DISCLAIMER: See Chapter 1

The Traveler
By H.W.

Chapter 15

Extra note. This chapter is NC-17 from start to finish. If you are not interested in that than you can skip this chapter and continue with chapter 16. You won't miss anything plot wise. If you are interested in NC-17 then please let me know what you thought of this. Also, this is not sweet and tender lovemaking in bed. Nothing bad, I think, but I thought you should know.


The bath had done wonders for B'Elanna. It had soothed her so much that she had actually fallen asleep in the bath for half an hour. But the moment she got out of the bath she was reminded of the fact that she hadn't seen Seven since their fight earlier that day. It had been the black silk bathrobe she had put on after drying that had reminded her of Seven. It was her favorite bathrobe, or better said, it was her favorite since Seven had seen it for the first time and had stated that it was 'aesthetically pleasing' to see B'Elanna wear it. That had been only moments before the coffee table had been christened. Since then B'Elanna referred to the bathrobe as her 'lucky' robe.

"Where is she?" B'Elanna asked out loud to the empty room. "Her shift ended two hours ago." The Klingon thought for a moment to simply ask the computer, but she decided against that because it felt as if she would be checking up on Seven. However, that didn't stop her from slowly starting to pace the room.

Ever since she and Zerisan had talked earlier that day about fighting with your partner, B'Elanna was looking forward to continuing the fight that had started in Engineering that day. So when half an hour later the doors finally parted to let Seven through, the first words the Borg heard were; "Where were you?"

Seven was about to explain that she had visited Naomi for a little while since she felt sorry for not being able to spend much time with the child lately. But when she saw the hotheaded Klingon standing there, hands on her hips, and only wearing that robe that Seven loved, the Borg quickly changed her reaction. "That is none of your business," She said while she walked past the fuming Klingon and put a padd she was carrying on the coffee table.

"Hey, don't you dare walk by me," The Klingon said while grabbing Seven's arm.

The blonde simply shook off B'Elanna's hand and went to the replicator. "Why not? You showed this afternoon that communicating is beyond you."

"Oh, so that is what this is about." B'Elanna said, waving her arms in an exaggerated gesture and stomping up behind the Borg.

Suddenly the Klingon pushed herself between the replicator and Seven, forcing the Borg to look at her. "Very well, if you want to make dinner then that is acceptable." Seven merely said after lifting her eyebrow and then moving away again, but not before giving B'Elanna the opportunity to see the want in those blue eyes.

"You better stop ignoring me, you stupid Borg."

"Why should I? The only thing you seem capable of saying is the same standard limited vocabulary. Listening to you saying the same thing over and over again is truly inefficient."

"You better watch what you're saying." B'Elanna growled, once again stalking after the Borg. "Or else I'm going to rearrange that glacier you call a face."

"Threatening me with your mediocre engineering knowledge is another show of your inadequacy in even basic communication."

At that the Klingon decided on a direct approach. "That was a low blow, you Borg." She gritted through her teeth and lunged herself as the ex-drone who had obviously not expected that maneuver and was tackled to the ground. After a few moments of wrestling, B'Elanna came out on top, straddling the blonde and breathing heavily. "Kahless, Seven, what a woman you are. I think I'll keep ya."

"Kiss me," Seven demanded and B'Elanna immediately obliged. Leaning forward, their lips met with passion and within seconds B'Elanna felt one of Seven's hands on the back of her head, pulling her even more into the kiss. When B'Elanna felt the tongue of her lover demanding entrance she willingly surrendered to that demand and didn't waste a second before she started using her own tongue to make love to Seven's. They parted for a moment to take the necessary air and then Seven willingly surrendered to B'Elanna who then took control of the kiss.

The Klingon moaned into her lover's mouth when she felt Seven's other hand drifting up her leg, conveniently shifting the loose robe up, and then B'Elanna moaned a second time when her lover started kneading her muscled cheeks.

With that, the Klingon decided that it was time to put her own hands to good use and started massaging the Borg's breasts. She laughed softly when even through the fabric of the biosuit she felt Seven's peaks immediately coming to full attention at her touch. She loved how responsive Seven's body was to her touch. "Let's go to bed," The Klingon whispered.

But Seven had other plans and her lover's words were enough to bring her back from her temporary leap of concentration. Without warning, the Borg pushed her lover off her and stood up. "If you think that I will let you have your way with me after the way you just treated me then you are sorely mistaken. Do you really think that I would copulate with somebody who just tackled me to the floor? I think that you should sleep on the couch tonight."

"What? Are you nuts?" B'Elanna asked and once again started following Seven. "You just got me hot beyond belief and you better take care of that."

"Only in your dreams," The blonde said with a sexy smile while she reached the wall behind the couch and she turned around. The place seemed random to the agitated Klingon but Seven had chosen that spot deliberately. With the couch that was standing a little more than a body length away being the closest thing, they would have enough room to play.

"No, no, no. You don't seem to understand, Borg. That is not open for discussion. Tonight you're mine. Even if that means that I have to take what is mine." By now they were standing almost against each other and they could both feel the body heat radiating off the other. B'Elanna could clearly see Seven's erect nipples showing through the fabric of the biosuit. A clear testimony to how aroused the ex-drone truly was.

"You should not claim as your own what you can not handle."

"Oh, I can handle you all right. You're mine and you will do whatever I say."

"If you want something from me, then you better be prepared to take it. For you will not be getting anything at all from me willingly tonight."

