B'Elanna was in a bad mood when she stalked into engineering at the start of her shift. The engineering crew looked at one another and swallowed hard: not thirty seconds ago, Seven of Nine had come into engineering and headed straight for the chief's office, letting herself in to wait. The engineering crew knew their chief, and this was quite possibly the last thing B'Elanna Torres would want first thing in the morning; a meeting with Seven.
Meanwhile, in the Chief Engineers office
'I don't believe it!'
'What is it, B'Elanna?'
'You managed to get holodeck time for us!' B'Elanna's face split into a huge grin and she practically leapt into the ex-drones arms. 'I asked everyone I knew, and no-one would let me trade how did you do it?' B'Elanna asked, looking up at her girlfriend.
Seven, however, seemed reluctant to answer until B'Elanna grasped her chin in strong fingers and gently forced the ex-drone to make eye contact. The half-Klingon recognised the embarrassed look in Seven's eyes and said softly, 'What did you do?'
'I offered to work ensign Mortimer's shifts for a week ' the blonde said softly.
'Seven!' B'Elanna gasped. 'You didn't have to do that! We would have found some privacy somewhere else I mean, people will find out eventually '
'Where, B'Elanna?' Seven asked, her tone reasonable. 'Cargo bay two is not private; neither is the mess hall, and you keep complaining that you feel like someone is watching us whenever we try to be intimate in your quarters.'
B'Elanna had the good grace to look vaguely embarrassed. 'Well I do,' she mumbled. 'It freaks me out.'
'And that is why I offered to work ensign Mortimer's shifts,' Seven said. 'You seem to become 'freaked out' every time we try and become intimate.'
B'Elanna opened her mouth to respond, and then her eyes widened. 'Seven do you think that has anything to do with you?' When Seven didn't respond immediately, B'Elanna sighed. 'How could you think that?'
'I serve as a reminder of the Borg. I have seen the way some people look at me and-'
B'Elanna held up a hand, cutting Seven off mid-sentence. 'You obviously haven't seen the way /I/ look at you, Seven,' she said, stepping into the blondes' personal space once more. 'You're beautiful. Don't you know that by now?' She asked, running a hand gently over Seven's cheek.
'I ' The blonde stuttered, revelling in the feel of skin on skin. Her eyes widened as B'Elanna gave her a heart stopping smile, and then ever so slowly started to lean forward with the intention of kissing the ex-drone.
Their lips were millimetres apart when, all of a sudden, a bright sparkly light filled the office, and a contrite voice said, 'We'll have none of /that/, thank you! Not while I'm around, sweet-pea!'
In a flash of pink glitter, B'Elanna and Seven disappeared. All that was left in the Chief Engineers office was a smattering of pretty sequins.
'Cap ! Captain!' The out of breath ensign tumbled out of the turbo-lift and out onto the bridge, catching hold of a console to keep herself upright.
'What is it, Ensign?' Janeway asked, moving up to her and resting a hand on the upset woman's shoulder.
'Captain! Lieutenant Torres and Seven have disappeared!' The woman finally managed.
'What do you mean?' Tuvok came out from behind the security station and helped the woman to stand straight.
'Well they were in Torres's office, and they were in there for a really long time none of us wanted to be the one to see what was taking so long ' She stared apologetically at the captain, 'you know how they can get, ma'am.' She said.
Janeway smiled wryly, hiding the fear she felt underneath her captains veneer. 'Yes, I can imagine,' she said.
'We scanned her office,' the ensign continued. 'And we found this ' She opened her tightly clenched fist and Janeway was surprised to find a small handful of pink dust being deposited in her palm.
'Have you tested it?' She asked, looking slightly worried; could it be toxic?
'Yes ma'am,' the ensign said, looking uncomftable. 'It's glitter, ma'am.'
'Glitter?' Janeway repeated, looking at Tuvok, who merely raised an eyebrow.
'Yes ma'am. Plain old ordinary glitter.'
