DISCLAIMER: No profit is intended in the writing of this story. Star Trek: Voyager is the property of Paramount and Viacom. Tomb Raider is the property of Eidos Interactive.
‘Where am I?’ was her first thought upon regaining consciousness, and the answer came swiftly: ‘In Deep Shit’.
She was lying on a slime-coated slab of rock, uncomfortably chill to Klingon physiology. Her hands were restrained, bound somewhere above her head, her flesh merging with the vines that grew into a tangled green cage around her. The more she struggled, the more their implacable hold tightened.
She could hear the click and whirr of her captors as they went about their sinister tasks. One of the sounds was coming closer, a foot dragging, slither-step, slither-step, slither-step, like the Tar-MaSok of her mother’s tales, come to devour her soul. She had to stare into the demon’s single eye and not blink, frighten it away with the eye-fire of a brave warrior.
B’Elanna turned her head towards the sound and screamed.
It was a Borg drone, grey mottled skin melting into black exoskeleton, a laser-optic burning red, thick tubular exoveins pumping greenish fluids. It stared at her with no anger or malevolence, only the indifference with which the entomologist impales a new specimen on the tip of a pin. The drone raised a cybernetic limb in front of B’Elanna’s face, cutting tools whirling into circular motion, their banshee screech slicing into her skull long before the blade touched flesh.
B’Elanna’s last thought was that she was going to kick Tom’s balls up his throat for this one.
The drone’s head exploded in a spray of blood and flying implants, falling to the ground like a defunct velocity disk. There was rapid series of thunderous detonations, reverberating off the stone walls until it sounded like the fusillade of an entire regiment. B’Elanna instinctively tried to cover her ears and the vines tightened yet again, as if sensing that their prisoner was slipping from their grasp. The feeling below her wrists went dead.
There was silence now, except for a final projectile ricocheting endlessly down a long passageway. Then she heard footsteps moving towards her; precise, refined heel clicks on the flagstones. B’Elanna realised who it was even before the intruder moved into her field of vision.
Seven of Nine studied the half-Klingon’s predicament with the same cold, detached look as the drone she had destroyed. Moving her hand up to B’Elanna’s wrists, she yanked sharply on one of the vines. B’Elanna felt her bonds loosen and slip away, slithering over the edges of the altar stone like blood worms fleeing the dawn light. She sat up, wincing as the circulation returned to her hands. "Thank you."
"It was a simple Soon rope puzzle, Lieutenant Torres. Any Vulcan child would have easily been able to free themselves."
"Well I guess I’m not a Vulcan child then," B’Elanna shot back. "Who the hell invited you onto my holodeck program anyway? Haven’t you heard of privacy? Oh I’m sorry, I forgot - privacy is irrelevant!"
"I came here to remove you from this escapist fantasy in which you are indulging, Lieutenant." The former drone viewed her surroundings with distaste. They were in the middle of an ancient temple, laid out in the dimensions of a perfect cube. Borg regeneration alcoves has been carved into the stone walls, pulsating conduits slithered out of cracks or hung from the roof like so many poisonous snakes. The entire place was lit with a sickly green glow.
B’Elanna snorted. "I can manage without your help." Swinging her legs off the side of the altar block, she dropped to the ground, heels jarring on the solid stone.
"Yes, I could see that," replied Seven, not bothering to hide her smirk. She was dressed the same as B’Elanna. Black shorts revealed her long slim legs, antique 20th century pistols were strapped to each thigh. A nylon webbelt with skull-embossed buckle supported pouches of tools and spare ammunition. Either Seven had dyed her hair or she’d adjusted her holodeck visual subroutine to give herself a long black ponytail, falling like a plaited rope between her shoulder blades. A tight cream-coloured T-shirt completed the ensemble. B’Elanna suspected that Seven wasn’t wearing a bra, but then again neither was she. Tom had insisted on that, for ‘authenticity’ or so he claimed. It sounded like a load of bullshit, but B’Elanna enjoyed the way Tom stared at her when the sweat outlined her breasts through the thin cloth, so she went along with it. Still, if her boyfriend had tried that same ‘authenticity’ crap on Seven just so he could ogle the Borg’s tits, she was going to knock him clear into next week!
