"The long-term side effects of sexual abstinence on the female psyche have never been adequately studied." Seven passed the data padd to B'Elanna. "I have therefore arranged a test group of five women, each of whom has been without sex in excess of six months, to undergo a rigorous set of psychological tests."
"And I would like you to participate in . . ."
"Whoa! I'm not sexually frustrated," B'Elanna fumed. "Tom and I had an active sex life, right up until the end."
B'Elanna's fury waned as confusion set in. "But then what use would I be in your test group?"
With a slight raise of the brow, Seven managed to convey her utter boredom at having to explain what should have been obvious. "You would provide the counterpoint."
"Counterpoint?" It made sense, in a warped Seven kind of way, but that didn't mean that B'Elanna had to like it. "Why me?"
"You are the only female of my acquaintance who has been sexually active within the last six months." Seven pressed a button on the padd and displayed the data for B'Elanna's perusal. "I have discounted those people who engage in sexual relations with holographic characters."
"Who says I haven't?" The look of smug satisfaction on B'Elanna's face disappeared when she realised exactly what she'd implied. "Not that I have."
"Your holo-deck records do not include access to programs that are customarily used for sexual gratification." Seven failed to take note of the growing signs of anger on B'Elanna's face. "Although replicator records do suggest that you started to use equipment to enhance your sexual experience several months before you terminated your relationship with Mr. Paris."
"You! You!" Red with rage, all B'Elanna could do was splutter and fume at the annoying blonde. "How dare you!"
"Lieutenant? Is there something wrong?"
"Wrong? You stupid bucket of bolts! You've invaded my privacy for the last time!" B'Elanna snatched the padd out of Seven's hand and quickly threw it against the wall. "How would you like it if I delved into your private life?" She threw up her hands in disgust. "Forget that. You'd have to have a private life for me to violate it."
Seven watched B'Elanna pace the length and breadth of the room, mumbled curses spilling forth at regular intervals. "I meant no offence, Lieutenant," she said. "I merely wished to ascertain whether or not you were suitable for my test program."
Screeching to a halt, B'Elanna turned to stare balefully at the other woman, her voice spitting bitterness and anger, "And why the hell are you studying sexual abstinence, anyway? Don't tell me you're afraid of rusting up."
"I do not rust."
"But you do have sex, right?" B'Elanna had heard the odd rumour here and there but nothing she'd wholeheartedly believed. "I mean you are capable?"
Seven didn't appear the least bit perturbed. "I am capable of sexual intercourse, although I have no practical experience beyond self exploration, as prescribed by my doctor."
"The EMH told you to . . ."
"No. That piece of advice was given by my holographic physician." Seven had failed to understand why the captain recommended she consult a holographic doctor about her questions of sexuality, rather than the EMH, but she had nevertheless followed the advice. "She also suggested I experiment with -"
"No, no, no!" B'Elanna covered her ears and tried to pretend her imagination hadn't already filled in too many blanks when it came to Seven and sex. "Just tell me why you're doing this . . . the focus group, that is," she clarified.
"I wish to discover whether or not my reactions to long-term sexual abstinence are atypical."
B'Elanna looked slightly uneasy. "What reactions?"
"Sexual fantasies of a particularly vivid and confusing nature."
"Fan - tasies?"
"Sexual fantasies," Seven clarified. "Featuring particular members of the ship's personnel."
"Yeah?" Pushing aside her unease, B'Elanna moved closer to better partake of some juicy gossip. "Who?"
"You are the most prominent figure in my fantasies, especially during and after altercations, but on rare occasions I have also -"
"What? What did you say?"
"That you are the most prominent -"
"Me?" B'Elanna squeaked. "You fantasise about me?"
"On a regular basis." Seven stepped forward to counteract the step back B'Elanna had taken at her words. "Is there something wrong, Lieutenant?"
B'Elanna took another step back, only to have Seven follow, until they ended up pressed against the wall. "Have you never thought of acting on these fantasies?" B'Elanna squashed herself further into the wall. "Not that I want you to act on them. I didn't mean -"
"I was under the impression that you would rebuff any and all of my advances, if they were to be made real, although if you are telling me that I have erred in my assessment -"
"No, no, no erred." The heat in B'Elanna's cheeks and way her eyes had fixed on Seven's lips belayed her words. "Just curious."
"Indeed." Seven stepped back. "Therefore, do I take it that you have agreed to partake in my test panel?"
B'Elanna gulped. "Okay."
With a flicker of a smile, Seven gave a brief nod of thanks, before turning and swiftly exiting the room, leaving a trembling and confused B'Elanna in her wake.
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