail in a matter of minutes." She had walked to the viewports and stared out like she could see the battle taking place. "I was able to make it back to the command console and set a collision course for the weapons ship. I was hoping that between the matter/anti-matter that was left in the warp core and the few remaining torpedoes, that the explosion would destroy the weapons ship."
"Kahless," B'Elanna exclaimed. "How did you know that would reset time?"
"I didn't I hoped it would," she admitted. "That's why I told the other ship to take their temporal shields down."
Seven moved over to Kathryn's side and placed her hand on her shoulder. "I had to tell Commander Tuvok everything that was happening. It was a very distressing thing for me to watch much less have to describe."
She placed her hand over Seven's and felt the tingles travel up her arm and through her body. A slight shiver from Seven let Janeway know the Borg felt the connection between them also. "It wasn't a pleasant experience watching it come at me centimeter by centimeter either, I assure you."
Silence for a long while after the captain's statement, until Phoebe got up and paced. "I don't understand any of you. Why would anybody want to do this? Are all of you so willing to go to your deaths?"
Tuvok responded. "It is illogical to think that doing 'this' is automatically going to result in death any more so than any other occupation. We are trained to respond to all types of situations that we may find ourselves in. I can assure you that Captain Janeway does not have a death wish, even though she is at times, an unconventional and unorthodox commanding officer, but that is what makes her such a formidable leader. I have known her for over 20 years and I have and would again; put my life in her hands at any given moment of any given day. In returning Voyager with most of its crew, she has done what very few, if any, other Starfleet officer could have done. And as to the fact of willingly doing this, I will point out that you willingly chose to reside on this ship."
"I couldn't have said that better myself." Tom grinned as he replied.
"Why, Tuvok, that is the most emotional thing I've ever heard you say." Janeway teased him to lighten the mood.
"I was merely stating a fact, Captain, as you know Vulcans do not say emotional things," his eyebrow climbed up his forehead.
Janeway knew, as well as she knew her own name, that the raised eyebrow from her friend was as good as a smirk. She removed the grin from her face. "Whatever you say, Tuvok."
"You people are impossible." Phoebe gave up and sat back down.
Gretchen clasped her youngest daughter's hand. Phoebe was getting a crash course in understanding her sister. Gretchen at least would've expected no less from her eldest. That didn't mean she liked the dangers that lurked around her, but she did know to expect them. "Well, I don't know about the rest of you, but I'm exhausted." She stood up and wrapped her arms around the captain, stating, "Mother's privileged". She held on tightly for a minute, as much for herself as for her daughter's benefit.
The others followed suit, heading out of Janeway's quarters towards their own, until Seven was the only one left. She slowly walked over to the shorter woman, moving into her personal space. Leaning down, she kissed her with all the love and emotion she was feeling. "I want to stay with you tonight." Seven stated as they kiss ended.
Kathryn cupped Seven's face in her hands, "I want that too." She circled one arm around her back and guided her into the bedroom. Standing beside the end of the bed, they once again turned to face one another.
"Are you sure, Kathryn? You wanted to take things slowly."
"Yes, I'm sure." She answered as she unzipped the solid teal uniform tunic, ran her hands up the front of Seven's body to her shoulders and pushed the material off. She smiled at the slight shudder that ran through the woman standing in front of her.
Seven understood enough about human emotions, at least about this human's emotions, to realize that Kathryn needed to set the pace of what was happening between them this night. Her willingness to relinquish control to the captain would hopefully extinguish the last small amount of doubt and fear Kathryn was harboring.
As her upper body was bared, Seven was again tempted to cover the implants that remained, though they were fewer in number than the last time the two women had made love.
"Don't cover yourself, love." The captain moved closer and ran her hands over the skin that was no longer hidden from view or touch. "When was this done?"
"Three point four months after our return. They determined that my human physiology had reasserted itself to the point that the implants covering my abdominal area could be removed. The Doctor is gradually reducing the scarring." She explained as the hands moved over her sensitive skin, released the closure on her pants and slowly pushed them down her legs.
'God, I love these endless legs.' Kathryn thought as she knelt before them, placing a kiss on each exposed thigh then requested, "Sit down, love."