With that B'Elanna shoved Seven back and immediately followed, pinning the Borg against the wall. "I'm going to take what is mine now," She growled. Then she ignored the game for a moment and with a voice full of lust asked, "Have you any idea how worked up I am now? I'm only barely able to keep myself under control."

"Who said that you should control yourself?" Seven asked while she struggled a little bit against B'Elanna's hold and then pushed the Klingon away, thereby getting the Klingon back into the game.

With another growl, B'Elanna launched herself at Seven again, body slamming her back into the wall with enough force to knock the air out of the Borg's lungs. But with nowhere near the force to really hurt the ex-drone. "What the fuck gives you the idea that you can defend yourself against me? I'm in charge here."

Once again Seven struggled and pushed the Klingon away, only this time she took a good hold of B'Elanna robe and kept her at a small distance. "Maybe if you started acting as if you were in charge, I could actually believe that." The Borg's voice was more arrogant then B'Elanna could ever remember it being.

"Get your hands off me," B'Elanna growled through closed teeth in a tone that held many unspoken threats.

Seven let go of the robe, but obviously wasn't quick enough because B'Elanna brought up her own hands and pushed Seven's away, slamming them against the wall and holding them there. Using the rest of her body and her body weight, the Klingon once again pushed the blonde into the wall. "You think that's so funny, don't you? Torturing me like that? It is high time that you are put back in your place."

"As if you would have what it takes to put me in my place," Seven came back while struggling against B'Elanna's hold, but making sure not to use enough force to actually break free.

The Klingon growled again, she couldn't help it. Seven knew exactly what to say. Keeping the Borg's hands firmly pressed to the wall, B'Elanna pushed those hands lower until they were behind Seven's back and she could hold both hands in place with just one of her own. Using her now free right hand, she took a firm hold of Seven's hair and brought the blonde's head down. The Klingon claimed the lips of her lover roughly, demanding entrance with her tongue with an authority that Seven couldn't deny even if she had wanted to.

Abruptly the kiss ended and Seven's head was yanked back. "Apparently you don't understand. I own you, you're mine." B'Elanna's fingers traced Seven's lips. "These are mine." The Borg parted her lips slightly in response and suddenly B'Elanna felt one of her fingers captured between neat white teeth. "Do that and I'll make you sorely regret it." The words had been spoken in a soft whisper, but somehow that only gave the Klingon's threat more meaning.

Immediately B'Elanna felt the pressure of the teeth letting go. However Seven then began to use her tongue to make love to the finger inside her mouth. "Oh yeah, that's more like it, baby." The Klingon purred before she reluctantly removed her finger. She needed her hand for something else.

Suddenly Seven felt B'Elanna's hand between her legs, cupping her center through the biosuit and slowly rubbing up and down. The feeling tore a moan from Seven's lips and for a moment all pretenses of resistance fled from the Borg's mind.

"This is mine, all mine," The Klingon once again purred. Then she lifted her hand, putting more pressure on Seven's sensitive flesh, which caused the blonde to move her body up until she was standing on her toes. "Get down here and feel what I do to what's mine." B'Elanna said with a voice full of lust. She pulled Seven back down by the hands that she was still holding behind the Borg's body. She then started to put more pressure on the Borg's oversensitive bundle of nerves and was thrilled by the lustful grunt that Seven produced at that. "Tell me, who owns you?"

"No one."

B'Elanna smiled at the resistance and started to rub her hand a little faster. "My, you're swollen. You really want it," B'Elanna stated, knowing it to be the truth. "Who owns you?" She asked again just before she bit down on the soft skin of Seven's neck. Pinching, but not drawing blood.

"N... Oh, Lanna. You do. You own me. I am all yours. Please Lanna. I need more, I need you," Seven pleaded. She wanted to feel B'Elanna, to feel B'Elanna take her.

"I can smell you, you know. I can smell that delicious wetness between your legs. You know that." The Klingon said while she removed her hand from between Seven's legs and moved it up her body until she reached the blonde's breast and started kneading those hard. "I always can. Sometimes when we are in Engineering, I can smell you. Have you any idea what that does to me? To be standing in Engineering talking to Vorik, and I fucking know that one meter away you're standing, ready to take whatever I can give you." She moved her hand to the neck of the biosuit. "And you know what makes it even worse? That I know you are absolutely naked under this. That I just have to do this..." a ripping sound was heard when B'Elanna tore open one of the seams of the biosuit, knowing that not even she could rip the fabric itself. "... and I can have what is mine." A couple of more tears and what was left of the biosuit was hanging between Seven's feet and her wrist. B'Elanna realized that the sleeves of the biosuit were now trapping Seven's arms behind her. While this was not the intention, it pleased the Klingon nevertheless because that freed up her second hand.

Seven once again started to struggle, this time against her new captivity. While her legs were still pretty free, which would come in very convenient, she hoped, there was no way of really moving her arms unless she used more strength than she wanted. After a moment of struggling, she realized that this confinement excited her tremendously. She was now completely at B'Elanna mercy, B'Elanna truly owned her. She stopped struggling when she saw the Klingon taking a deep breath. Her excitement had not gone unnoticed.

Without a word, B'Elanna dropped to her knees and buried her face in Seven's overheated flesh, feasting on the Borg's excitement. Causing Seven to grunt approvingly. She was way past moaning.

