Myth

by Lan

possibly written sometime 2001

 

Disclaimers:  I don’t own Janeway, Seven of Nine, or the whole Voyager complement.  Paramount owns all things Trek.  I’m just borrowing a few characters.  No profit here for me, folks.

Premise: Okay, this was supposed to be a happy holiday story.  But it seems that I can’t follow instructions very well.  So it’s become a short action story that happens to occur during a wintry holiday.   Janeway and Seven are forced to participate in a wintry revelation on a world driven by prophecy.  Best I can do, I guess!  ;-p 

Let me know what you think!  Please send comments or rants to me at Lan8@erols.com.

Thanks for reading!

WEB MISTRESS COMMENT 01/29/04: This is an old story and I don’t know where the writer is at the moment or if the email address works.


 

Air rushed from the sparkling gap in the crystalline rocks, and the believers shook as fear uncurled in their breasts.  The priestess gazed down upon them, a small smile curving her lips.  So typical, she thought with disdain and triumph.  The day of Cam will be upon us soon, and the powers of the universe will be at our disposal.  There is nothing we won’t be able to do.

The gap began to bubble and emit small flames.  During its periodic appearances through the ages, some called it Dawn’s End, while others christened it The Sacred Tear.  Stories about it abounded with fantastical descriptions of mysterious creatures of beauty, able to fly and draw light and dispense energy with the smallest of gestures.  But the last appearance had been five hundred Passings previous, and only a small group of Wicchais continued to cling to the ancient prophecies.  And of this select group, a still smaller number accepted the existence of a goddess within the gap.  A goddess who would be able to turn desire into reality, love into unending lust, and death into life itself.  


Pale blue eyes turned upwards in delight, as high winds tumbled hundreds of small ice flakes from cliff sides onto the blonde head.  Off to the side, a smaller, auburn-haired woman, trim in her compact insulated uniform, watched with an indulgent smile, happy to see her wife clearly enthralled by the newness of real snow. 

“Wait till the blizzard comes in a few days,” she teased, her smile widening, “then we’ll see how much you really enjoy this weather.”

Seven of Nine turned and offered a small, stubborn smile.  “It is wonderful, Kathryn.  Perhaps I should accompany the others on their skiing expedition.”

“Oh really?  And miss the Wicchais’ special Coldfall celebration?”

Seven moved to her wife with an easy grace, her ice-blue eyes warming with affection, her generous, full-lipped mouth puckering with undisguised desire.  She caught the smaller in her arms, embracing her tightly.  “I was being facetious, my wife,” she said softly, drawing their faces closer together, enjoying the sudden change in Janeway’s breathing.  “I would not wish to miss this opportunity.  After all, this alien celebration was fortunate to coincide with our wedding anniversary.  It will be one more reason to celebrate.”

Seven bent her head, warming Janeway with a tenderly passionate kiss, loving the way that the smaller woman seemed to melt into her body, every curve fitting precisely in an intoxicating fashion. 

The captain groaned in mock surrender, before pulling away, somewhat breathlessly.  “What you do to me,” she whispered, then hid her face in Seven’s neck.  Janeway felt her wife smile once more, and they hugged more tightly.

“Come on,” said the captain, peering up adoringly at the blonde woman, “let’s dress fabulously for the celebration.  Give them something to remember.”  And she leered elegantly for effect. 


The priestess watched the festivities unfold from her perch high above the formal square.  Lithe and tall, with a fall of thick black hair that accented a narrow, severely beautiful face, Aleyna was a priestess of the Ladnuf Order, ordained in that post for three years now in the aftermath of the mysterious, premature death of Arch Priestess Olai.  Few worshipers of the order doubted that Aleyna had a hand in that death; yet even the most dogged could not produce a single shred of evidence to counter her ascent.  And Aleyna’s consolidation of power had fully cemented her hold on the order, with Olai’s most fervent allies suddenly cut from power and moved to minor posts around the sector.  It was a most efficient use of force — and done so gracefully, so elegantly, and so firmly that resistance to Aleyna seemed to melt like snow in fire. 

Now, Aleyna’s attention was focused squarely on attaining the power of Dawn’s End, which, according to the most ancient and sacred prophecies, should be maturing sometime during the Rite of Coldfall.  She smiled thinly, a humorless exercise that served to chill her black eyes even further. 

Her eyes followed the two off-world females at the center of the Voyager procession.  Captain Kathryn Janeway and Seven of Nine.  The commanding officer and her trusted Borg subordinate.  The leader and her wife. 