Seven was glad to comply since her legs were feeling very unsteady at the present time. She managed a fairly graceful quarter turn and perched on the edge of the mattress. She lifted each foot as she was prompted to do so. Her boots, pants and undergarment now discarded, she sat before the appreciative eyes completely disrobed.
"You are so beautiful." Blue-grey eyes ran the length of the long body before settling on their blue counterparts.
"I am not. There are too many "
Janeway placed her fingers across the protesting lips. "You are to me, Seven, more beautiful than anyone I've ever seen."
A blush covered the fair complexion. She grasped the captain's hand and kissed each finger. "Thank you, Kathryn. You are very beautiful to me also, both inside and out."
Janeway's smile lit up her face. "Ta' gra' agam duit."
"I love you, too, Kathryn."
"I see you've been brushing up on the Irish language."
"A few phrases, yes." Seven followed the captain's instructions and scooted back in the bed. "May I see you also?" then watched as the red and black tunic was discarded along with the shirt, tank top and bra.
Janeway watched Seven watch her. The desire in the blue eyes was plan to see, along with a little surprise. The captain's body was different from the last time Seven had seen her. Though there had always been a surprising underlying strength in the compact form, what was on display now was the result of months of physical workouts and training. And from Seven's response, she liked what she saw.
The tip of a tongue poked out and licked dry lips, as boots and the remaining garments were removed. Seven had always been strong because of her Borg implants; she could lift a grown man as easily as she did a PADD without having to worry about muscle growth. But if they looked this good on Kathryn, she might have to see about developing a few of her own. She continued to watch as her lover's eyes traveled slowly up Seven's body.
Janeway's eyes paused on a neatly trimmed thatch of dark blonde hair that already glistened with excitement, before continuing their journey. Before she thought about it; she was crawling on hands and knees, her body hovering over that of her lover's. Lowering herself, their legs entwined, skin touching skin along their lengths, their lips meeting; god how she had missed this. She had gone years without physical companionship until the night she and Seven had been together and from then until this moment. Her body, mind and soul had cried out for the woman she now held. "Annika," she whispered as she moved her lips across her jaw and down to the exposed neck.
Her human name was said with such reverence it almost brought tears to her eyes. That this woman who was revered by so many, should feel the same way about her, made her feel so loved and special. "Kathryn." Seven rocked her lower body, pushing against the leg that was between hers, and felt the corresponding movement rubbing her thigh. "Please I need you inside."
Janeway rolled onto her side and Seven followed. Kathryn's fingers once again traveling down newly revealed skin and across the soft patch of hair, dipping into even softer folds. "Open for me, love."
Immediately Seven bent her top leg, placing her foot flat on the bed, granting access. "Oh god," Janeway moaned as her fingers slipped through the wet heat and paused before entering. "Together, Annika," she mirrored her lover's pose.
Seven wasted no time, as her fingers traced the same path down the compact body. Together they slid into each other, their eyes never losing contact. The rhythm they established was slow and deep, thumbs brushing around and against each other's clitoris, stimulating the bundle of nerves and moving them both towards orgasm.
Their climaxes hit within seconds of each other, their bodies arching towards one another, muscles capturing and holding fingers trapped inside, breathing coming in pants and gasps. As muscles relaxed, fingers pulled out slowly, both regretting the loss of touching each other so intimately.
It was then that Kathryn noticed the tears spilling down Seven's face. "Annika, what is it? What's wrong?" She absently wiped at the moisture.
"I " Seven cleared her throat, "sometimes have nightmares about watching you die, Voyager hitting the weapons ship and being destroyed."
"Oh, Annika, I'm sorry I brought it all up again." She worked her left arm under and around Seven's and rolled over on her back, bringing the taller woman with her.
Seven settled on her side with her head resting on Kathryn's shoulder and the strong arms holding her securely.
"Sleep now, Annika, I'll be here with you, I won't let you go. I love you."
"I love you, too, Kathryn, I think in some ways I always have."
Eyebrows shot up in surprise at the statement, but Seven was already starting to doze off. She stayed awake for a while longer, content in holding the younger woman to her, before surrendering into slumber herself.
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