B'Elanna put her tongue to good use, making sure that not a single drop of the aphrodisiac that was Seven's arousal went to waste. Finally she honed in on the source. For the moment the game was forgotten and there was only one purpose in life for the Klingon. Pleasing her lover. Using her hands she angled Seven's lower body a little bit away from the wall to gain better access and then immediately plunged her tongue as far as possible inside of Seven. B'Elanna simply loved the feeling of the Borg's muscles gripping at her tongue.

"Yes!" Seven said loudly when she felt B'Elanna entering her. She then spread her legs even further apart and angled her body a little more to give B'Elanna even better access. Never before had she been so glad for the rough soles on the shoes of her biosuit because their grip on the floor was the only thing keeping her up in this position. "Please, faster."

However, B'Elanna had other plans and moved her mouth to concentrate on the bundle of nerves that was begging for attention. Capturing it between two fingers, she attacked it ruthlessly with her tongue.

"Yes, Lanna." The Borg panted, trying to keep her legs steady. "Please, Lanna, just a little more. I am so close."

"You are?" B'Elanna suddenly asked, breaking all contact and standing up again. "Well, that was actually not what I had in mind for you, I got a little distracted." The Klingon then looked to the ignored nipples of the Borg, which seemed rock hard. A theory that B'Elanna quickly tested by pinching them. "Oh yeah. It seems that I neglected those poor guys, let me rectify that."

"Nooo. Please, Lanna. I am so close, I need release."

"Too bad. Live with it." B'Elanna grabbed a hand full of hair and then claimed the Borg's lips once more. "Taste that? That'll have to be enough for now. Because you can only have release when I'm good and ready to give it to you. Is that clear?"

"Y... Yes," Seven reluctantly agreed while B'Elanna concentrated on those full mounds. Kneading them and always pinching and rolling one bud while biting, sucking and licking the other. But only after a couple of minutes of this Seven pleaded again. "Please, Lanna, now. I can't stand it any longer."

Hearing Seven shorten her words was always a clear indication for B'Elanna and she realized that Seven really meant her words and immediately reacted. She put one of her legs between those of her lover, knowing that this would be more than enough for the highly aroused Borg. "I'm busy right now. If you want to come so desperately, you'll have to work for it."

Seven didn't hesitate and immediately brought her wetness down on B'Elanna thigh. This was the first time they had done this, but they both knew that it wouldn't be the last time. The sensation was overwhelming for both of them. For Seven to feel the muscled smoothness of B'Elanna's silk-like leg against the sensitive flesh of her womanhood, and for B'Elanna to feel the warm wetness of her lover coating her thigh. Both were sensations they wanted to experience more often. After a moment Seven finally started gliding along the surface she knew would bring her release and B'Elanna once again brought her mouth to the candy in front of her.

She simply couldn't get enough of Seven's mounds. The firm, yet incredible soft feel of them in her hands when she was molding them. The hard buds on top of them, standing as proud and erect as could be. B'Elanna felt like a kid in a toy store and couldn't help but bury her face in the valley between two of her favorite toys. She loved Seven's large breasts, lots to play with. And just as if Seven had been made just for B'Elanna, they were exactly the perfect size. She took a moment to taste the sweet skin between the Borg's mounds before concentrating on her nipples again. She took one of those perfect buds in her mouth and the feeling of the hardness of it against her tongue went straight to B'Elanna's center and she could feel herself getting even more lubricated than she already was.

And to top it all off, there was the incredible sweet torture of feeling her lover sliding over her thigh. "Kahless, I don't know what I did to deserve you, baby, but I swear to you that I will fight Kahless himself before ever giving you up."

"Uhg, umm. You won't have to, Lanna. I'm yours forever, forever."

"And I'm yours forever, Annika. You own me."

With that the Klingon decided that it was time to send her lover over. She put her hands on the Borg's hips and started setting the pace. "Come on, baby, I know you're close. Come for me."

Those words had the desired effect and with a last grunt Seven came. But it wasn't enough for B'Elanna. She immediately brought a hand to Seven's center and started rubbing the sensitive bundle of nerves while the Borg was still on the last wave of her organism. B'Elanna had only a sole purpose so within mere moments she sent Seven over a second time. The Klingon didn't mind the shout of 'Laaannaa' right by her ear at all since it had been what she was looking for. And just as always, hearing her lover shout her name had taken B'Elanna over the edge too.

Closing her eyes to concentrate, B'Elanna fought getting too caught up in her own release. Her lover was all that mattered to her at that moment and just as the Klingon loved bringing Seven to her peak, she also loved coaching her down. While she once again started nibbling and teasing those perfect breasts in front of her, she started slowing the pace of her rubbing and steadily helped Seven ride out the waves of pleasure.

Finally the Borg relaxed her muscles and leaned back against the wall while getting her breath under control again. "I love you, Lanna. You are my life, Kyamo."

Continuing to calm her lover down, B'Elanna shifted her attention to placing soft, soothing kisses all over her body. Working her way up to Seven's lips. Finally claiming those in a long passionate kiss. Then she brought her hand up and clean Seven's wetness of one of her fingers before once again sharing a long kiss with her lover. She then offered a second finger to Seven who gladly took the offer. "And I love you, Annika. You are the reason for my existence. You are more important to me than the air that I breathe."

They kept exchanging words of love with kisses until they both had calmed down enough. "I'm, umm, I'm sorry about the suit, baby." B'Elanna finally said while freeing her lover of what was left of the biosuit.

"Do not feel sorry about that, Kyamo. I have the pattern in the replicator for a reason. I... in situations like today, I... I actually enjoy it when you do that." The Borg explained in something that came close to a shy confession.