Aleyna chuckled coldly.  This too, she thought with pleasure, was foreseen by the prophets:  An explorer and her treasure. 

Ah, yes, Aleya reflected languidly, her keen eyes sweeping over Seven.  The blonde wore a silky sapphire-blue dress, her creamy shoulders exposed and a long slit up on the left leg.  When she moved, her long legs seemed to flow in and out of the dress with a grace that made many in the crowd pause to admire.  In the shades of night alleviated only by flame light, the Borg implants seem to bejewel her body, flashing dully on her face, arms and legs.  Treasure.

Then, the captain turned her face to the sky.  Their eyes met briefly, although Aleyna was unsure whether or not the human was able to make out her form from such a distance.  But she shrank into the cliff side, inexplicably shaken by that brief connection.  She shook herself, cursing her own paranoid reactions. 


“Love, you are so beautiful.  I’m glad you wore that dress,” whispered Janeway, her eyes sweeping proudly over her wife.

Seven smiled faintly.  “In truth, I care only that I am here with you.  You are the most beautiful one at this gathering, Kathryn.”

The captain blushed lightly, her eyes self-consciously casting down to look at her own choice of clothing.  Encased in a deep-red slinky gown, with one shoulder bare, the light material seeming to caress her skin with each movement.  The color of the dress, thanks to its special material bought during a brief layover in the Xynox sector, appeared to blend into the skin of its wearer, sometimes, given the right lighting, even creating the impression of a chameleon skin.  She shivered under her wife’s appraising eye.

“Captain!  We are delighted that you have joined us for this celebration,” cried a jovial Counsel Jonesi, the planet’s top ambassador.  He moved forward eagerly, clearly enjoying the two women’s aesthetic appearances, and offered his hands to both women.  They grasped each hand, in the tradition of his people, and continued their progress towards the seating area.

Janeway smiled warmly.  “We are pleased to be invited for this event.”

“Yes,” added Seven, “it coincides with a very special day for us.”

“Really?” asked Jonesi, turning curiously to look at Seven.  “What is that, if I may inquire?”

“This is our second wedding anniversary,” asserted the Borg proudly, her eyes noting Janeway’s light flush with amusement. 

“Well, that is wonderful!” declared Jonesi, his hands tightening joyfully.  “Then you must be sure to enjoy yourselves completely.”  He paused at the end of a row of tables.  “I must leave you now, but here is your table.”  He gestured grandly at the long, stone table, which was framed by a series of plush, high chairs.  Several guests already were present, and they all nodded formally to the three newcomers. 

“You sit in esteemed company, I am afraid,” added Jonesi with a conspiratorial squeeze.  “Our President and her advisors will be to your left, and on your right will be representatives of our most powerful religious orders.”

“Indeed,” murmured Janeway, her eyes taking on a new gleam.  “Politics and religion…this should make for a fun evening.”

Seven resisted the urge to roll her eyes. 


The evening proceeded slowly, with formal introductions taking up the better part of an hour.  After that, a delightful procession of small meats and delicacies were presented to the table, so much so that, by the time that the main entrees were served, Janeway was forced to take only small bites.  She stifled a groan, cursing herself silently for eating far too much.  She sneaked a glance at Seven, wishing that her Borg wife at least had the grace to join in her misery.  But it wasn’t likely.  The blonde officer was eating comfortably — no doubt due to much greater restraint during the earlier stages of the evening, decided Janeway with some resentment.

A warm hand suddenly clasped her upper thigh.  Seven turned slightly, asking in a low voice, “Kathryn, are you well?”

The captain offered a small smile, warmed by Seven’s thoughtful touch and concern.  “Yes, darling, just too little discipline around all these delicacies.  My own fault,” she muttered in response. 

“Let us hope that they are not the only indulgence of the evening,” Seven replied. 

Janeway chuckled lightly at that, delighted as always by her spouse’s subtle humor.  That laugh must have caught the attention of the priestess at the end of the table, for the raven-haired woman glanced up and met Janeway’s eyes.  For an instant, the captain felt a chill pass through her, shocking her into silence.  Confused, she smiled wanly at the woman, then dropped her eyes to her plate, going through the motions of eating as she tried to ascertain the reason behind her sudden unease. 

She continued to feel the woman’s strange gaze on her, and shifted uncomfortably in her chair, wondering if liberal servings of the planet’s delicious fruit wine had wreaked havoc on her senses.  Janeway tried to focus on the soft murmur of Seven’s conversation with another guest, a prophet of an ancient order.  But her mind was fogging, and she stood up slowly, determined to find the nearest water room for a good, cold splash of water to the face. 