'WHO'S GLITTER ARE YOU CALLING PLAIN, MISSY??' A voice boomed.
Janeway stood slowly and looked around the bridge. 'Did everyone else here that?' She asked softly.
There was a chorus of 'yeahs,' and Tuvok nodded.
'Of course they did, sweetheart; they're not deaf, you know.' The voice said, sounding petulant.
Janeway turned so that she was facing the centre of the room, and drew herself up to her full height, a move that drew a disembodied snigger from the air. Ignoring it, she said, 'Are you the entity that took my crew?'
'I didn't take them, hunny-buns, I simply removed them for your own good, don'tcha know. Can't have any of that filthy, filthy behaviour, nononono. What would people say?'
'If we've offended you in some way, perhaps we could talk about it?' Janeway hedged, still looking for some visible sign of the voice, which giggled.
'Ah, diplomacy! Great moral resonance but doesn't do much good for the ratings,' it said.
Janeway raised an eyebrow at the weird comment but let it slide, instead choosing to say, 'Would you mind telling us your name? Or perhaps why you are here?'
'Honey, I'm always here,' the voice sniffed. 'You think Disposable Ensigns just appear out of thin air?'
Janeway looked indignant. 'I'll have you know that none of the ensigns or any other crewmembers aboard this vessel are disposable!'
'Blah, blah, blah, whatever,' the voice said, effectively dismissing Janeway's comment in a bored tone. 'That's not the point sugar lump. Would you rather it was one of you? Never mind, I don't really care. The point is, where do you think they came from? The replicators? Does Nelix grow them, perhaps?'
'Listen, we have honoured ever crewmember who has ever laid down their life for this ship!' Janeway snarled. 'I will not have you insinuating such things!'
'Every one, hey?' The voice replied. 'What were their names?'
Janeway opened her mouth to answer, and then her eyes widened slightly. 'Well, I-'
'We never gave them names,' the voice said, cutting her off.
'In fact, sometimes we don't bother to give them you know bits and pieces. Saves time.'
'Bits and pi-'
'Sometimes we just make them a fleshy blob with clothes and hair. We call them 'Extras', 'cause that's what they are, see? Just 'extra' crewmembers,' the voice laughed, obviously amused by it's own pun.
'/What the hell are you talking about!!/' Janeway exploded, red in the face.
'Oh, sorry sweetie. Do you know I shouldn't even be talking to you? Very much against the rules, yes indeedy. But I couldn't stand by and have what those two were doing carry on, don'tcha know. And I definitely couldn't let the comment about the glitter slide. Yes, I think it's time I introduced myself.'
It started slowly, glitter coalescing in the middle of the bridge, accompanied by a thumping disco soundtrack. A pink light expanded across everyone, getting so bright that the Voyager crew raised their hands and covered their eyes. The glitter swirled majestically, forming a vortex in the middle of which a figure began to coalesce, roughly humanoid. As the music reached a crescendo, the light abated and the figure was revealed through the haze of pink sparkles.
'Ta da!' He cried, waving his little pink wand. 'I am ' He paused for dramatic effect 'The Overseer!'
'Ri-ight,' Janeway said very, very slowly, having to use all her diplomatic training to keep a straight face.
'The Overseer' was a man that looked completely human. In one hand, he held a sparkly wand, while the other hand was waved vigorously as he talked. Janeway looked him up and down carefully, making sure she was actually seeing what she thought she was seeing. To her right, Tom Paris sounded like he was choking as he fought laughter.
The Overseer was wearing what appeared to be a tutu of a rather garish purple material, his bandy legs ending in a pair of doc martins and a pair of gauzy wings taped to his back.
'Um do you um have a name?' Janeway managed, going purple with the effort of not laughing.
'Yes, sugar-buns, I do,' he said, smiling. 'My name is Branerus Bragerus!'
'And, um, why are you, um here?' She said, feigning a coughing fit.