"Really?" The Klingon asked with a toothy grin. "That is good to know." But then she became serious again. "So, listen, why don't you put something on to keep me from temptation while we work out a compromise that we can offer to the Captain tomorrow."

"That is not necessary. We already reached a compromise," The Borg said while walking to the coffee table in a sensual way that left no doubt that she was trying to work B'Elanna up again.

The Klingon's nostrils flared when Seven came back to her. The Borg was wearing nothing but that sexy smile that was only reserved for B'Elanna. And she was walking deliberately slow to give B'Elanna a good view her extraordinary body, a body just begging to be touched.

But knowing that she also had a duty to the ship, B'Elanna somehow managed to concentrate long enough to read the information on the padd. "You made quite some concessions here, baby."

"As have you, love," The Borg said with that sexy smile. "I think those are acceptable compromises. Do you agree?"

"Yeah, first we enter the suggestions that the Followers gave us for enhancing the warp drive into the computer. And while the computer tests if Voyager can take a consistent cruising speed of warp 9.99997 we go work on your precious sensors."

"Lanna, if we succeed in reaching and sustaining a cruising speed that is almost warp ten then we need to upgrade 'my precious sensors' or else we might already be crushed in a black hole before the sensors can warn us that we are even nearing one."

"I know, Mesh, but still. We also need to adapt the inertial dampeners frequency. We could just as well do that instead of..." B'Elanna's words trailed off when Seven came closer. "...um, great suggestions, I'm all for them." She let the padd slip from her fingers. The compromises she made, they both made, already forgotten before the padd even touched the floor.

"Excellent," Seven said, standing so close to B'Elanna that their chests were touching, the only barrier being B'Elanna's silk robe. "In that case, answer me a question."


"Why is it that almost every time when you first make love to me, you end up keeping some clothes on?"

The Klingon laughed at that. "Maybe I am just to impatient. Come on, Annika. If you are standing before me like you are now. That look in your eyes, that smile on your lips..." B'Elanna took a moment to take a deep breath through her nose. "... your body so ready for me. Taking all of my clothes off simply takes too much time."

"Indeed. Then I believe it is time that we took this garment off."

"Going to bed, are we?" B'Elanna asked, more than ready for some lovemaking with her partner.

"We will go to bed, later. But first..."

Before B'Elanna really knew what was happening, Seven had taken her into her arms and was carrying her to the kitchen area of their quarters.

"... but first, I am going to show you one of the reasons I insisted on a kitchen table in our quarters."

"Did I already tell you how much I love how strong you are?" B'Elanna asked while she felt herself been lowered onto the table. "That is such a turn on for me."

"All my strength is at your disposal, Lanna. To give you pleasure, and to protect you. You are my life. You are the reason for my strength. The Borg may have altered my body. But I would die without your love."

"You never have to worry about that, baby. I'm yours for eternity."

"Thank you," The Borg said quietly before showing that sexy smile again. "Now, before I give you your massage and you can feel even more, I need a little snack to ensure my energy level..."

B'Elanna heard Seven pulling a chair closer and sitting down. Indicating that she was planning on spending some time on what ever came next. She started to grin, wondering and hoping. And with the next words she heard her grin only got wider.

"... so spread them, Lanna, I want my snack."

And with a delighted laughter, the Klingon obliged.

Chapter 16

Much later that night, B'Elanna was lying in Seven's arms while both of them were trying to fall asleep. Neither of them had any success in doing so. It was B'Elanna who started talking first. "So are we ever going to talk about this?"

"Talk about what?"

B'Elanna turned around in Seven's embrace until she was facing the blonde. She brushed a few strands of blond hair out of those beautiful blue eyes and then used that same hand to softly caress her lover's face. "Don't do this, Annika. Talk to me."

Seven sighed; capturing the Klingon's hand with her own she brought it to her lips. "What is there to talk about?" Seven asked while kissing each knuckle in turn. "It is the same as always. Once again things are done to me and I have no say in the matter. When we were talking to Tom yesterday somewhere in the conversation he said 'That is the story of my life.' Kyamo, that describes perfectly what is happening. My parents decided for me and went after the Borg taking me with them. Then the Borg took me and for eighteen years they decided every single move I made. Then Kathryn decides to rescue me from the Borg and then continued making decisions for me up till very recently. And now, now the Followers decide that my actions, what ever they may be, are going to bring their change." Suddenly Seven tightened her embrace, pulling B'Elanna even closer and burying her face in the Klingon's hair. "It has always been the same. Except with you." Seven pulled back a little bit so that she could look B'Elanna in the eyes, clearly showing the Klingon the tears she was shedding. "You do not decide for me. You leave my choices up to me. Lanna, oh my beautiful Lanna. You freed me."

"I make choices for you. I do things that affect you without asking you," B'Elanna disagreed while kissing her fiancée's tears away.

Seven smiled and took a moment to give her lover a long leisurely kiss. "That is different, Kyamo, and you know it. I LET you make choices for me. It is MY choice to let YOU decide. That is still me making the decision. I could just as easily disregard the choices you made for me. When you agree to a match of hover-ball of us against Tom and Harry, I can easily decide to not go, or tell them that WE are not coming. I can easily change that as to where I am making decisions for you. This however, I cannot change. I have no say in the matter. This is even more permanent than me being part of the Borg was. At least I could get severed from the collective, my individuality could be restored to me. With this, not even that is a possibility. Even if I were to say I refuse to be their Chosen and never want to see one of them again, they still would interpret that in some way or form."