“Kathryn?” questioned Seven, who had turned from her conversation abruptly.  “Are you feeling ill?”

Janeway shook her head firmly.  “I’m all right, Seven.  I just need to find the water room.  I’ll be right back.”

In the water room, the buzz of the celebration was muted, a fact for which Janeway was thankful.  She checked her chronometer with some relief.  It was well past time to return to their planet-side quarters.  After all, thought Janeway with a faintly lascivious grin, they still had an anniversary to celebrate.  She took a few more minutes to rest her head in the small, warm, quiet room, feeling her head clear of that strange, sudden haze.

When she opened the door into the open air, however, the atmosphere had altered dramatically. 


Janeway rushed forward to stop a passing Wicchai.  “What is happening?” she yelled, struggling to be heard above the din.

Frantic dark eyes focused on her.  “It is the gap!  Dawn’s End!  Something is forming from it!”  Abruptly, the man broke from her grasp and fled, his form quickly swallowed up by the surrounding darkness. 

The Starfleet captain blinked.  All the flame holders had been extinguished; if not for the pale light of the planet’s two moons, utter darkness would have fallen.

Frantic yells reached her ears, coming from the vicinity of the nearby mountainside that hosted this mysterious gap.  As she rushed towards the gathering crowd, her eyes anxiously searching for Voyager’s crewmembers, especially for one in particular, she reviewed her scant knowledge of the phenomenon that this species called “Dawn’s End.”  It was a periodic, if irregular, occurrence that had gained mythical status in the planet’s diverse religious traditions. 

Some religious orders associated it with a visitation from another dimension, urging many to maintain a respectful distance lest they become swallowed up and leave the Wicchai world forever.  Other orders named it “The Sacred Tear,” explaining it as a benevolent aperture into the very fabric of the universe, a holy vision bestowed on the blessed Wicchai species as part of a benevolent compact between species and god being.  The Wicchai ambassador also had mentioned another obscure belief, championed by a very small minority of believers: that the gap was an escape route for a trapped goddess of fearsome power, and that if she ever escaped, then ruin would come to the Wicchai race. 

All these assorted beliefs, thought Janeway, were frustrating because they prevented the scientific orders of this world from conducting rational studies of the phenomenon.  Even Voyager’s scientists were denied access to the mountainside, and the Starfleet team had been forced to perform surreptitious, and ultimately fruitless, scans from space.  The mountain’s crystalline rocks were unique, somehow, and defied even Voyager’s sophisticated scanning technology.

As she neared the crowd, Janeway saw dozens, perhaps hundreds, of Wicchai prostrated on the ground, heads lowered and bodies visibly trembling.  Several of her crew were standing to one side, bewildered and seemingly stunned.  Then her attention was claimed by the women standing in front of the sparkling, flaming gap.  The strange, raven-haired priestess from the table stood upright, arms outstretched towards the gap, unafraid of the large flames that licked and sprayed as the gap expanded before their very eyes, with massive groans of screeching rock and thunderous grinding.  And to her side, stood a transfixed Seven of Nine, her eyes wide open and hair flying wildly about her face.  To Janeway’s horror, the Borg woman seemed caught in a trance state, an oddly vacant expression slackening the narrow features.

“Seven!” the captain screamed, scrambling quickly up the rocks to reach her silent wife. 

Then she was tackled to the ground, groaning in pain as sharp rocks bit into her face and chest as she hit the mountainside.  Strong arms pinned her face down to the soil, and another pair efficiently strapped her limbs together with a loose, metallic material. 

“Don’t move, off-worlder,” came the low command.  It was a male voice, guttural in the Wicchai way. 

Then a gag was placed over her mouth, strangling the words she would have screamed.  She struggled futilely, realizing quickly that all advantage was claimed by her new enemies. 

With a sickening dread, her eyes swept the procession once more, noting how the other Voyager crewmembers stood still, eyes vacant and mouths slack.  Somehow, they had been bewitched.  The Wicchai, however, largely remained cringing on the ground, low harmonic murmurs swelling from the trembling crowd.  And at the mouth of the gap, an odd blue light had appeared.  The blue light formed a spherical shape, expanding until it was easily twenty feet in circumference, then it throbbed with a rising frequency. 

Eyes stricken, Janeway watched helplessly as the black-haired priestess raised a hand and gestured to Seven.  Obeying the command, the Borg woman walked towards the sphere. 

