As Janeway finished reading Starfleet's message a hush spread across the conference room, and all eyes seemed to search out those of the resident ex-Borg and astrometrics officer. From her position to Seven's right, B'Elanna could feel the tension that was suddenly radiating from the young woman, and reaching out she grasped Seven's hand as it started to ball into a fist on the conference room table.
"No Seven," she whispered.
The young former Borg looked to the engineer and instead of seeing the usual hostility, saw nothing but understanding and compassion. Slowly, making sure not to dislodge the other woman's hand Seven pulled her own hand from resting on the table top to resting on her thigh.
Slightly surprised by the move, and even more surprised by her own reaction B'Elanna slid her hand from Seven's to rest on her inner thigh. Through the contact the half Klingon could feel a slight tremor pass through the firm flesh, and with it a burning desire was ignited within her.
"I need to get back to Astrometrics Captain." Seven addressed the older woman. The woman who had just informed the entire senior staff that the latest communiqué from Starfleet had contained a request for a detailed biological and psychological report on their Borg specimens.
"Request denied Seven." Kathryn tried to smile reassuringly at the young woman.
B'Elanna began a slow caress of Seven's thigh.
"Yes Captain." Seven remained seated, her mind now focused more on the sensations running through her body than the arrogance of Starfleet.
"I know it was worded badly, but surely they can't mean anything nasty by the request." Harry added optimistically.
"Yeah, of course." B'Elanna piped up sarcastically. "It's not like they've ever treated other races badly before. I'm sure letting the Bajorans live in slavery to the Cardassians for decades was simply a minor slip."
"Lieutenant!" Janeway snapped. "You are a Starfleet officer, I expect you to act accordingly."
"What, you mean I should just save them the time and autopsy Seven right here and now?" The half Klingon practically growled.
"Enough!" Janeway slammed her hand down on the table.
"I will not allow anyone to dissect me." Seven said coldly.
"It won't come to that Seven." The Captain stared daggers at her Chief Engineer for worrying her favourite crew member. "Lieutenant Torres is overreacting."
Seven slid her hand along her thigh to rest upon B'Elanna's, the contact with the other woman was the only thing keeping her from storming from the room and diverting the ship's course as far from the Alpha quadrant as possible. "I know it won't Captain, I will not allow it to."
The finality of Seven's statement drew all the eyes at the table to her.
"You're all making it sound as if Starfleet wanting to know a bit more about the Borg is a bad thing." Tom entered the conversation for the first time. "I mean when we went up against them and Species 8472 the Doctor used his knowledge about Seven's systems to help us survive. So why all the concern with Starfleet wanting the same."
"Don't be stupid Tom." B'Elanna spat.
"The tests carried out by myself on Seven were all done with her permission." The EMH clarified, he wasn't happy with Starfleet's orders and was already trying to think up ways to circumvent their request. "What Starfleet proposes is not voluntary, and as Seven's physician I am strongly against this or any experimental treatment for members of this crew."
"Doctor you are not helping matters." Janeway warned. "Unless anyone has something to add, I suggest we adjourn this meeting until..."
"If Starfleet continue with their request I will leave Voyager and return to the Delta quadrant." Seven interrupted in a cold voice.
"If Seven leaves then so do I." B'Elanna added, much to the surprise of everyone in the room, most of all herself and Seven.
The ex-Borg looked to the engineer and allowed a trace of a smile to cross her face. "I believe the meeting is now finished." Seven stood and before anyone could respond turned to leave. In the silence that had descended B'Elanna stood and followed the determined younger woman to the door.
Seven walked straight to Cargo Bay 2, B'Elanna close on her heels. Reaching the large storage room Seven ordered the computer to lock the doors, and turning abruptly captured B'Elanna's face in her hands and pulling gently brushed the other woman's lips with her own.
For a moment B'Elanna just stood there as if paralysed, then her arms reached up to encircle Seven's neck pulling them even closer together. The kiss turned from gentle and almost innocent to one filled with mounting passion, tongues sliding over one another, tasting each other for the first time.
Pulling back Seven smiled. "I have always wanted to do that."
"Really?" B'Elanna asked surprised.
"Yes." Seven bent down and tasted B'Elanna's lips once more. "Well, for the last 327 days to be precise."