"So how are we going to handle this?" B'Elanna shifted slightly, pushing Seven softly onto her back, and then using the ex-drone's shoulder as a pillow for her head.

"We are going to 'handle this' by pretending it did not happen."

The Klingon laughed softly at hearing that and she pinched Seven on the inside of her thigh before letting her hand start to roam over her lover's body. Not to arouse, but simply to touch. "That sounds very grown-up, love."

Seven shifted B'Elanna around again until the Klingon was lying fully on top of her. The Borg loved to feel the weight of her fiancée's densely muscled and compact body on top of her. "Lanna. This is going to change our lives, no matter what we do. And as I said, I do not have any say in the matter. However, I..." Seven stopped talking for a moment when she saw the message in B'Elanna's eyes. Then she continued talking only changing her words slightly. "We, my love, we. We do have a choice now. Either we can react to this by starting to behave differently. Leaving Voyager for example. Trying to run and hide from the Followers, which would be absolutely futile, as you know. Or we can go on with our lives just the way we were and react to whatever comes along the way. We will stay on board Voyager and continue to do our work. If the Followers see that as some kind of sign to do something, then that is up to them. But we will live our lives as if we did not know that. I know that this means that we will interact with the Followers on numerous occasions in our lives, but we will treat those encounters as if we did not know that the Followers make decisions based on those encounters."

"Um, Annika, you know that I love you, right? And that I'm thrilled that you talk about us instead of you. 'Us' facing this. Where one of us goes, the other goes."

"Yes, I know this."

"But could you do me a favor in the future?"


"Okay then," B'Elanna went on. She knew that Seven was right, so she decided to change subject and lighten the mood. "In the future, remember that changing the 'I' to 'us' for only a couple of times is enough to get the message across that you're not just talking about yourself. There really is no need to go on and on continuing to say 'us'. Because, honey, it sounded as if you were suffering from some kind of royal 'we'ness that would make even the Borg pale in comparison." B'Elanna tried to change her voice into a monotone tone, but didn't quite succeed because she couldn't stop grinning. "We are the Seven/B'Elanna entity. Your biological and technological distinctiveness will be added to our own. Resistance is futile. If you... yow!" B'Elanna started to laugh and giggle in a very un-Klingon like fashion while she tried to squirm away from long fingers that knew all her ticklish places only too well. After a moment of wrestling, she was finally able to suck in a deep breath and continued as a warrior in the midst of a battle. "... if you think the Borg were bad just wait till you get a taste of us. You... YOW!" Suddenly B'Elanna, who had been lying on top Seven just a second before, found herself pinned in place on the bed by a very beautiful, and very naked ex-drone who was looking down at her with that certain fire raging in her eyes.

"Oh, believe me, Seven/B'Elanna entity. I will most certainly be getting a taste from you." Seven leaned in closer, just barely brushing her lips against B'Elanna's. "You have succeeded very well in closing the subject we were just talking about. But you do realize that now I want you again. And I am going to take you."

"Oh, what a horrible price to pay. Will I ever survive?" Seven leaned down once again, but this time didn't move back up again. They started to exchange small kisses, kisses that quickly became longer and more passionate. B'Elanna brought one hand onto Seven's back and put the other on Seven's head. All in an effort to pull the Borg even more closer against her. When they finally broke apart for some much-needed air, B'Elanna spoke up to say how she wanted their lovemaking to progress before things moved too quickly on their own. The Klingon in her was always close to the surface when B'Elanna made love to her fiancée. "Make love to me, Annika, slow, very slow. And very tenderly."

Seven softly traced the ridges on B'Elanna's forehead before leaning in for another kiss. "Gladly, my love."


Seven nodded shortly to the operator in the transporter room before stepping out of the room and into the corridors of Voyager. She had just spent several hours talking with Empress Shadeen and by now Seven had to admit she really liked the woman. She realized that a friendship was starting to form between Shadeen and herself. They had already moved passed the stage of 'Empress' and 'Chosen.' Now when they talked it was simply Shadeen and Seven. Talking with Shadeen really helped Seven with coming to terms with her fate. Of course B'Elanna was always there for her, giving her strength to face whatever life had in store for them. But it had been Shadeen who had made Seven understand that she had truly made the right decision. Living her life as if she didn't know that whatever she did would influence what the Followers did was exactly what they wanted from her. Seven thought back to a part of the conversation she had just had with Shadeen.

"That is a wise decision. And an approach we sincerely welcome. Because by acting as if you did not know that you are the Chosen, you actually behave like a perfect Chosen. Your actions and decisions should be free, because that is what guides us. Your actions and decisions should not come out of fighting your destiny."

Seven had sighed after hearing that. "But, Shadeen, then why let me know in the first place? Your race has the capability to follow me the rest of my life without me ever finding out. Then why put me through this?"

Shadeen had put her hand on Seven's shoulder, guiding her down one of the paths in the park that was pretty much centered in the middle of the Imperial battle cruiser. A battle cruiser that contained entire families, including children. "Because, my friend, we had to give you that choice. You cannot influence the fact that we make decisions on what you do, but you can choose to deliberately do things you would not have done otherwise. Those things you would not have done otherwise, but would have done knowing that you are our Chosen might have been exactly the very reason why The Traveler chose you to be our Chosen."

