DISCLAIMER: As per all my work not mine, no money whatsoever, just some writing fun and hopefully reading pleasure
.they are all.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
When a sportle meets a frottle
The Astromeri were an interesting species, not favoured by the Borg due to their preference for low gravity environments and their enthusiastic, 'bouncy' personalities. It was very hard to assimilate someone who was jumping enthusiastically on the spot (to a height of probably a couple of metres due to the low gravity) whilst encouraging you to 'come play'. For six year old Naomi, and most of the crew of the Starship Voyager, they were a perfect species - fun loving, relaxed, and eager for any game proposed by anyone, including a rather unique adaptation of the old Earth game of 'baseball'.
Seven had tried to understand the Earth game, courtesy of one of Tom Paris' holodeck evenings, but had found it seriously lacking as a method of either physical exertion or entertainment, unlike the game of Velocity, which at least required rapid movement and no reliance on other people, who would invariably fail...in other words, Seven was not a fan of team sports. But equally, she was not a fan of disappointing Naomi.
"Have you asked for permission from your mother?" asked Seven, mindful, following a careful conversation with Captain Janeway, about the tricky matter of not undermining a mother's authority.
"She said I could do anything that you felt was suitable..." explained Naomi helpfully.
"What is the object of this 'game'?" asked Seven, considering the 'course' set out before them.
"To hit the orange thing with the green thing as far as you can..."
"For what purpose?"
"Hitting it further than anyone else!"
"I see..." Seven surveyed the 'course', which had targets and distance markers laid out, stretching for several hundred metres.
"...Naomi, do not jump so high..." stated Seven, automatically reaching out to 'catch' Naomi, who was enjoying the 'lighter' atmosphere and the ability to jump really, really high if she tried really, really hard.
"Can I try?"
"Are you sure this game is designed for children of your stature?" For Seven, the concept of 'youth' was a difficult one to assess, with Naomi being the only young child she'd ever really had contact with, the Borg 'Children' aside. As a result, whereas someone else might have been concerned about Naomi's age, for Seven, the limiting factor was always Naomi's height, with the Borg recalling the numerous times Naomi had had to be told to 'wait until she was taller' before she could explore certain areas of the ship.
"He's short..." explained Naomi loudly, pointing to a small gentleman, who was swiping at the orange thing with his green thing in a highly enthusiastic but ultimately unproductive fashion.
"Indeed, quite short..." agreed Seven, discretely scanning the set up with her cortical node, satisfied to discover that the orange and green things seemed to come in a variety of 'weights' which presumably meant that Naomi could use some equipment designed for an individual such as her.
"Very well..." Seven strode over to the game 'keeper' and procured the equipment and tokens for them both to have a go.
"Remember Seven, the idea's to hit it really, really far..." exclaimed Naomi, before excitedly swinging her green thing and connecting rather spectacularly with her orange thing, sending it considerably further than the short gentleman had.
"You show commendable skill Naomi Wildman," declared Seven seriously, considering her own orange and green things.
"Your go Seven...bet you can't hit it out of the sky...." It was an innocent child's challenge, not meant to be serious, but was heard by the short gentleman, who immediately became very animated, bouncing some three metres in his excitement.
"Oh, do try...it is possible, but not often seen..."
"It is possible, if the contact between green and orange is perfectly aligned with the line of escape..." As the gentleman continued, Seven's brain began calculating, based on what Voyager's scans had shown, exactly what the exit velocity would be for the orange thing, based on the physical properties it seemed to be manifesting. To her surprise, with a large amount of Borg-enhanced hand-eye co-ordination and physical strength, it was actually possible...
"Very well, Naomi, please stand there."
"Yes Seven..." agreed Naomi, 'bouncing' over to the spot Seven had identified would be a suitable spectating position, accompanied by their new friend and authority on all things Astromeri.
Taking a moment to consider what she was about to do, Seven adopted what she deemed would be a suitable stance and, at the appropriate moment, swung her green thing....
It was easy to forget that Kathryn Janeway knew how to fly a shuttle, rather well in fact. When you were Captain of a Starship, the opportunity to 'Loop the Loop' didn't come by very often, and never without the small matter of impending alien attack, unless you were visiting the Astromeri, whose favourite pastime, after it seemed, that weird baseball type game Tom had been babbling about, was 'playing' in rather nippy little shuttle-pods.