B'Elanna was about to return the kiss when she heard someone behind her clear their throat.
"If you are planning on copulation would you prefer me to exit?" Icheb asked in a calm voice.
Breaking away from the embrace B'Elanna could feel the blood rushing to her cheeks, its progress quickened by Seven's response.
"Yes, but first I have something to discuss with you." Seven walked over to the younger Borg leaving an extremely embarrassed B'Elanna Torres to wonder about the 'yes' part of the answer. "Starfleet command has requested that the Captain make the Borg specimens available for biological and psychological evaluation and testing on reaching the Alpha quadrant."
"Once we navigate through the Ramtor wormhole we will be in the Alpha quadrant in fourteen weeks three days." Icheb calculated. "I do not wish to become a specimen."
"Neither do I." Seven reassured him. "The Captain is attempting to qualify the nature of the proposed evaluation with Starfleet, if the answers she receives are not satisfactory I plan to leave Voyager and return to the Delta quadrant. Do you wish to accompany me?"
"Yes." In true Borg fashion Icheb never used two words when one would sufficient.
"Good." Seven smiled warmly at the young man, glad that she would not have to lose anymore of her Borg children. "You may go now, I wish to be alone with Lieutenant Torres."
After waiting a moment for Seven to unlock the doors Icheb left the cargo bay.
"So, where are we going?" B'Elanna asked nervously once the former drone's eyes were once more regarding her alone.
"There is a small enclosed area at the back of the alcoves, it contains a large bed." Seven answered calmly.
"No." B'Elanna's cheeks, which had only just started to regain their usual colour, were once again turning a brilliant shade of red. "I meant when we leave Voyager. Where are we heading?"
"You would come with us?" Seven's voice held a mixture of disbelief and hope.
"I said I would."
"Yes, but what of Lieutenant Paris?" The ex-Borg's forehead scrunched up in consternation. "You are not suggesting he accompany us?"
"No." B'Elanna allowed herself a smile at the other woman's obvious distaste. "Our marriage is over, it never should have taken place to begin with, especially with how attracted I was to you."
"You were attracted to me?"
B'Elanna smiled and moving forward gently cupped Seven's cheek running her thumb along the full lips. "I've probably always been attracted to you, I just never let myself acknowledge it until today." Reaching up she brushed Seven's lips with her own. "When I thought of Starfleet hurting you I just... I just couldn't hold back any more."
Seven moved into the caress, revelling in the warmth of B'Elanna's touch, the nearness of the smaller woman setting her heart beating erratically. "Could you... could you ever love me?"
"I already do." Bringing up her other hand B'Elanna brought their lips together for what was the most loving gesture either had ever experienced.
Kathryn Janeway pushed back from her desk in disgust, the transmission to Starfleet command terminated before the officious little squirt of an Admiral could suggest she hand over any more of her staff, of her friends, for live autopsy. The organisation she had dedicated her life to had just condemned two people to the status of lab rats, their lives to be little more than fodder for medical experiments. The fact that one of those people was just a teenager, and a boy who had already been used by his parents as a weapon, and the other was one of her closest friends, just increased Kathryn's feelings of revulsion. For several moments she contemplated turning the ship around and heading away from the Alpha quadrant, but she owed it to the rest of her crew to make sure they arrived home safely.
"Shit!" Thrusting out with her hands Janeway pushed a desktop full of data pads, and her lucky tea cup, to the floor. Hearing the distinctive sounds of china fracturing on the carpet Kathryn began muttering to herself in rather colourful language before walking round the desk to try and salvage some of her mess.
The door chime sounded and on receiving permission to enter Chakotay walked in to the sight of his captain on her hands and knees scrabbling for tiny pieces of pottery.
"I was annoyed." She clarified before he could question her further.
Kneeling down to help retrieve some of the broken pottery Chakotay placed his hand on Kathryn's arm. "I take it things didn't go so well with Starfleet."
"You could say that." Standing Kathryn crossed her arms in a manner that broadcast her agitation for everyone to see. "Not only are we supposed to hand over Seven and Icheb to Starfleet for medical experimentation, but as of four minutes ago they are meant to be in custody."
"Custody? For what reason?"