He waved a hand airily and pranced up to Harry Kim, who was absolutely frozen in either terror or shock. 'I'm always here, yes yes. Always here, looking after the intrepid crew of Voyager, sweety-pie.' He winked cheekily at the ensign and then skipped merrily back towards Janeway, throwing handfuls of glitter around the bridge as he passed.
'And why did you take Seven and B'Elanna?' She asked, trying desperately to regain her mental balance.
The Overseer frowned and placed one well-manicured hand on his hip. 'Can't have none of that, nononono.'
'None of what?' Janeway asked.
'That, you know,' he pulled a face and lowered his voice to a stage whisper. '/funny business!/ What will people say, that's what I'd like to know, hmmm my little rhubarb strudel? Yes yes.'
'What will people say about what?'
Branerus rolled his eyes. 'Looks like I've done my job a little /too/ well if even you don't know what's going on, my hot little sweet potato,' he said, tapping her on the head with his pretty wand to accentuate his words. He sighed. 'Well, the main thing is, I've nipped it in the bud before anyone could be harmed!'
Janeway didn't attempt to once again ask what her was referring to, as she was sure she wouldn't get a straight answer.
'Captain!' Harry's urgent tones interrupted her thoughts as his console beeped. 'There's a vessel on approach vectors!'
'Hail them,' she commanded.
Harry did so, but the strange ship didn't respond. He put it on the view-screen, and it simply continued to approach quickly, its configuration and warp signature unfamiliar to both Harry and Tuvok.
Branerus, however, immediately seemed to recognise the ship, his face going pale, and he waved the wand at Janeway desperately as he spoke.
'Quick!' He cried, his little fairy wings vibrating with terror, 'Turn around, yes! Run away, snuggle-bunny! Run away!'
'Are this race dangerous?' Janeway asked, noting that Bragerus was shedding sequins as he paced nervously.
'Dangerous! Yes, yes!' He agreed, nodding his head vehemently. 'They want anarchy, my little lamb chop, complete and utter anarchy!' He shuddered, and the little wings curled around his body in much the same way as a dogs ears would droop. 'They are no, no, I can't even say the word '
Just then, Harry exclaimed, 'Incoming message!'
'#Voya ! You are rious dan ! repeat, serious nger!#'
'There's something wrong with the transmission, captain,' Harry reported. 'It's being blocked by something I've never seen before.'
Slowly, all eyes swivelled to Branerus, who was twirling his wand and looking sheepish.
'Are you trying to block their signal?' Janeway asked, trying to keep the growl out of her tone.
'You don't understand sugar-lump! They'll undo all of my hard work! Please captain!' He begged.
She looked at Chakotay, who shrugged, and then said, 'Will you let us talk to them?'
He bit his lip and waved the wand worriedly. 'I don't know if that's a good idea, honey-plum. They'll infect you with their ideas,' he said.
'Well can you block the transmission and our transporters?' she asked.
'No, why do you ask my little sponge cake?' He said.
'Because either you let us talk to them or I'll beam myself over to their ship.' Janeway put her hands on her hips and smiled. 'Your choice.'
He looked glum and shuffled his doc martins. 'Fine, fine,' he said. 'Just don't say I didn't warn you, yes?'
'Yes, fine,' Janeway agreed quickly. 'Harry, hail them.'
'Aye captain,' the ensign said, working his console with practised ease. 'They are responding, audio only.'
'#Voyager! Can you hear us? We're here to save you!#' A voice cried.
'This is captain Kathryn Janeway of the Federation Star-'
'#-Ship Voyager, yes, we know. Sorry captain, but we don't have time for that right now.#' The voice interrupted.
'Who are you?' Janeway asked.
'I know who they are, yes!' Branerus squeaked. 'Anarchists, the lot of them! Please, do not listen to them my little sugar puff frosted chocolate ball,' he pleaded, giving Janeway a puppy dog look.
'Who are they, Branerus?' Janeway asked the man. 'And why do they think you're a danger to us?'
