DISCLAIMER: I don't own these characters, Paramount does. The premise to the story is mine though. Not Beta'ed. Dedicated to those who know the loss of love untried, and those who know the loss of physical control.

Seventeen Days
By Cirroco DeSade


It has been over two weeks. It has been too long. It has not been long enough. Seventeen days with my beloved engineer. bangwI'. I wish I had the strength, the fortitude to say that aloud.

In her ever-'sensitive', insensitive, wisdom, Kathryn sent us here together. She thought it might bring us closer if we ran an away mission together. Get to know each other while you are out there, she had said. I already knew so much about bangwI'. One of the reasons I continued to fight with her was so that we would not become closer; it would be too bittersweet when she belonged to another. It would hurt too much. I could bathe in her passion in her engine room as she raged at me.

Why does Kathryn send people on missions like this then take the ship out of range? I will never understand my enigmatic rescuer. Sometimes I compare her to the Queen. Always thinks she's right and even when you prove her wrong, she will just order you to obey. Always directing her collective with hard rules she just does not follow.

Seventeen days ago we began our mission in the cave. A full hour into our mineral retrieval an earthquake decided my fate; an earthquake and my captain. I wish I could damn her; I don't have the energy or venom any longer. bangwI' still does.

Two weeks I have been so close to her. I have cared for her and her unborn child as well as I could. Our conditions aren't `exactly Risa' as she puts it. But I have found food for us, well mostly her. When she located an underground spring, I used my enhanced hand to pound through the solid rock above it. We only had my muscles and enhanced vision and one survival pack. I had not set mine down before we had been forced to leave our encampment by the rocks displaced from the cave's ceiling. It was unfortunate that everything was beyond retrieval.

Two weeks. Of heaven and hell. I have been close to her for almost the whole time. Klingons do not appreciate the cold. It is cold here. At least we weren't forced too far down the tunnel. I had to force my body heat upon her the first time. She came to me herself after that.

After the first week ended she nearly lost hope. She was convinced Voyager would not find us when she arrived this week. She cried a lot. More than I would have imagined. At first she cried for Tom in her sleep, but now, oh cruel fate, she cries my name when she needs or aches or is scared.

I am convinced this is heaven. And this is truly hell.

I still have not told her how I love her. I cannot. I no longer know if it is still because I don't want to dishonor her, or if I am a coward. What if she despised my love…what if she cherished it, now, when it is too late.

They contacted us today. They say it will be at least three days of heavy work to get to us. They can't beam us out. bangwI' and I knew that last part all too well. We had already calculated it. We had calculated many things together over this time.

Too late for me, but I say nothing.

She has told me that the only good thing to come of this was how it forced her to look at me, see I am a person, `a beautiful human being'. I was glad for the darkness as I cried.

I suppose she forgot. Not many really know. My body still contained Borg systems that had to be charged every 96 hours before I developed imbalances. My portable unit was with our tools. I don't think she realized. She has been very concerned about her unborn child. I have been diligent finding roots and grubs and other digestible biomaterial for her. She need not know I have been saving some to the side for her… most of my portions.

Systems have slowly eroded. My right arm has weakened by 400%. I have hidden it from her well. I became dizzy a week ago; it has progressed to dizziness even while sitting still. My right ear is deaf. My enhanced arm stopped functioning four days ago, frozen in a fist. Last night I finally lost my enhanced eye. I cannot search for food for her any longer.

I hope there is enough left. I would pray, if I knew a god, that I have done enough for her to make it the three days it will take them to get to her.

Her beautiful voice is filling my left ear now; what a wonderful sound to leave with. She tells me what she will eat. How Neelix's food will even taste good. She giggles and the sound of her laughter fills me. I knew I would love her for the rest of my life. I did not know that this love would only encompass a few years.

She has found new courage now that they are here. I am glad.

I have felt all of my extremeties' implants fail within the last hour. I suppose I am somewhat sad that I never told her. I wish I had the courage. Perhaps…

"I am sorry B'Elanna," I tell her interrupting her food recitation.

"For what Seven?" she asked.

Down to one implant: my cortical node. It will decide it must shut down in hopes that I will be reactivated later. They wont get here in time. Its loss will be permanent.

"I never told you," I respond. I take one thing before I am forced to go: a kiss from those silky lips I have often fantasized about. "qaparmaq bangwI'. I've loved you for so long. Forgive me."

My words are a bare whisper. I barely have the strength to speak anymore.

Seventeen days
A brief impression of falling

Of heaven of hell

Her voice in panic

Then no more

The End

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