No...no…no!  The captain screamed silent warnings to her wife, a sudden chill running down her spine as Seven neared the blue sphere. 

Then Seven was upon the sphere, yet continued her advance.  In an instant, she was swallowed up by the light, and only the sphere remained, its frequency dulling to a monotonous, regular pulse. 


Aleyna relaxed her posture, breathing rhythmically as she tempered her power and excitement.  She turned once to survey the crowd, noting with satisfaction the trembling, massed Wicchai and the bewitched off-worlder contingent.  Turning slightly to investigate a disturbance in the field of mental energy, her eyes lit upon the alien commander, who lay trussed and facedown on the lower mountainside.  The woman radiated fury and a deep determination, the priestess noted in annoyance.  Her thin, black eyebrows knit together, as she concentrated on sending a mental soothing flow to the alien woman. 

Her mouth tightened.  The stubborn woman was fighting the mental suggestion, blocking it out in an impressive display of mental strength.  Aleyna turned away, forcing herself to ignore the deviation in the mental field caused by the alien commander.  She stared expectantly at the pulsating blue sphere, excitement building as she thought about the power that lay so close at hand.

The Borg woman had been a revelation.  While Aleyna had encountered others who had the ability to harbor and control dozens of inner voices, never before had she come across a being that held the collective memories and experiences of thousands.  It was as though Seven of Nine was a receptacle of living histories, each one of which lay dormant, yet somehow still viable, within a remarkably ordered consciousness.  Truly, reflected Aleyna, her black eyes glinting in the moonlight, a treasure for the day of Cam.  A treasure for the Ladnuf Order, just as ancient prophesy foretold.

It had taken a rather concentrated burst of mental persuasion to slip through the Borg’s defenses, then to find the single consciousness to hook onto, a consciousness as deeply devout as her own.  That hook, that entry into the Borg’s very mind, had been enough to battle a very surprised, stunned Seven of Nine for control, if only temporary, of the body’s conscious volition.  But it would not last long.  Even now, the mental energy she was expending to maintain the mental link was draining her, making the commander’s mental defiance far more distracting than it should have been.  It was a shame that the others required all their mental reserves to control the Wicchai and off-worlder crowds.  Otherwise, thought Aleyna angrily, she would command them to purge that uniquely unsettling mind.

She shivered, feeling a change in the mental link.  It has begun, she realized with a faint stirring of fear.  But she pushed away that fear, focusing instead on a hunger deep within her heart, a ravenous unceasing need for power and energy that had pushed her to the very apex of her chosen order.  That had forced her to kill Olai, to purge the order’s leadership roster of any enemies, to use ruthless force and manipulation to seed other, competing orders with her dedicated spies and pathetic lovers.  So that this moment could arrive and she could control the proceedings. 

Aleyna shook, as a new power flowed into her.  The Borg woman is making the transfer, she exulted silently, tasting the new energy like a living thing, feeling its textures and strength like a drug inundating her open channels.  She threw back her head in sensual enjoyment, closing her eyes in order to better experience this power. 

But it still wasn’t enough.  It wasn’t truly satisfying.  The transfer was not yet complete.  Impatient now, having touched a mere shadow of the full reality, she focused once more on the pulsating blue sphere — awaiting the moment when Seven of Nine would emerge, transformed into a living vessel of the vast energy of the freed goddess, and complete the transfer with her, with Aleyna, the High Priestess of the Ladnuf Order. 


Seven of Nine watched the events unfolding before her eyes, helpless to command her own body’s actions.   As she entered the sphere, she felt an anger unfolding around her, an anger of such depth and magnitude that, if she controlled her body she would have fled the area, bowed by an unspeakably powerful dread.  Her flight would have been dictated by reflex, instinct, pure survival movements.  But there was no margin for instinct.  Her every action was controlled and, for the first time since her disconnection from the Borg Collective, she felt utterly naked and vulnerable — unable to assert her own fate, to account for her own actions.  It was her own private hell.  It was similar to life in the Borg Collective.  And it was happening again.

She had watched with horror as the Wicchai were mysteriously and rapidly reduced to a quivering, prostrate mass, as the rest of the Voyager contingent — though, worryingly, Janeway could not be seen — were transformed into a vacant lot of apathetic bystanders.  Then she felt her body obeying the dictates of the dark-haired priestess, Aleyna.  And now, she was trapped in a strange blue orb that filled her with the starkest fear she had ever known.