Seven was brought back to the present by a crewmember walking past her. No, she had to admit, now on the fourth day of the journey to the Follower's Homeworld, the shock had worn off and she had pretty much come to terms with the fact that the Followers saw her as their Chosen. Now that she realized that she could keep on living her life in a normal way, coming to terms with this development was something she could do. She still didn't like it, but at least she could accept it. Besides, there were positive sides to the recent developments. She herself was becoming friends with Shadeen, the Empress had already called her 'my friend' on several occasions. B'Elanna, on the other hand, was forming some kind of relationship with Zerisan, and even though it was still relatively early to talk about friendships, both Seven and B'Elanna thought they had found a friend in the Imperial couple. Another positive side was the fact that in the talks between Janeway and Empress Shadeen, Shadeen had already agreed to help Voyager on its journey home. Even though the Empress had not promised to help Voyager get all the way to the Alpha Quadrant she had said that this certainly was a possibility. The conduct of the Voyager crew during the two week shoreleave on the Followers Homeworld would be a deciding factor on how much help the Empire would give. That news had of course been shared with the Voyager crew and they knew to be on their best behavior during the upcoming shoreleave. They knew that for once getting home wasn't a mere wish. The only thing that separated them from home was two weeks of good behavior. Nobody was going to ruin this chance.

When Seven had almost reached the turbolift, she heard a angry voices up ahead. Several paces more and she saw what the commotion was. Three Followers stood before the turbolift door, one of them she easily recognized as Carizon. It was his voice Seven had heard, his voice and the voice of Ensign X. The woman who was already relatively short for human standards came only up to the chest of Carizon who was big even for Follower's standards. But that didn't stop the temperamental woman from giving as good as she was getting, her voice on occasion even drowning out the strong voice of Carizon. "Look, you big bag of bones. I don't care who you are. Because apparently you are too stupid to even understand the meaning of two words. So let me spell it out for you 'turbolift' and 'maintenance.' See? Turbolift maintenance. I'm doing turbolift maintenance. Since I'm doing maintenance on the turbolift, the turbolift cannot be used. It is easy. The word combination turbolift and maintenance equals a nix on its use. So in other words you can't use it. It is a big no-no. Out of order. Under construction. Repairs in progress. Any of that ring any bell or is that big head of yours only filled with air?"

After hearing that Carizon apparently had had enough and he took a good hold of Ensign X's tunic and lifted her up until they were face-to-face, which left the feet of the Ensign dangling a meter from the ground. Carizon was just about to speak when Seven spoke up.

"Release her."

Carizon turned around to look at Seven but continued holding the Ensign up in the air.

"You heard her, you big dork. Let go of me." To emphasize her words, Ensign X started kicking Carizon as hard as she could.

Carizon once again looked back to Ensign X and then stretched out his arms so that her feet could no longer touch him.

Seeing that Carizon did not do as she said, Seven brought up her hand to activate her communicator. But before she could, her hand was captured by one of the other Followers while the third Follower took away the communicator before she could bring up her second hand in an attempt to activate it.

Carizon once again looked back to Ensign X and then after a moment simply opened his hands, letting her dropped to the floor. However Ensign X's freedom was short-lived because she was immediately captured by the Follower who had taken Seven's communicator away. "Well if it isn't the precious little Borg drone." Carizon said while taking a step closer to Seven. "I have seen how you are worming your way into our Empresses' favor. Of course you can understand I cannot allow that to continue and now I have the perfect opportunity to do something about that. I have two witnesses who will swear on their warrior oath that you pulled a phaser on me, wanting to kill me because I saw through your plan of trying to gain a position of influence with our Empress. And since you will be dead there is only this... human left to say otherwise. Perfect, isn't it? Because I have witnesses the Empress can't do anything but believe me. And your Captain will of course believe her Ensign here. There goes the good behavior. There goes Voyager's ticket home. Beautiful."

Seven didn't understand why Carizon had told her his plan, but she did know that she had to get away so she turned around and start running. But she had only taken a couple of steps before Carizon's voice stopped her. "Oh, well. Then I just have to kill the Ensign here. Which is just as good. Three warriors swearing on their warrior oath that they saw you killing her because she overheard you planning to make the Empress negotiate with the Borg. The poor Ensign here will be dead long before you can get back with help.

Seven turned around to face Carizon and simply stated, "Release her."

Carizon made a gesture that Seven should get closer. "Get over here and I will let her go."

Ensign X managed to push the hand that had been over her mouth to keep her quiet away long enough to shout, "Seven, don't do it. He is going to kill you. Run, get awaymmfff." Once again a hand firmly covered her mouth.

Seven once again came a step closer. "Give me your word that you will let her go," She demanded. Knowing partially from her Borg knowledge, and partially from what B'Elanna had told her, that to a Follower his or her word meant everything. More binding than any contract.

"I give you my word, Borg. I will let her go. Now, get over here. I'm even going to give you a fighting chance." Immediately after saying that Carizon laughed, "Of course, we both still know you are going to die."

"I know." Seven agreed while taking a defensive stand. Seven was surprised to see that Carizon gave no intention of actually engaging her. Instead he kept talking.

"I AM going to kill you."

"I know that I cannot win a fight with you. But I cannot allow you to terminate the life of a person from my collective."

Carizon pulled his warrior knife from his belt and came closer, ready to strike. "Come on, Borg, don't tell me that you are really willing to give your life for one of the crew. For... her."

"I am willing to give my life for each and every member of my collective. Whether I truly know them or not. Whether I like them or not. Ensign Xikythzmitriqvas over there has just recently moved in with her fiancée. I will not allow you to destroy their happiness when I can prevent that. Especially since your problem is with me. Now attack so that I can defend myself with honor."

