Choices

by ~Onyx

posted  first time November  2000

 

 

Disclaimer:  Paramount owns Star Trek, no copyright infringement is meant.  There will be no coins collected by me.

Codes: J/7.  Rating: R  and schmaltz warning.  Remarks:  I wrote this 3 years ago.  It isn’t new.  It just simply has the dust blown off and it’s polished up a wee bit.

 


 

We found ourselves back in the Alpha Quadrant as quickly as we disappeared from it.  There was a black hole and we fell unexpectedly through it dropping out the other side much to the Federation’s and our own amazement.  There was no scientific explanation anyone wanted to looked for or offer before debriefings or even for sometime thereafter. We were just home.  How did we know?  What was our first clue?

Captain Kathryn Janeway sat staring out the view port, she was bored, looking for action, finding only a space void of everything beyond her ship & stars, millions of stars, familiar stars.  .  . We dropped out of warp and the stars before us seemed to stand still.  She sat in her Captain’s chair leaning against one hand just looking.  Sitting up, not speaking, she peered harder.  Then after standing she put her arm out to her side as if to steady herself, and walked slowly toward the giant view screen, recognizing, yet not completely surrendering to what she thought.  Her hands went to her hips; she turned her head to Tom Paris, Voyager’s helmsman and spoke quietly to him.

“Mr. Paris…tell me where we are.”  She spoke, her attention steadily on the screen.

Lt. Tom Paris punched his control pad.  His face displayed a frown and he punched his control pad again.  He turned his head and looked up at the captain.

“Captain?”  He lightly questioned knowing what she wanted to hear, but she had questioned him first.

“Is that what I think it is, Mr. Paris?”  Her heart was racing as he acknowledged her, and the reality of where they were finally sunk in.

“Tom.” As a smile broke the plains of her face, “Set a course to earth, maximum warp.”

Everyone on the bridge remained standing, slackjawed and staring at the view screen as Voyager jumped to warp.

Voyager’s first officer, suffering from a dose of protocol, wanted to remind the captain that maximum warp was a bit over the Federation warp limit within the Alpha quadrant, but seeing no signs posted and knowing this particular captain as well as he did, deemed it a futile reminder, after all, she had gotten them this far not playing by all the rules.

 


Seven of Nine did not believe that anyone from her former collective remembered she still existed.  It was almost two years now and not a word from anyone, with the exception of now Admiral Janeway, whom she was allowed to visit one weekend a month and Voyager’s former first officer, Chakotay who was instructing at the academy. 

At first it was all pomp and circumstance, parties and interviews upon their arrival, but now it was all questions, the same questions week in and week out.  She was captive of who she was lead to believe she was.  It was the life she had been deprived of in her early childhood.  Starfleet versus the Borg Collective at least with the Borg she did not have to ponder any of this.

The glory was over and the rest of the crew spread out through the quadrant.  She was left to a solitary life no one could free her from.  Starfleet was the only world she was to know.  It was not so much what she wanted to know as much as what they wanted to know about her and the Borg.

Seven spent her daytime being escorted to and attending Starfleet Academy classes.  She would be graduating in less than 2 months.  She would be the first officer to successfully complete the 4-year program in 2 years despite the Dominion War.  She would graduate at the top of her class and at the rank of Lieutenant.  The three years she spent aboard Voyager did have its merits.  The Captain she served under was actually the only reason she was allowed attendance in the Academy.  Perhaps it was not as much about the captain as it was about the people who had known and respected the captain’s father.

Her nights were spent at Starfleet Headquarters accompanied by Admirals, scientists, psychiatrists, physicians and who ever else deemed necessary to extract every micro-parcel of intelligence stored within her.  From 0200 hours to 0600 hours each day she regenerated in a room, infinitely smaller than the cargo bay, with cameras and machines recording every brain wave, keeping watch every minute.  While on Voyager there was only one person keeping watch during her regenerations, but here on earth even the watcher was not to be allowed that choice.

One month, 13 days and 13 hours before she would be handed her first assignment, she was not sure she would even accept it, Seven of Nine had many times thought she would resign her commission as soon as she received it.  Yet something also reminded her that she knew of no other life.  Star ships, wormholes, quantum singularities, and spatial distortions were her life.  Except the one weekend a month she spent with the Admiral.

 


Seven had received the communication from Admiral Janeway between classes.  Chakotay hand delivered the padd as he always did when she heard from the Admiral.  Admiral Janeway had plans to spend the weekend in Indiana on her mother’s farm.  Seven had been granted clearance to attend with her, if she so chose.  Captain Chakotay would escort her to the transport station when she finished her last class of the day.  She was to report back to Starfleet Headquarters by 2200 hours on Sunday.

She responded to the communication with an efficient, yet grateful two words, I accept.  Seven handed the padd back to the captain and headed off toward her Starfleet Protocols and Regulations class.  It was the least valuable class she had been assigned in the last two years.  She had disliked many regulations when on Voyager and she was now learning many more inefficient means of being affective.  If there were one class to fail, however, this was not it and Seven was more than aware of this fact.

Both the Admiral and Captain Chakotay had lectured her on staying the course while at the academy, and it did not stop her from arguing any point she felt worthy.  Then that really was the point, was it not, the worthiness of the regulation versus the argument?

After her last class of the day, she found the captain waiting patiently for her.