One refinement of her own B’Elanna had insisted on were knee pads. Bugger authenticity, she was tired of skinning them.
Her pistols and equipment were laid out on another blood-encrusted stone slab. B’Elanna clipped the belt around her waist, fastening the leg holsters, sliding out a .45 automatic. She dumped the magazine and pulled back the slide. A single round was ejected from the chamber, bouncing once then rolling into a crack in the flagstones. B’Elanna did the same with the other pistol, checking the barrel and firing pin, then the feed lips of each magazine before loading them again.
Seven of Nine watched her with exasperation. "We have no time for this, Lieutenant Torres."
Seven of Nine frowned. "I do not understand."
"Lanna Croft. It’s my name in this program. It should be Laura actually, but Lanna’s close enough."
B’Elanna frowned. "It’s part of the GAME. We’re Tomb Raiders, didn’t Tom tell you ANYTHING?" She opened her backpack and removed a map of faded parchment, spreading it out on the altar. "Now where the hell was I?"
"Lieutenant Paris made a futile attempt to interest me in this holoprogram three months ago. He said it was a test of physical skill and mental agility. According to my subsequent research it was based on a computer game described by one early 21st century feminist multimedia critic as ‘a violent, puerile, masturbatory fantasy suitable only for those individuals in a permanent state of retarded adolescence’."
"Yup, that sounds like Tom all right." B’Elanna said, grinning as she clipped two hand grenades to her belt.
"This game is a foolish and irrelevant diversion. It is not real. You must come back to Voyager with me, now!" Seven of Nine grabbed B’Elanna’s arm, pulling her gently but firmly towards the exit. The Klingon hybrid snarled, dug her heals in to form a pivot, and swung Seven of Nine hard into the nearest wall. The impact made the ancient stones shift slightly, a faint rumble sounding in the depths of the temple as if in protest.
B’Elanna put her face inches from those blue-grey eyes, seeing the faint spark of surprise and fear in them - the former drone clearly wasn’t used to someone as strong as she was. "Listen to me you stuck up Borg bitch!" A cloud of dust rained down onto their heads. "I won’t have you or anyone else telling me what I do with my spare ti_"
There was another rumble, this time much deeper, and suddenly the wall Seven was lying against tipped backwards and they were both falling into darkness, an undignified jumble of flailing limbs and shouted Klingon curses as they tumbled down a long shaft, smooth stone and cold slimy moss gripped for tantalising seconds in a futile effort to slow their descent. Their impact with the water was like hitting a brick wall.
B’Elanna surfaced to pitch blackness, gasping for air. Treading water while trying to yank a cyalume stick out of her pants’ pocket wasn’t easy, but she managed it. Snapping the tube created a faint luminescence that revealed a dark grotto, stalactites pointing down at her like rows of descending teeth. A fast current was pulling her along.
Seven of Nine was floating on her back, hair and clothes plastered to her body. Definitely no bra, B’Elanna noticed.
"Are you all right? How come you don’t sink?"
Seven’s eyes shifted towards her. "If you are refering to my cybernetic implants, they are constructed from porous alloys so I maintain my natural buoyancy. Remain perfectly still, Lieutenant." Her hand lifted out of the water, a dripping black pistol pointed in B’Elanna’s direction.
"What the_?" yelled B’Elanna, ducking instinctively as a gout of fire exploded from the barrel and a bullet screamed past her nose. For a brief panicky moment she was submerged once more, coming up again in time to witness a ridged serpent’s tail vanishing beneath the inky black surface.
"Shit," muttered B’Elanna. "Your saving my ass is getting to be a habit."
Seven of Nine raised an eyebrow. "Does that mean we will end up copulating, Lieutenant Torres?"