The orb’s anger seemed to vibrate through her very skin.  And then she gasped as a mysterious presence entered her body, soul and mind.  It was an elusive presence, as though something was sifting through her very consciousness, and every time she tried to identify it, she failed, feeling it slip away with a whisper.  Despite her fear, she understood that it was not malevolent.  Even though its anger was caused by her trespass into the orb, it was searching for something, for an answer, for an explanation, during its forays into her consciousness.  Then she felt it reach out, through her, to the priestess; after several unending moments, it retreated.

Then it pierced her again, with a renewed force, and this time the energy was different.  It was focused.  Instantly, she knew its purpose.  And she knew the priestess did not comprehend, could not imagine, what would occur next.  It was the anger, tempered into an irresistibly, undeniably powerful force.  And it neither heeded the wishful prophecies of this world, nor the desires of so-called true believers. 


Aleyna advanced on the blue orb, coming as close as she dared.  She stopped ten feet from it, feeling her blood heat up from the nearness of so much power.  The energy flow from the Borg woman had eased, leaving the priestess hungering for the final transfer.  Never before had she felt so ravenous.  Even the months of discipline and careful cultivation of mental energies did not seem enough.  As much power as had ever cultivated within herself was still minuscule, even embarrassingly paltry, when compared to that singular taste of power she had experienced through the mental link.  She had to have more.  And she would, she exulted to the night air, luxuriating in her mastery of the arcane political machinations that had positioned her at this very site, with such dominance.

Then the blue orb seemed to shimmer, and the Borg woman reappeared.  There was no visible change, save a change in the eyes, from palest blue to a glowing blood red.  Those eyes seemed to cut into her being, and Aleyna stood enthralled, her breath coming in short gasps.  The off-worlder advanced, resplendent in her evening dress, careless beauty and naked power melding together in an intoxicating blend. 

Aleyna reached for the blonde alien, feeling a surge of desire, of both power and lust, rasp through her body.  The alien’s skin felt hot to her touch, and Aleyna groaned as she pulled the other woman into her embrace.  She would finish this now.  She would now complete the power transfer, through the final cleansing rituals of body, blood and sex. 

The priestess grasped onto the Borg woman, one arm flung across, down the back, with the hand pressing urgently into the lower back.  The other arm snaked around the waist, pulling Seven into intimate contact.  Aleyna gasped out loud as the full body contact seemed to sear her very skin.

She looked into the solemn face, now level with her own.  The blood-red eyes were swirling, even sparking.  And then Aleyna lowered her face, searching for the full lips that she had coveted all evening. 

At first contact, Aleyna felt the change, understood that something was wrong.  She struggled to end the touch, to flee the arms that had reached up to complete their embrace.  But she could not.  It was all wrong, she screamed silently, her mind convulsing with the knowledge that now flowed from Seven. 

The Order of Ladnuf had misunderstood everything.  Dawn’s End indeed represented vast power, but, horribly and terribly and fatally, it was definitely not theirs to take.  Indeed, it was not for anyone’s taking.  It was a thing unto itself.  And now it demanded vengeance for their trespass.

She moaned in despair, feeling her life’s energy flow out of her, then feeling the combined energies of her fellow order members pour through her on their way to annihilation.  Her body jerked uncontrollably as each member’s energy passed through hers.  She felt their initial lack of comprehension, then heard their silent screams as they realized, too late, their trespass.

And then she felt no more. 


Captain Janeway watched soberly as the Wicchai world retreated from her view screen.  After she gave the order to go to warp, she excused herself from the bridge, logged off duty, and wearily returned to her quarters. 

As the doors swooshed open, she blinked twice.  Instead of the usual set-up, her quarters had been transformed into a holiday showcase.  Off to one side, a gaily decorated Terran Christmas tree vaulted to the ceiling, underneath which lay at least a dozen brightly wrapped presents; in a corner, burning elegantly in the darkened room, was a menorah.  Scattered around the room were other holiday accoutrements from Earth’s diverse religions: a mooncake lay amidst a pile of small, cheerful red envelopes, Kwanzaa-style wraps adorned a candle-lit dinner table. 

And, best of all, Seven of Nine stood in the center of the room, long blonde hair flowing gloriously, dressed in a deliciously form-fitting, if indecently low-cut, elf’s uniform, long bare legs tapering down to a pair of adorable, pointed green boots.

“Seven?” the captain managed in a choked voice.

Her wife advanced slowly, a brilliant smile forming on those full lips.  Janeway held her breath, as she felt a tingle of desire forming in her stomach.

