Trouble with a capital
"Violence of any kind is not to be tolerated," Janeway fumed. "You are Starfleet officers and as such I expect -"
"I do not belong to Starfleet," Seven interrupted.
"Neither do I," B'Elanna agreed, even though it pained her to do so.
Janeway's voice deepened and the veins in her neck started to pop. "You are officers aboard my ship and, unless you want to get out and walk back to the Alpha Quadrant, you will conform to Starfleet protocols and -"
"Forcing either myself or Lieutenant Torres to vacate the vessel and attempt to 'walk' in a zero atmosphere would, by your Starfleet regulations, be considered murder and, as such, you would be stripped of your -"
"Shut up Seven!"
"You could maroon us on a deserted planet," B'Elanna offered helpfully.
"Stranding crew or passengers on technologically inferior worlds, where the lack of technology could be deemed detrimental to the health and safety of the individual, -"
"Such as abandoning a former drone on a planet without electricity and a Borg alcove."
"- would be considered an act of abuse, possibly akin to murder, unless said individual had been proven to be an actual threat to the lives and -"
"Will the two of you please shut up!" Janeway glared at them both. "You certainly picked a fine time to decide to work together," she fumed.
B'Elanna looked affronted. "We're not working together."
"Assault? Seven, I'm shocked."
"You're shocked," B'Elanna muttered, "I've got concussion."
"What happened?" Janeway pleaded, hoping, to the last, that there had been a mistake and her two officers hadn't be caught brawling in Sandrine's.
"Lieutenant Torres asserted the superiority of Klingon physiology over Borg enhanced body manipulation." Seven explained, disdain dripped from every syllable. "A flawed hypothesis, as I'm sure you are aware, and easily disproved by a simple test of physical strength and resilience."
"So you head-butted her?"
"Lower the force fields."
Janeway stood back and watched as her two officers exited their cells in the brig. Neither looked worse for wear which, she thought, was a pity, as a little anguish and discomfort would have done them both the world of good.
"Are you now prepared to apologise?" she asked.
"No," they said in unison.
With a sigh the captain ordered them back into their cells.
A security detail escorted Seven and B'Elanna into the captain's ready room, their sidearms at the ready, and vengeance clouding their minds. It had taken eight officers to subdue the two women and, once the fight was over, five of those officers had been rushed to the infirmary with various broken bones and bloody noses.
"You are dismissed," Janeway told the guards, only to be met with hesitation. "I said you were dismissed!"
As the men shuffled out the captain turned her ire on the women before her. Neither looked particularly affected by recent events, unlike the departing guards, but there was a certain level of tension in the room that signalled their trepidation at the dressing down to come.
"You have precisely sixty seconds to convince me not to have you both kicked out an airlock," Janeway growled, "and I don't care if Starfleet calls it murder."
Seven and B'Elanna exchanged glances and, for the sake of expedience, it was quickly decided that the engineer would do the talking.
"Seven and I were in the middle of a harmless competition when we were set upon by a gang of guerillas masquerading as security officers. I don't know what Tuvok's been feeding them but they attacked us like a pack of rabid dogs." Seven looked as if she was about to comment on the use of such confusing imagery but she wisely chose to stay silent and look aggrieved. "So naturally we defended ourselves."
"You're two steps away from the airlock," Janeway warned. "Seven, it's your turn."
"As Lieutenant Torres has already explained, we were accosted by eight security officers and reacted accordingly."
"Accordingly? You put five of them in the infirmary!"
"Their training in unarmed combat would seem to be inferior to ours," Seven commented. "I suggest Lieutenant Commander Tuvok revaluates his methods, or recruits a higher standard of officer."
Janeway glowered at the two, a facial expression that had seen much action since they entered her ready room minutes before. She had been optimistic, she supposed, in assuming the weeks since the last incident had signalled a cessation of hostilities between her two officers, although, for the life of her, she couldn't work out how their latest altercation had turned into a fight with security.
"You said you were having a harmless competition?"
"Harmless," B'Elanna agreed, her smile as false as Seven's apparent disinterest in the question.
"What kind of competition?"
B'Elanna sighed, "Who could throw the philandering helmsman the furthest without breaking his head?"
"Not again." Janeway read over the security report and sobbed.
"Tom has agreed not to press charges," Janeway informed her two officers. "Which, under the circumstances, I think shows remarkable restraint and maturity."
B'Elanna scoffed at the very idea of maturity and Tom Paris being mentioned in the same sentence but Seven had the good grace to keep quiet.
"Really, B'Elanna, I expected better from you." Looking down at her data padd, Janeway began to read through the list of items damaged during the latest fracas. It had been a doozy, by all accounts, with furniture flying this way and that, as B'Elanna and her, surprise, accomplice had gone to work on destroying most of Tom's possessions and scaring the man into next week. It was thoroughly unprofessional and something she would not tolerate. "I know break-ups can be difficult," she continued, "but wilful vandalism and destruction of property is not the answer."
"What is the answer?" Seven enquired.
"To a break-up?" With a simple cock of the head Seven transformed from penitent to student, her need to know superseding everything else. "If vandalism and property damage are not the answer, then it stands to reason that you know what is."