"WHAT?" B’Elanna nearly swallowed a mouthful of the underground river.
"According to my research, in such adventures in which a ‘damsel in distress’ is rescued, the female concerned traditionally rewards her saviour by granting the individual her carnal favours."
B’Elanna suddenly remembered how many times she and Tom had ended this game by having sex. Mind you, it was usually after she had rescued him.
A faint roaring saved her from having to answer; B’Elanna felt her speed pick up as the current tugged harder at her body.
"Lieutenant Torres, I believe we are being pulled towards a __"
"I know what it is, swim dammit!" The two women struck out desperately for the side of the grotto. Their fingers clawed helplessly at the slick limestone walls, frantically scrabbling for a hold. As if in malevolent response the current strengthened its pull, sucking them backwards toward that ever-rising thunder. As if that wasn’t enough, Seven of Nine felt something very large brush against her legs. Trying to draw a pistol from a thigh holster whilst kicking as hard as she could proved extremely awkward. Before she could manage it an enormous green amphibian surfaced between them, its powerful legs and mighty tail easily holding it in place in the by-now raging torrent. B’Elanna threw her arm around the creature, holding on as tight as she could without restricting its movements. Seven quickly followed suit as the amphibian began to swim upriver away from the waterfall.
It eventually pulled them up on a gently-sloping gravel beach, lit by the rainbow phosphorescence of Bajoran firecrystals. To Seven, who could view them on a multispectral level due to her ocular implant, they looked incredibly beautiful. As beauty was irrelevant, she drew a .357 magnum Desert Eagle and prepared to dispatch the amphibian that would now undoubtedly try to devour them.
B’Elanna quickly knocked Seven’s hand aside, the bullet slamming into the gravel inches from the amphibian’s head. "Holy Kahless, don’t do that! That’s Captain Janeway!"
Seemingly indignant over this ungrateful response, their rescuer quickly vanished back into the water, leaving only a circle of expanding ripples. For the first time ever B’Elanna saw Seven look completely nonplussed. "Captain Janeway?"
"Trust me Seven," said B’Elanna as she tipped the water out of her boots. "You don’t want to know."
After that things got progressively worse. B’Elanna refused to even consider exiting the program until she’d finished it, so Seven of Nine had to play along in an attempt to conclude matters as quickly as possible. Her original assessment of the game as a frivolous diversion was proven correct. For no apparent reason they were required to slaughter endless hordes of Cardassian soldiers, Klingon warriors, Hirogen hunters, Vidiian organ harvesters, radioactive Malon scavengers, and an entire army of voracious tribbles that ate everything they came into contact with. Seven and B’Elanna had to negotiate the labyrinth of a Borg cube that appeared to have been constructed in a highly inefficient manner, talk their way past a mischievous Q who asked riddles based on quantum mechanics and 4th dimensional physics while making numerous sexist remarks about the large size of Seven’s mammary glands, construct a raft out of discarded shuttle parts which they then rowed across a boiling lake of leola root stew, and escape great packs of slavering targs. A particularly annoying exercise involved their finding the safe route through a minefield laid out according to a complex engineering theorem, while at the same time fending off the attentions of a manic Emergency Medical Hologram intent on measuring them both for a skin-tight biosuit.
"Lieutenant Torres, these scenarios are getting increasingly ridiculous!" Seven complained, as they were pursued down a tunnel by pon farr-crazed Vorik, who was flying after them with the aid of an enormous pair of pointed ears.
But finally, FINALLY, they arrived at their goal. Across a narrow ravine filled with lava (naturally, as if the fall alone wouldn’t successfully terminate their existence) lay their objective, the Borg central plexus which they had to infect with the individuality virus.
"Normally," B’Elanna muttered, staring down into the bubbling lava. "Tom and I swing across the ravine with his whip."
"I was not aware that whips are part of your mastubatory fantasies," Seven replied sarcastically, her breasts clearly showing through her, by now, sweat-drenched T-shirt. "Does Mr Paris ever die in this absurd holoprogram of his?"