“Kathryn, do you like it?” 

Janeway blinked again, then shook her head slowly.  “You continually surprise me, Seven of Nine,” she murmured softly.  “I love it.”

Seven reached out and pulled Janeway into a close embrace.  “After our sojourn on Wicchai, which I must add was most stressful, I decided that we needed a holiday celebration of our very own.  One that we can enjoy and control.”  She looked down at the captain, and for an instant, a shadow flit across Seven’s face.  “I also wished to salvage our wedding anniversary.  May we celebrate it now?  I know that today is not the actual day, but—“

“Say no more, darling,” whispered Janeway, tightening her grip on her wife.  “I would celebrate it every day if that was what you wanted.”

Seven smiled once more, her eyes lightening with happiness.  She pulled Janeway further into the room.  “I have made a traditional dinner.  Please join me now.”

Janeway followed her wife to the dinner table, seating herself as she watched Seven go to the kitchen area and return with several dishes.  Quietly, she studied her wife, noting the subdued manner in which Seven moved.  As Seven sat down, Janeway asked gently, “Are you sure you are all right?  I know that you went through an experience that none of us can truly understand.”

Seven paused, taking time to ladle eggnog into two glasses.  Her movements were precise and unhurried.  Laying down the ladle, she gazed evenly at her spouse.  “We will talk about it, Kathryn.”  She turned away, seeming to hesitate, then her eyes returned to Janeway.  “However, I wish to enjoy this night as simply our anniversary.  I wish to dwell upon nothing else but the fact that you are my wife and I love you.”

Then Seven looked away again, swallowing hard.

At this, Janeway rose and walked over to where her partner sat.  She knelt in front of Seven, placing a hand on a thigh, while the other hand moved up to cup Seven’s cheek, forcing their eyes to meet.  “Hey, love,” she urged softly, gazing into beloved blue eyes with as much love as she could display, “you mustn’t hide anything from me.  I won’t enjoy the evening less if you are honest with me about how you feel.”

Seven’s chin seemed to tremble, and Janeway reached up with the other hand, cupping Seven’s face tenderly. 

“The destruction of the Ladnuf Order was indeed terrible to experience,” began Seven slowly, “but that in itself was a product of their own misinterpretations and greed for power.”

“Yes,” Janeway agreed, nodding, “they had the hubris to believe that their own explanations of extrasensory phenomena were correct.  And they paid for this miscalculation with their life forces.  I’m sorry you had to be a part of that.”

Seven swallowed.  “I understand that I was used as a vessel, on both ends.  But that per se does not bother me.  The events played out according to their logical conclusion, given the reality involved.”

Again, Janeway nodded, trying to work with Seven to explicate the event, and perhaps lay it to rest.  “Yes, the so-called ‘goddess’ was angry at being disturbed in such a fashion, and took measures to warn off any other future trespassers.  It was foolish of the Ladnuf to believe that the power was simply theirs to assume.”  She paused, a bit confusedly.  “But, darling, what really bothered you then?”

Seven inhaled deeply, her eyes intently watching Janeway.  Her hands reached out to pull the other woman up and into her lap.  As the captain settled happily onto her wife, Seven reached up and caressed the delicate cheeks with warm knuckles.  “I am upset,” she said, huskily, “that my wife saw me kiss another woman on our anniversary night.”

Janeway felt her heart spasm at Seven’s tender concern, even as a shadow crossed her face at the memory of that long, terrible kiss.  She had watched in silent horror as Seven, eyes blazing red, had emerged from the blue orb.  And when the priestess had dared to embrace and kiss Seven, Janeway had felt a very real anger and jealousy bite deep into her soul — even as she realized that Seven was being controlled by other forces, even as she knew, in her bones, that the being that emerged from the orb was not fully Seven of Nine, but something other.

A gentle hand stroking her cheeks, the soft murmur of her name, carried Janeway back into the present.  She looked down at her wife, who was watching her intently, concern and regret and love written all over the narrow features. 

“Oh, love,” whispered Janeway, unable to say anything else as Seven’s face ascended and captured her lips in a searing kiss of profound devotion.  They kissed again and again, more deeply and passionately with every passing second. 

Seven trembled slightly, her breath coming in short gasps, as she gently pulled away from the kisses.  “Kathryn, what about our dinner?”

The captain gazed at the laden table with a mischievous glint in her eyes.  “Let’s work up an appetite first, shall we?” 

And she reached for her wife.


 

THE END…and happy holidays!

 

 

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