"It would seem that Starfleet, in all their wisdom, think the Borg specimens might try and resist complying with the command, and are therefore to be held until we reach the nearest Federation outpost." Janeway practically spat.
The big man mirrored Janeway's pose, oozing resistance from every pore. "I take it you are not going to comply."
"Good. I suggest we inform Seven immediately and help her prepare to disappear." Thinking a moment he added. "I don't think we should tell the rest of the crew, some might not take too kindly to us ignoring the Federation for the sake of two Borg." His emphasis on the last word showing his contempt for that view.
"You're right. I'll tell Seven now." Preparing to leave the ready room Kathryn laid a friendly hand on Chakotay's shoulder "I'll leave you to work out the details for their transportation."
Seven slowly moved her hands along B'Elanna's body, rejoicing in the feel of the firm flesh just under the coarse material. The need to feel the perfect skin was overcoming the former Borg's usual composure, causing her hands to lose some of their customary dexterity as they searched for a way inside B'Elanna's uniform. Reluctantly breaking off from the kiss Seven scanned the obstacle that was the engineer's uniform for a point of entry.
"The zipper's in the front," came B'Elanna's amused voice before she busied her mouth with raining tiny kisses along Seven's elegant neck.
"ThankkOhhhh." Closing her eyes the young blonde just stood a moment allowing herself to enjoy this new sensation, her mounting desire soon propelling her to restart her attempts to disrobe the fiery woman. On the second try Seven managed to unzip and discard the uniform top revealing the flimsy T-shirt underneath. Her hands then questing further to discover the bottom of the garment, and slowly make their way inside.
"Ohhhhyesss." B'Elanna purred as Seven's hands came into contact with her breasts, fingers brushing against sensitive nipples causing them to ache for further contact. Seeing the raised flesh Seven dipped her head and gently at first began to kiss them through the material of B'Elanna's bra before allowing her teeth to nip at the delicate flesh.
"Excuse me ladies!" Janeway announced her arrival, trying hard not to show her embarrassment.
"Captain!" The young Klingon practically jumped out of what clothes she was still wearing at the interruption. Then with as much dignity as she could muster began straightening her uniform, which was made somewhat more difficult by Seven's apparent reluctance to remove her hand, although thankfully she had removed her mouth.
"I thought I locked the door?" Seven questioned Janeway in a none too friendly voice.
"I used the Captain's override command." Striding into the room Kathryn came to stand next to the two women. "Seven, you and Icheb need to leave the ship. I've talked to Starfleet and what they are proposing is unacceptable, the only way out is for you to stay here in the Delta quadrant."
"P'taq's" B'Elanna swore. "When do we leave?"
Kathryn looked at her Chief Engineer with some confusion, admittedly the young woman had said she'd leave the ship if Seven did, but she'd thought it a simple show of solidarity, a very unexpected show of solidarity. Then again she hadn't expected to find the two in a rather heated embrace, maybe there were facts about their relationship she was unaware of, and now would not have the time to find out. "Chakotay is making the arrangements now, I'll have to inform him to make extra room, if you're certain Lieutenant?"
"I'm sure Captain."
"I wish there was another way." Gone was the Captain's normal air of command and certainty, and in its place a child like disappointment that things didn't turn out the way they are supposed to. "I don't understand how Starfleet could..."
"Captain." Seven interrupted. "We need to leave soon."
"Yes, of course." Kathryn looked around the large expanse of the cargo bay trying to figure out what needed to be done next, but for some reason her mind seemed stuck on the loss she would feel in having to say goodbye to not one but two of her closest friends. The urge to hug the two women was intense, but considering the embrace she had just interrupted Kathryn thought the idea imprudent. "How long will it take you both to prepare for departure?"
"An hour or so." B'Elanna calculated.
"Icheb and I could be ready in that time." Seven seemed to be distancing herself from the older woman, her tone cold and unwelcoming.
"Fine." Kathryn was all business once more. "Meet me in my ready room in ninety minutes." Having said this, and trying to escape before either of the women could witness the growing moisture in her eyes, she turned and left the cargo bay.
B'Elanna watched the ex-Borg's eyes follow Kathryn from the room, her coldness of only moments before was gone, and in its place was pain. "Are you okay?" She asked enclosing Seven in a friendly embrace.