"Now and then," said B’Elanna, digging through her backpack for a rope.
"Next time he does please freeze the program. I would like to come and watch." Stepping back a short distance, Seven hurtled herself full tilt at the edge of the ravine.
B’Elanna’s eyes widened in shock as the former drone cleared the gap in a single powerful thrust of her lengthy Borg-enhanced legs.
"Show-off," she muttered. Dumping her backpack on the ground, B’Elanna took several steps backwards, then charged at the ravine like a stampeding Terkusian carnasaur. As soon as her foot touched the rim B’Elanna leaped out for the opposite side, screaming:
Seven of Nine winced as B’Elanna dropped below her vision, slamming into the rocks beneath with an audible THUD! She looked over the edge to find the Klingon woman clutching desperately to a scraggly bush, a dazed look on her face.
"Do you require assistance, Lieutenant Torres?"
"Piss . . . off . . . you . . . Borg . . . petaQ!"
Slowly and painfully, B’Elanna began to haul herself up the rockface. After five minutes of grunting and cursing, she finally managed to reach the top to see Seven of Nine glaring at a Borg drone that had materialised out of thin air between her and the central plexus.
"I suppose you find this amusing, Lieutenant!" snapped Seven of Nine. The drone was a six foot-tall assimilated human female, staring coldly at her with an all-too familiar blue-grey eye. Without waiting for B’Elanna to catch her breath, Seven launched herself at her alter ego.
"Your technique is flawed," said Seven contemptuously, as she used a modified Tanyk Defense to block a series of consecutive strikes to her vital regions.
"It is you who is inefficient," replied the holographic drone, smashing her Borg limb against Seven’s face. "You have failed to co-ordinate your attack with your partner."
Seven retaliated with a Tsunkatse spinning wheel assault, alternating between leg and hand blows, varying the pattern so the drone could not anticipate her moves. "Her presence is not required."
"You lack harmony, cohesion, greatness," sneered the hologram, firing twin assimilation tubules at Seven’s neck. The former drone crushed them in her cyber-enhanced left hand, yanking hard on the destroyed conduits to pull them together.
"And you are a foolish, arrogant child," Seven whispered so that B’Elanna couldn’t hear it. She head-butted the Borg drone with unnecessary force, dropping her unconscious to the ground. Without a pause Seven of Nine stepped up to the central plexus, a towering cube worked from plates of shining bronze. She felt strong hands grip her shoulders and yank her back just in time to avoid being crushed by an iron portcullis slamming down from the roof.
Seven angrily shook off B’Elanna’s hands and fired her tubules between the thick bars, into the access node of the central plexus.
"Game complete," intoned the computer. "Score B’Elanna Torres: 6,489 points. Score Seven of Ni__"
"Cancel!" Seven of Nine spun around to see B’Elanna watching her with a crooked smile, clapping her hands silently in mock approval.
"I fail to see what is remotely attractive about this program of senseless destruction! Only an individual in an immature state of neo-cortical development such as Lieutenant Paris would possibly enjoy it!" Reaching down to the hem of her T-shirt, she yanked it over her head and threw it at B’Elanna’s face. "And if you wish to stare at my chest all the time, I will desist from wearing this ridiculous garment!"
B’Elanna snatched the shirt out of mid-air. "Well, maybe it’s because you’re not half-Klingon." She was aroused, Seven noticed, her nipples pressing against the thin material of her shirt. "I find it quite stimulating myself." B’Elanna used the shirt to wipe the sweat and grime off her forehead ridges, pressing it to her face and drawing in the scent. Her eyes dropped to Seven of Nine’s chest. A bead of sweat was running down the steep slope of her cleavage. B’Elanna leaned forwards and casually flicked it into her mouth with her tongue. Seven couldn’t prevent a shiver from running through her body.
"How was Unimatrix Zero?" asked B’Elanna. With a single lithe movement, she removed her own T-shirt, exposing a muscular brown body and petite, round breasts.