'Don't make me say the words, my sweet marzipan princess, please!' He begged, but Janeway would not relent. Branerus sighed and waved his wand dejectedly. 'Fine! Fine! They're the ' he paused and swallowed hard, once again lowering his voice. 'They're the /slashers/. They want things like like realistic portrayals of life aboard a starship...they want things to have emotional resonance and not just get forgotten! No work would ever get done if that happened! And...and /gay/ characters! Who would ever want to see anything like that? No, no my little beef steak, don't listen to them! Wouldn't you rather have me aboard, replenishing your shuttlecraft and dampening down your sex drives? Yes?'
'#Don't listen to him, captain!#' The voice cried, backed by others the background. '#He's had you under his thumb for far too long! It's time he realised that things can't go on the way they have been!#'
'And how is that?' Janeway asked, a horrible suspicion forming in her mind.
'#He's been manipulating you for years captain! Bending you to his will and holding you all back from your true potential!#'
'Are you saying what I think you're saying?' Janeway asked, glancing at Tuvok, who saw her expression and nodded almost imperceptibly. She then turned to Harry, who had watched their exchange, and he nodded as well, ducking his head down and working quickly and quietly at his console.
'#Haven't you ever wondered why no-one ever swears? Or needs to go to the bathroom? Or does other things?#'
'The kiddies!' Branerus cried. 'What would the kiddies think! We can't have that kind of behaviour!'
Janeway took no notice of the man, instead stuck in her own private world of livid, unstoppable rage. She turned without appearing to move her legs to face the purple tutu-d Overseer and, standing ramrod straight, said 'Are you telling me /you/ are the reason I haven't had sex for seven years?'
Branerus took one look at Janeway's rapidly darkening face and squeaked in fear. At the very second he waved his wand and started to dematerialise, Tuvok and Harry pounced. A force field appeared around the man, and then a second one, different in appearance to normal force fields.
'What did you do?!' he squealed when he found he couldn't dematerialise, and he stamped one booted foot delicately.
Tuvok glanced at the captain, but she had frozen as sheer rage shut down her higher brain functions temporarily, leaving her stuttering in fury and frothing at the mouth slightly.
'We isolated the frequency at which your powers are resonating and blocked them,' the Vulcan said calmly.
'How could you do that so quickly?!' Branerus cried. 'I thought I'd raised you to be compassionate and caring and...things!'
Tuvok raised an eyebrow. 'It stands to reason, Mr. Bragerus, that if you take away someone's sex drive, they'll have to find something else to occupy the excess energy they would usually spend on copulation.'
'Are you saying ' Branerus' jaw dropped and his eyes widened. 'Are you saying /I'm/ responsible for you spewing so much techno-babble?'
Tuvok's other eyebrow rose. 'I would've thought that was self-evident,' he said. 'The unused sexual energy of this crew has been funnelled into creating the most impenetrable dictionary of 'techno-babble' known to man.'
Branerus's face fell, his little wings drooping yet more as his head hung forward, hiding his shamed expression. 'What have I done, my little choc-chip cookie?' He whispered.
'#We can help you, Branerus,#' everybody on the bridge started in surprise as the voice called out over the com - they'd forgotten the com-link had been left open, and the other ship had heard every word uttered since their arrival.
'No!' The man said, standing straight once more. 'Never! Anarchists!'
'You don't have a lot of choice,' Janeway snarled. It seemed she'd been able to pull herself out of the worst of her anger, and was now merely absolutely, totally and completely full of rage. Definitely an improvement.
Branerus pulled back, suddenly infinitely glad of the force field separating him from Voyager's diminutive and livid captain.
'Uh maybe maybe that's not such a bad idea ' He murmured, staring at the little vein that throbbed on Janeway's forehead. Come to think of it, the rest of the bridge crew wasn't looking too happy either
He pulled himself together and nodded. 'yes, yes, my little strawberry trifle, I shall leave, if it is what you wish.'