"She has a point," B'Elanna agreed.
Janeway took two deep breaths and tried to remember the good old days when Seven and B'Elanna were too busy trying to kill each other to play tag-team confound the captain. It was a sweet memory. Alas those days appeared to have come to an end and she was forced to wade back out into the quagmire of their complicity.
"Maturity, is the answer," Janeway insisted. "Level-headed maturity."
Seven looked to B'Elanna, who merely shrugged, before turning her scholar's mind to the problem. "I believe, under the circumstances, that I prefer our method."
B'Elanna smiled. "Destroy it all!"
"I suppose it's too much to ask that you go a whole month without being hauled before me for one violation or another?"
"Not at all," Seven assured the captain, "and if you would advise Commander Tuvok to keep a tighter leash on his men, I am confident that we could comply."
Janeway sent B'Elanna a dirty look, the 'leash' comment having a decidedly B'Elanna feel to it. With a sigh she leant back in her chair and asked the dreaded question, "What did you do this time?"
"Nothing," they said in unison.
Janeway's sigh tripled in volume. "When I look at the report," she tapped the data padd on her desk, "will it say 'nothing' as well?"
B'Elanna opened her mouth to reply but before she could form a word Seven had taken the initiative and retrieved the data padd to peruse its contents.
"Seven!" Janeway looked ready to burst one of her far too volatile blood vessels.
"Inaccurate," Seven decided, before passing the offending padd back to the captain. "I did not question Mr. Paris' lineage. Nor do I have any interest in the marital status or canine attributes of his mother."
B'Elanna hid a smile.
Janeway read through the document and, reluctantly, agreed with Seven's assessment. The former borg might have gone through something of a transformation over the past few months but it hadn't extended as far as crude or grammatically incorrect insults. She read further.
"You encouraged the crew to mutiny?" she asked B'Elanna, the disbelief evident in her voice.
B'Elanna snorted. "Not lately," she mumbled. "Look, Captain, this is a clear case of harassment. That idiot Jenkins is still pissed because we broke his nose the last time he stuck it where it didn't belong."
"He does have a rather large proboscis," Seven added.
Janeway shot her a dirty look. "Mr. Jenkins is a professional and, as such, I cannot believe he would stoop to making unfound accusations against -"
"But you can believe we're lying?" It was B'Elanna's turn to scowl. "Because it's either him or us and, I'm telling you now, it's not us."
"Lieutenant Torres and myself may have a reputation for volatile interactions but we are neither of us liars."
When couched in those terms Janeway had no choice but to agree. She might not have understood some of B'Elanna and Seven's recent activities but she had no doubts about their honour.
"You're dismissed." She tapped her comm. badge. "Ensign Jenkins to the captain's ready room."
Seven couldn't bring herself to meet Janeway's eye and B'Elanna was doing an admirable job of imitating the sun. Neither wanting to discuss, exactly, what had brought them to the attention of security this time.
"We hijacked a shuttle," Seven mumbled, her normally perfect diction submerged beneath a layer of embarrassment.
B'Elanna shrugged. "Sort of."
"How exactly do you 'sort of' hijack a shuttle?" Janeway demanded, her anger merely an affectation.
There was a moment's pause. "We locked the door and failed to release the door mechanism when requested to do so by security," B'Elanna explained.
The pause was longer.
"We did not hear their request." Seven looked up, for the first time, her cheeks tinged with red. "There was no intent, on either of our parts, to hijack the vessel."
Janeway wasn't sure that she wanted to know the answer to her next question. "Why couldn't you hear their request?"
"We were -"
"Busy!" B'Elanna hastened to interject. "Very, very busy."
At that point, Janeway decided that whatever the explanation, she really did not want to know.
B'Elanna and Seven abruptly put an end to their explanation and calmly awaited their captain's verdict.
"While I cannot condone the wanton destruction of property," she began, "as a Starfleet officer I have been trained to respect the cultural peculiarities of other species." A tiny grin worked its way onto her face. "I just never thought I'd be privy to a full blown Klingon mating ritual in the middle of Voyager's messhall."
"Seven? B'Elanna?" Janeway was confused. As far as she knew there had been no reports of violence, property damage or mutiny, but her two favourite officers were still standing before her in their 'deer in the headlights' pose, waiting on her wrath. "Is something wrong?"
"We wish to -"
"- get married."
Janeway balked, although whether from the request or the finishing of each other's sentence she wasn't quite sure. "Married?"
"No." Seven's response drew a baffled look from her captain and a petrified one from B'Elanna. "We are already married," she explained, "in accordance with Klingon tradition, but we wish to retake our vows, as stipulated by Starfleet protocols, and in the presence of our friends and colleagues."
"Yes," they agreed.
The two younger women exchanged a look and a fear that they had somehow managed to 'break' their captain.
"Captain?" B'Elanna took a step closer. "Kathryn?"
A smile slowly worked its way onto Janeway's face and, before either of her officers could escape, she quickly gathered them to her in an unaccustomed embrace. "Married," she echoed. "You're getting married."
Seven and B'Elanna wore identical looks of forbearance.
"Yes, Kathryn," said B'Elanna, "we finally figured out how to work together."
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