"I will miss her." A single tear rolled down Seven's pale cheek.
Pulling the upset woman more firmly into her body B'Elanna began a slow rhythmical massage of her back, "I know you will, but don't push her away now without saying goodbye properly, if you do you'll always regret it."
Seven snuggled into the embrace, taking comfort from the warmth and B'Elanna's obvious understanding. "It hurts."
"I know." The shorter woman reached up to plant a tender kiss on Seven's temple.
"Thank you." Seven whispered. "I love you."
"And I love you."
Chakotay shared a conspiratorial smile with his captain as they awaited the arrival of the departing group, and a small number of their friends. His efforts to secure transportation for the group had revealed certain basic requirements, if they intended spending any length of time on the vessel they would need a ship of sufficient size, and in case of hostilities a ship with adequate armaments. Standard shuttles could, if necessary, be used for this function but Chakotay was not confident in the ship's aptitude for transporting his friends, who now, Janeway informed him, included his oldest friend on the ship. That left him with one obvious choice, the Delta Flyer. The advanced nature of the Flyer made it ideal for B'Elanna and Seven's needs, and now they were only a few short months from Federation territory Voyager could afford to part with the other ship. The main problem they would face was the opposition from Tom Paris, the creator of the ship, who was bound to whine uncontrollably about the abduction of his toy. Realising that his wife had taken it to abscond with another woman would definitely not help matters, but after a consultation with Janeway the two decided simply to refrain from mentioning it to the helmsman until after the three had departed. That was one of the main reasons the group was saying goodbye here, in the ready room, so that news of the Flyers departure could be delayed.
The chime sounded and after an invitation a somewhat confused group entered the ready room, they consisted of the senior staff and young Naomi Wildman. The three future travellers had yet to arrive, and Janeway took this opportunity to explain to the group the reasons behind their departure, although she decided to somewhat skirt around B'Elanna's reasons for joining the two ex-Borg.
"Won't we see them anymore?" Naomi was the first to break the silence.
"I'm not sure, maybe in time Starfleet will change their minds and we can send them word to return." Janeway tried to give the youngster some fragment of hope, in truth it was a fragment she was also desperately clinging to. "They'll have the location of this wormhole, so hopefully we'll see them again."
"Can't you do something?" The Doctor butted in heatedly. "I mean surely Starfleet will listen to you."
"I'm sorry Doctor, I have tried." Kathryn overlooked his aggressive tone, she knew how close he was to Seven and empathised with the pain he must be feeling at the prospect of her departure.
"I can understand why Seven and the kid want to leave, but what the hell does Lanna think she's doing." Tom made his way to stand in front of Janeway. "She's not a Borg, why is she going? I mean has she forgotten she's married?"
"I think these questions are best left for B'Elanna to answer Tom." Kathryn tried to quieten him down, but just then the door chime rang and Seven, B'Elanna and Icheb entered.
"What's going on Lanna?" Tom strode across to his wife and tried grabbing for her arm, but the young Klingon woman was too quick for him and managed to side step his reach. Turning to the red faced helmsman B'Elanna put her hand up to stop any more of his questions.
"I'm leaving Tom." Reaching her other hand behind her she linked fingers with Seven. "You and I both know our marriage is over, I have to think of the future now, and that future is with Seven."
"What!" Tom looked about to explode, while others in the room simply looked on in confusion.
"I'm sorry Tom, but I love her and I'm leaving."
Before the helmsman could regain his composure and disturb the farewells even further Janeway decided to intervene and get things moving. "I think we should all take this opportunity to say goodbye to our friends, they have to go soon."
Backing up his captain's obvious attempt to diffuse the tense situation and needing to properly say goodbye Harry was the first to move to the group and starting with B'Elanna gave them all a tight hug and choked words of farewell. He was soon followed by the others, little Naomi's tears coming readily as she clung to Seven's neck and in a tearful voice said "I love you Seven."
Seven buried her nose in Naomi's hair as tears flooded her own eyes "I love you too Naomi Wildman."