'It. Is.' Janeway bit out.
Trying to make it look like he completely agreed, he nodded, swallowing hard and avoiding Janeway's bloodshot eyes.
Suddenly, with a loud pop and a shower of glitter, B'Elanna and Seven appeared in the middle of the bridge.
'There he is!' B'Elanna growled, lunging forward before anyone had even processed they were really back. 'That P'TaQ! I'm going to rip him limb from limb! Lemme go!' The last was directed at Seven, who had grabbed the half-Klingon's upper arms from behind and who held her tightly as she struggled. Bragerus was suddenly even more glad of the force field as he gaze skidded from Janeway to B'Elanna.
'It appears they already have him contained, B'Elanna,' Seven said calmly, still holding onto the chief engineer.
'And? How can you be so calm, Seven? After what he did!'
'I am very angry about what he did, B'Elanna,' the ex-drone replied, 'but I would have rather been with you whereever he sent us, than here without you. Besides, he is behind a force field.'
'I don't care! Let me in there with him, he'll be easier to catch!' She snarled.
'Lieutenant! Pull yourself together!' Janeway snapped. 'if anyone's going to hurt this being, it shall be me.'
'#Uh hmm?#' The polite cough filtered over the com, reminding everyone that the other ship was still listening.
Tuvok, looking around the bridge, decided to take matters into his own hands, and as the others closed in on the terrified Overseer, he began to discuss things with the other ship.
No-one else on the bridge paid him any mind, all of them deciding that Branerus was definitely due a little pay-back. Slowly, the alpha bridge crew closed in, apart from Harry Kim, who hung back a little to deactivate the force field first, and B'Elanna and Seven, who were still talking.
'Please my little cherry-buns!' Bragerus begged. 'Can't we talk about this?'
'All we've done for seven years is talk!' Someone cried. 'What about physical needs?'
'You don't need them!' He responded. 'Surely you won't miss them for a little while longer?'
As soon as he finished the sentence, he realised that it had been totally the wrong thing to say. It seemed that once the people on the bridge had realised they'd been missing it, they wouldn't give up the chance to have it again, no, not for all the glitter at a Kylie concert.
Just as the bridge-crew leapt, Bragerus disappeared in a flash of blue sparkles as Tuvok transported him from their bridge to the other ship. The entire Alpha crew ended up in a huge tangle of arms and legs on the floor, which turned out to be just about the last thing any of them needed, their self-control already eroded by the realisation of seven years of celibacy.
'Shall we try to separate them?' B'Elanna asked, cocking her head to one side as she tried to work out who was pleasuring whom.
'I think that would a foolhardy move,' Seven said.
B'Elanna nodded and turned away from the spectacle, preferring to look at the blonde instead. 'Did you mean what you said just now?'
'What did I say?' Seven asked.
'About rather being where-ever we were-' it had been a grey sort of nothing space '-than here without me?'
For a moment, Seven looked a little flustered: she hadn't realised the lieutenant had heard her, thinking her more wrapped up in her anger. 'Yes.' She said finally.
B'Elanna slipped her hand into the blonde's Borg enhanced one and tugged her toward the turbo-lift. 'Thank you.'
'For what, B'Elanna?'
'For saying that.'
'I did mean it. At least we got some privacy.'
B'Elanna grinned toothily and nodded. 'Yes. Now why don't we go and find some more? I don't think I'll be getting freaked out anymore.'
Together, hand in hand, they entered the turbo-lift.
The next day, a much, much more relaxed Janeway was talking to Tuvok in her ready-room. The End
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'So that's it then? No more Branerus?' She asked, smiling.
'Indeed,' Tuvok agreed.
'Remind me to thank those people if we ever run across them again please Tuvok,' she said. 'Did you get the name of their ship?'
'Yes, Captain. From now on, I will keep an I eye out for the ship 'Voq Je Bang.''
'Voq Je Bang? What an odd name.' Janeway said.
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