Seven didn’t want to talk about Unimatrix Zero. "Lieutenant Torres__"
"B’Elanna, the game is over. We can leave now."
The Klingon hybrid stepped close, invading her personal space. Her eyes were burning, breasts rising and falling with increased respiration. Seven made no attempt to back away.
‘I am selfish, greedy,’ she admitted to herself. ‘I enjoyed Axum’s kiss. I want to experience that feeling again.’
Their lips came together, B’Elanna’s tongue stroking with expert caresses along her own. A deep keening erupted from Seven’s throat and she slid her arms around B’Elanna’s slim waist, squeezing tightly, reveling once more in the explosive release of pent-up sexual energy.
When they parted, Seven’s nipples were as hard as diamonds. B’Elanna dropped her mouth to Seven’s breasts, eager to take one into her mouth. Seven quickly stepped backwards.
"B’Elanna, I am not yet ready for intimate relations." Her tone left no room for argument.
B’Elanna gave a deep growl, hugging her arms around her chest as if trying to restrain herself. "OK," she said in a surprisingly quiet voice. "I guess we’d better go then."
"Yes," replied Seven softly. Her back straightened, as if she’d come to a decision. "We must. At the count of five I want you to open your eyes. One . . . Two . . . Three . . . Four . . . "
". . . Five. Welcome back, Lieutenant Torres."
B’Elanna opened her eyes to find Tom looking down at her, an expression of deep concern on his handsome face. He gave a radiant smile. "Thought I’d lost you for a moment there."
"What the__?" She tried to sit up on the biobed, only to feel a sharp pain at the base of her neck, as if it was attached to something. B’Elanna’s head whipped around in time to witness twin assimilation tubules disappearing into Seven of Nine’s knuckles. "What the HELL are you doing?!" It all came flooding back to her: Unimatrix Zero, their mission to infiltrate the Borg cube, being assimilated . . .
"You weren’t responding to stimuli," Tom explained hastily. "We were trying to remove your cortical implants when you fell into a coma."
"A psychological withdrawal caused by the trauma of the de-assimilation procedure," stated Seven in cool tones. "It was necessary to use your interlink node to enter your subconscious and coax you back to reality."
"What?! You mean I had you prying around inside my head?!" B’Elanna was embarrassed and trying to cover it with anger, remembering all too clearly the feeling of Seven’s lips on her own. Or had that been a dream? She looked around Sickbay, seeing Captain Janeway propped up in bed, her head and arms wrapped in dermaplastic grafts. She winked at B’Elanna, sipping from a mug of coffee. Tuvok was lying naked under the genetronic replicator, eyes closed in meditation. Life support modules were plugged into his chest, taking over the functions of his missing organs and filtering the blood for remaining nanoprobes. The Doctor was staring intensely at a tank of biometric gel, in which a Vulcan kidney was growing.
B’Elanna raised a hand still covered in Borg armour and touched the side of her face, feeling scarred flesh and cold metal. "Oh Kahless, what do I look like?"
"You look beautiful," said Tom, kissing her full on the mouth, creating in B’Elanna a sudden stab of guilt. "Your mission was a success by the way. According to Seven the individuality virus has spread through half the Collective."
"That’s nice," said B’Elanna faintly, glancing sideways at the Borg. Seven was scanning her implants with a medical tricorder. Their eyes met, blue on black.
"So Seven," said Janeway from across the room, a mischievous smile on her face. "What’s it like inside my Chief Engineer’s head?"
Seven turned towards her. "There was too much Lieutenant Paris for my taste, Captain."
Janeway choked on her coffee. The Doctor smirked in approval. Tom adopted a wounded expression. B’Elanna glared at Seven and grabbed her boyfriend for another kiss.
Seven continued her scan of Lieutenant Torres, holding the tricorder and scanner so they would cover her chest region. She had always found her form-fitting biosuit a comfortable and efficient garment, but now it was proving to be an embarrassment, what with the way her nipples were poking through it.
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