But Carizon didn't attack. Instead he stepped back and put away his warrior knife. He looked Seven in the eyes for a moment before lowering his own eyes. "My apologies for putting you through this and for my recent behavior towards you. Unfortunately, it had to be done. Forgive me, Chosen."

Seven didn't realize the importance of the fact that Carizon had lowered his eyes for her, but once he looked up again she could see that his whole demeanor had changed. He suddenly looked a lot friendlier. Seven was glad to see that Ensign X had been released and was given both Seven's and her own communicator back. The Ensign wasted no time getting away from the Followers and quickly handed Seven back her communicator. "Explain." Seven demanded while putting her communicator back on.

"Allow me." A well-known voice behind her suddenly said. Seven turned around to see Shadeen walking down the corridor together with Zerisan, Danzoc, and Janeway.

"I'm sorry that I could not tell you about this, my friend." Shadeen said to Seven before looking at Janeway. "And I apologize to you for the short notice and giving no further explanation."

"Then how about giving that explanation now?" Janeway asked shortly. She was not at all pleased with the fact that Seven and Ensign X had been threatened. Especially on board HER ship.

"Certainly." Shadeen agreed. If anybody found it strange to have that conversation in the middle of a corridor, nobody let on to it. "It is actually quite easy to explain. We have explained to you all about the Chosen and what that Chosen means to us. There is one thing however we did not tell you." Now Shadeen looked to Seven. "What I told you is true. You can go on living your life the way you want. But what you do not know yet is that unless you object, you will be adopted into our race. That is also one of the reasons you had to know that you are the Chosen. But to be adopted into our race, you have to pass two tests. One at a later stage, and one you just passed. Of course I cannot tell you about the test that is still to come somewhere in the future, but the test you just passed was to see if you were willing to give your life for others."

Ensign X suddenly spoke up. "Everybody knows that Seven already risked her life on several occasions to save Voyager. You could have saved yourself this test of yours."

Empress Shadeen looked down at the short woman that somehow managed to possess a presence that rivaled that of a Follower. "Ah, but Ensign Xik... Xikyth... Xiky..."

"Xikythzmitriqvas," Seven helpfully offered. She and the ensign herself were the only ones actually capable of saying the name without mistakes.

"Right, Ensign X," Shadeen said, giving up on trying to pronounce the name. "We know that Seven would give her life for Voyager. But what we had to know was whether she would give her life for a single person of the crew. Whether she would still save your life if she knew for certain that it meant her own death. And as for you, Ensign. Since you were unfortunately caught up in this test, I would like to make it up to you, but how? Maybe..."

Shadeen was interrupted by Carizon. "My Empress, a word with you, please."

Shadeen nodded her agreement and they both stepped away and spent a minute whispering so quietly that not even Seven with her enhanced hearing could make out what they were saying. Finally Shadeen came closer again. "The last couple of days Carizon here has been in your messhall on several occasions and he just informed me of something he has overheard. It appears that you are wishing that you and your fiancée could be home on Earth when you get married. I now give you my word. When shoreleave is over Voyager and its crew will be brought all the way to the alpha quadrant. No less than three days away from earth at the most. The journey itself will not be longer than one month at the most."

Ensign X didn't know what to say. She realized only too well that this meant that THIS chance of getting home would NOT disappear in front of their eyes. The Empress herself had given her word. Voyager would be home within six weeks at the most.

While Ensign X was trying to find words to say something, Empress Shadeen was thinking of what else Carizon had just told her. He suspected that the second test was well underway already. Unfortunately, Shadeen knew that the second test was something they could not influence. That was entirely up to the Voyager crew.


Meanwhile only a few decks away Chakotay was pacing in his room, thinking and planning. He realized that his window of opportunity was very small. Just a couple of hours. Carizon had told him that there were no trans-warp speeds allowed within the Followers solar system. So the few hours that they would be traveling at normal warp speed were his only chance. Once they reached the Followers Homeworld everything would be too late.

He knew that the next day would be the day to act. It would be his only chance.


A few hours later, Janeway was pacing through Astrometrics. "Do you believe that? A few days ago they were preaching to me about how they thought I would interfere with their business. And now look, they're talking about a Chosen, their conducting some type of test on board MY ship without telling me up front."

While she kept pacing back and forth, she occasionally looked up at the blonde standing on the higher level of Astrometrics. *Like she's standing upon a pedestal. God, she is so beautiful. Standing there, patiently looking down while I blow off steam.* The thought snuck into Janeway's mind without her being able to stop it... if she had wanted to. But she had given up on that fight long ago. It was impossible not to think of her, she always thought of her.

"I mean, I can understand that they really didn't have time to warn me. I really do believe that Shadeen told me as soon as she herself found out that the test was being conducted. But my point is that they could have told me that soon there would be a test." Janeway stopped pacing and tried to calm herself. Which didn't help at all of course. "They should have warned me," She finally said, considerably louder than she had intended.

"That is not leader-like behavior, Captain," The blonde said coolly while she finished the test she was conducting, shut down the sensors and then joined Janeway on the lower level.

Janeway looked up into those beautiful grass green eyes and saw the amusement shining in them. "I'm glad you find this funny, I for one, am not very amused. I hate being left in the dark. I don't think thmmmm..." Janeway's words were being cut off by soft lips that covered her own. "If you think that by kissing me I will forget all about this then..." Another kiss interrupted her. "Then you might just be right. Kiss me again."