Perfectly spherical, with thrusters in all directions, these little pods were highly manoeuvrable and able to be 'bounced' off the atmosphere if you got trajectory and power correct. With a little bit of coaching from one of the local champions, Kathryn had quickly perfected the technique and had spent a happy couple of hours hurtling around the various 'race tracks' and obstacle courses that the Astromeri had created, doing all manner of things that, if he could have seen her, would have probably made Tuvok's ears drop off in shock. In short, she was behaving exactly as the cockiest Federation pilot would...and loving every second of it.
Suddenly though, the shuttle's controls changed from their purple colour to a bright green, and a public address system type announcement echoed excitedly through the pod.
"Home Run, Home Run, Home Run.....INCOMING!"
Before Kathryn had time to understand what was happening, her controls stopped glowing green and started flashing orange, matching the colour of the orange thing now sitting on the controls....wait, an orange thing?
"What on..." Startled, Janeway instinctively reached for the tricorder she'd had the prudence to bring, only for the tannoy to burst into life again.
"Pod Janeway the victor, auto-pilot engaged for landing and celebration."
Confused at what was happening and annoyed at having her 'fun' in space cut short, Kathryn finally yielded to her competitive streak and allowed herself to be excited about what she'd 'won'. She didn't have to wait long - the autopilot didn't bother taking the slow, gentle descent. Soon, she was standing outside her pod, looking at the equally confused expression on her Astrometric Officer's face.
"Do you have the sportle?" asked the short gentleman, bouncing in all directions to see around Janeway and into her shuttle-pod.
"He means do you have Seven's orange thing Captain?" explained Naomi, equally eager, although managing to contain her bouncing to a more respectable three feet or so.
"I participated in the 'baseball' game Captain, the 'sportle' is an orange sphere - it is a moment of great excitement if a Frottle (the local name for the shuttle-pod) 'catches' a sportle which has attained escape velocity."
"Thank you Seven..." Now understanding, Kathryn retreated into her Frottle and re-emerged with Seven's Sportle, which was now humming...
"Your Sportle Seven..."
"Thank you Captain." Satisfied everything was now explained, Seven prepared to return to her original task, which was supervising Naomi's enjoyment of the games park.
"Your welcome Seven...." replied Kathryn, equally content, now that little task was complete, to get back to her flying, only for her Chief Helmsman and most of her Bridge Crew to bound up, along, it seemed, with half the local population.
"We heard a Frottle caught a Sportle?" gasped Tom, eyes sparkling with excitement.
"Yes, the Captain caught Seven's sportle in her frottle..." explained Naomi, wondering why half the Senior Staff almost snorted with laughter.
"Have you completed the celebration yet?" asked their host, equally excited.
"No, they have not..." reported the short gentleman, attracting the attention of Seven.
"The successful Frottler must unite with the Sportler...that your Sportle and Frottle connected is a thing of great rareness and represents a powerful sub-conscious connection between Frottler and Sportler which the game has chosen to reveal. You must acknowledge this bond..."
"Oh..." Seven couldn't think of anything else to say; really, she couldn't.
"Bond how?" asked Kathryn cautiously.
"A kiss of no less than thirty of your seconds would equate to our bonding...unless you have flocci and gills?" enquired their host politely, referring to the strange organs the Astromeri had which were quite unlike anything Voyager had ever really come across before - as Seven had put it, 'flocci on the forehead is not a feature the Borg felt should be assimilated'.
"That's some kiss!" exclaimed Tom, unable to stop himself, earning him a thump from B'Elanna.
"Ambassador, I'm not sure..." began Kathryn, glancing at Seven and recognising the look of panic she was sure her eyes were also revealing, only for Naomi to completely derail everything, by declaring loudly,
"Good thing you practiced with the Captain yesterday evening Seven..."
prompting Kathryn's cheeks to suddenly match the rich red of her command uniform as her Senior Staff's jaws all simultaneously dropped.
"Kathryn? I do believe that the 'cat' is out of the bag..."
"I am thankful it is you who caught my Sportle..."
"And I'm glad it was your sportle too..." agreed Kathryn, glancing at the assembled crowd who seemed to be incapable of moving on until the 'celebration' was completed.
"I think it might be diplomatic if we 'celebrate'..."
"You wish me to kiss you for thirty one seconds?"
"Give or take a few, yes...."
"You are sure? A proper kiss?" Seven sought clarification - this was not a good moment for confusion.
"Unless you've grown gills since this morning darling?" teased Kathryn, deciding that, today at least, maybe the Delta Quadrant wasn't so bad.
"I have not..." replied Seven indignantly, before deciding that conversation was overrated....she had something far more interesting to do for the next thirty one seconds...no, make that one minute three.....
Return to Voyager J/7 Fiction
Return to Main Page