Those were not the last tears shed, by the time everyone barring Tom and Kathryn had bade their farewell the Borgs' and Klingon's eyes were red and puffy with emotion. Wanting to give the three future travellers time to compose themselves and allow Tom a private moment to work out some things with B'Elanna, Janeway ushered the others from the room. Each reluctant to depart, knowing it would most probably be the last time they saw their friends.
"You can't go!" Tom confronted his wife.
"Don't be silly Tom." B'Elanna tried cajoling the irate man. "Just say goodbye, okay."
"No." He grasped her arm roughly and pulled her into him. "You're not leaving me."
Seven moved with quiet speed to intercept Tom and with one well placed jab managed to render him unconscious. Holding his body she gently lowered his deceptively bulky frame to the floor.
"I think now would be a good time for you to depart." Kathryn interrupted.
Kissing her fingers and placing them for a moment against Tom's brow B'Elanna took hold of Seven's and Icheb's hands and walked the two out of the room, followed by the Captain.
The Delta Flyer had been stocked with a judicious amount of supplies from every department of Voyager. Replicator supplies, armaments, engineering tools and medical equipment had all been provided, along with ever navigational fact gathered by the crew over the last six years. Anything that either Chakotay or Janeway had considered of any use had been added to the ship's inventory but still Kathryn felt as if she was setting her children loose in a leaky boat with a storm fast approaching. Standing at the foot of the walkway to the Flyer's interior she was suddenly unsure of how to behave in front of her friends, the mask she had so often had to wear as Captain was slipping further with each moment, and tears were threatening to escape her control.
"I guess this is goodbye." Well done Katie, she thought, that's how to let them know just how much they mean to you.
"Yes." Seven looked to the floor unable to meet her friend's gaze.
"Goodbye Captain." Icheb stepped forward and shook Kathryn's hand, then aware of the others need for privacy headed up the walkway and into the Flyer.
B'Elanna followed the young man's progress, part of her wishing she too could leave allowing the others room for a proper farewell, but Kathryn was her friend too and she needed to say her goodbye, plus she wanted to make sure the stubborn ex-Borg didn't try to hide her feelings from the older woman. Dropping Seven's hand she moved to embrace the Captain, through the tight hold B'Elanna could feel the other woman's shaking as she tried to hold in her emotions.
"Thank you Kathryn." B'Elanna kissed her cheek tenderly. "You believed in me when even I didn't, and I will always be grateful for that."
"You're a fine officer B'Elanna, and an even better friend." Kathryn returned B'Elanna's gesture with a kiss to the Klingon's ridged brow. "Take care of her." She whispered.
"I will." Keeping her voice quiet she added. "Don't hold back with her Kathryn, she needs to know how much you care."
The two parted and Kathryn turned her attention to the young ex-Borg she had rescued from the collective over three years before. Her heart felt like it was breaking at the prospect of never again seeing the young woman who had become like family to her. The hours spent together playing velocity or in the maestro's studio would never come again, and she would also never get to see the amazing individual Seven was turning into. Looking at those bright blue eyes Kathryn finally let her tears fall, and reaching out blindly she engulfed the young Borg in a bone crushing hug.
"I will miss you so much." Kathryn choked out, her throat tightening up with every thought of the ship's imminent departure.
"I.." Not being able to hold back Seven simply cried, words unable to form in a mind consumed with loss. So she just clung on to her friend and mentor, praying her love would show through.
Watching silently as the two held on to one another B'Elanna was eventually forced to interrupt the moving scene. "We have to go." Not wanting to, but knowing any delay brought the prospect of crew members loyal to the Federation stopping their departure, she placed her hands on Seven's shoulders and gently squeezed to regain the young woman's attention. "You need to finish your goodbye Seven."
Ending their embrace Seven calmed herself enough to say a few words to her Captain. "I love you Kathryn, you are now and always will be part of my family."
Wiping the tears from Seven's face Kathryn allowed herself a tiny smile. "I love you too Seven, I will never stop waiting for you to walk back into my life arguing that your way is the best and only way."
"It is." Seven deadpanned before sharing a last smile with her Captain.
Turning B'Elanna and Seven made their way up the walkway, their hands clasped tightly together as they prepared for a life of unknowns. The only things they were sure of were the feelings they had for one another and the family they were leaving behind.
Return to Voyager Fiction
Return to Main Page