Rebecka was only too happy to oblige. It was so rare that Kathryn would indulge her like this, always stating that the risk of being discovered was too great.

Janeway sighed and leaned softly against her lover. "I don't know anymore. I just can't seem to find the right way to handle these people. First I'm being too stubborn, then I'm being too straightforward, then I'm being too political. I don't know, I really don't. The negotiations I'm having with Shadeen are really just standard formalities. But I'm not of any real influence. It's B'Elanna and Seven who really are building relationships. They are doing more for the Federation than I am with my negotiations. I simply don't understand what's so different with these people."

The first time that Janeway had ever opened up like that to Rebecka she hadn't really been prepared for it. To have the mighty Captain Kathryn Janeway tell about her problems. But somehow Rebecka had managed and because of that, she had also been the person Janeway had gone to the next time she needed to talk, and the time after that. Slowly things had started to build between them and six months later things had finally progressed to them becoming lovers. So Rebecka did as she always did. Say what she thought without bothering with the fact that she, an Ensign from the lower levels of Voyager, was actually giving the Captain advice. "Maybe the difference is that this time you are not the person the other party is interested in. Normally they want to speak with the Captain, the pack leader, the alpha bitch, the ruler of the collective, or what else you have been called. But this time they are interested in Seven and B'Elanna. I'm sorry to say this, Kathryn, but I think this time you're just something they have to deal with because the chain of command demands as much. I really don't think they would put up much of a fight if you were to say that you would leave negotiations to B'Elanna and Seven."

"You know, I think that you're right," Janeway agreed. "That sure would explain a lot. In the beginning they were trying to see who they found interesting. Now they have made their decision and they have found people more interesting than me."

Rebecka pulled Janeway closer against her. "Well, I like B'Elanna and Seven. But if you ask me, the Followers have it all wrong. To me you are the most interesting person on the ship. In the universe. I love you, Captain Kathryn Janeway. And I would choose you to talk with over anybody else, any time.

They kissed again, and continued to do so while Janeway talked between the kisses. "And I love you..." She lowered one hand to the small of Rebecka's back, and then lower to give the blonde's shapely backside a soft squeeze. "...and that is something I actually wanted to talk about."

They were interrupted by the sound of the doors to Astrometrics opening up. Automatically they both looked at the entrance to see Jennifer Delaney standing there, looking at them with her mouth hanging open in surprise. "S... so... sorry. I'm, I, I'm going... bye." And with that, Jennifer was gone.

Rebecka started to move away from Janeway so that she could follow Jennifer. "Damn, I forgot all about shift change. I..." She stopped talking when she noticed that Janeway wasn't letting go of her. "Kathryn. Let me go, I can still catch up with her."

Janeway only smiled at her, glad that she had already made her decision. As a matter-of-fact, she was just about to tell Rebecka when Jennifer had showed up. "Don't worry about it, love."

"But Kathryn. We're talking about Jennifer Delaney here, who is involved with Tom Paris. If I don't catch her now, then the whole ship is going to know in five minutes."

"I know," Janeway agreed. "But I was going to talk to you about something before she showed up. I haven't told you this yet, but because the Followers used Ensign X in their test, they made it up to her by promising that they would bring Voyager home. No more good behavior, no more 'maybe' home. Rebecka, it's finally happening. Within a few weeks, we are going to be home."

Rebecka didn't realize that Janeway wasn't finished yet, so she took Janeway's momentary silence to be the end of her statement. And it hurt. "So, now it doesn't matter anymore that the crew knows that you hump an Ensign to get your relief? Now they can talk about us?"

Janeway was surprised by Rebecka's words and they cut her deeply. But she could understand why her lover would think that. And she realized that she had truly waited much too long already. But no more. "No, love. You don't understand," Janeway said softly in that tone of voice that she knew Rebecka loved. "I have been thinking about us. I know that you want to tell everybody, but you respected my wishes of keeping this between us. Because of what's happening with the Followers, we haven't really had time to talk the last couple of days. I wanted to talk to you, to let you know that you could tell people if you wanted. But now that its certain that we're getting home, I want to do something I should have done a long time ago. Rebecka, I know it's only a couple of weeks before we get home and we all have to make decisions on what to do with our lives. Because of that, I will not ask you to marry me, but I want do something in those weeks until we get home that I should have done a long time ago. I want us to live together. Rebecka, my love, will you move in with me? I know that it's not the same now that we know we're going to get home. I mean, who knows what will happen with Voyager? What will happen with me? With you? But I want us to live the last weeks on Voyager like we should have already. Together in the Captain's quarters."

"Yes," Rebecka said with a broad smile and tears of happiness running down her face, only to be kissed away by Janeway.

"Yes? You will move in with me?" Janeway asked to clarify.

Rebecka didn't even bother to try suppressing the laughter bubbling up from deep inside of her. "Well that will certainly be convenient," She agreed. "But what I meant, is that yes, you dimwit. Yes, I will marry you."

A moment later, Rebecka was glad that nobody else was in Astrometrics. Because she was certain that Janeway didn't want anybody else to know that she had fainted because her lover had agreed to marry her.


Chakotay was tossing and turning, trying to get to sleep. He knew that he needed his sleep now more than ever. He needed to be wide awake in ten hours. Because his opportunity would be there. They would drop out of warp, Seven would be monitoring things from Astrometrics, and he himself would be making a final round of the ship to make sure everything was in order while Janeway would be commanding everything from the bridge.

He knew his one and only chance had arrived.

Part 17

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