“Do you need to go back to headquarters for anything?”  He questioned.

“Such as?”  She asked quizzically.  She owned nothing.  Having not been allowed to keep any personal belongings.  She allowed her former captain to take all that was hers, what little there had been.

“Shall we then?”  He smiled at her and politely held his arm out for her to take.  They had not always maintained the best of relationships, but at least it was something for her.  As they walked to the transport station they spoke idly.

“Have you heard from B’Elanna?”  Seven asked.  Even though she and the former chief of engineering had the most antagonistic relationship aboard Voyager, they appreciated each other’s knowledge.

“She’s back on Mars, probably been there two months now,” Chakotay informed.

“It would be nice to see her,” Seven spoke.

“Perhaps you’ll get the opportunity after you graduate,” He inferred.  She stopped walking and looked at him.

“Do you honestly think they are just going to let me go?”  She asked dubiously.

“Why not?”  He answered quite assured, “You will have graduated.”

“Somehow Captain, I do not feel that will make a difference to them.”  They started to walk.

“Seven, they required that you attend the academy and you have done that.  And quite successfully I might add!  They asked you to commit to 2 years of debriefing and you have done that I’m convinced.  Starfleet will grant you your freedom.”

She looked at him now with reasonable concern.  There was no cause to disbelieve him, but still she did.  After all, he had not been the one left with no choices.

She laughed, “Freedom is irrelevant.”

They walked through the doors of the transport station.  It was the beginning of the weekend and the lines were long.  He escorted her through another set of doors and down a hallway to another door marked “Starfleet Personnel Only”.  Once inside more transporters and no lines.  “You have a good time.” He said as she stepped onto the platform, “And give the Admiral my regards.”

“I shall.”  She answered as she felt her molecules being displaced.

 


Gretchen Janeway was at the receiving end of the transport.  “Hello, Seven.”  She spoke as the younger woman before her stepped down from the platform.

“You are Kathryn’s mother?”  Seven questioned stiffly.  She tilted her head using her optical implant to note the resemblance.

“Yes, and I’m very glad to meet you!  Kathryn has spoken so much about you!”  She smiled as she pulled Seven into her maternal embrace.  It was the first and only physical connection that Seven of Nine felt since returning to the Alpha quadrant.

“I am very pleased to meet you,” Seven returned the smile.  “Where is Kathryn?”

“You know how it is working for Starfleet and being an Admiral, she’s going to be a little late.”  Gretchen answered, “Of course if it affords us time to get to know one another then all the better.”

“That is acceptable,” Seven agreed politely.

“Yes, I’m sure it is.  Come then, let’s go back to the farm, get you settled in and changed out of that uniform!  Perhaps you’d like to help me fix dinner?”

“Replicate dinner?”  Seven asked not understanding ‘fix’ in regards to food.  Gretchen laughed and shook her head.

“I don’t replicate any food here.  Everything served in my home is cooked from scratch.”

“Explain,” Seven questioned.

“Come on, I’ll show you instead!”  And they walked out from the transport station.

 


“Well Admiral, it would appear that every one and their brother wishes to have your ex-Borg drone,” Commented Admiral Paris as he leaned back in his chair.

“And why wouldn’t they?”  Admiral Kathryn Janeway answered him with a smirk on her face.

“Because she is Borg.”

“No, she is a human being, assimilated by the Borg, then severed,” Janeway spoke evenly.

“Regardless, I’m afraid there will be people who won’t want to work with her.”

“So it might come down to duty and preconceived notions for them.”

“Possibly,” he spoke quite sure of himself.

“And this has become an acceptable practice for Starfleet?”  Janeway asked with concern written on her face.

“You know it has never been our policy to support bigotry!”  Admiral Paris blurted.

“Well, then like everyone else they’ll just have to get to know her,” Janeway defended.

“You give people too much credit.”

“I give them what I would want in return.  And I have found Seven of Nine to be quite a fine human being.  Probably more so than most people I know.  She will make an excellent officer,” Kathryn Janeway spoke curtly.

“We have no doubt in her capabilities.  She is quite phenomenal, but now we have the arduous task of placing her.”  He steered the subject down another path.

“I’ll take her,” Admiral Janeway volunteered easily.

“And do what with her?”  He asked knowing that Seven of Nine’s capabilities far exceeded the Admirals current Starfleet requirements.

“I don’t know, I’d find something for her, as long as she’s not put some where to be misused or mistreated any longer.”

“ She has never been misused, Kathryn, you of all people know that,” Admiral Paris frowned. “Mistreated… what are you talking about?”

“What do you call not allowing her any privacy for the last 2 years?  What do you call forcing a 24-hour a day schedule on her, or not allowing her any contact with her former crewmates or family or two years of debriefing?”  She inquired growing angry. “What choices has she been given?”

“Calm down, Katie.  You know the limitations were all necessary.  I went out on the biggest limb of my career for you and your Borg.  Besides it’s almost over and she’s done well for herself.”  He said doing his best to smooth over ruffled feathers.

She calmed down immediately, after all this was the man who held Seven’s life in his hands.

“What would you do with her?”  She questioned needing to know the possibilities.

“Personally.  I’d like to see her go on to Braham's Theoretical Propulsion Team.  I think that’s where her true talents lie and where the Federation and Starfleet stands to gain the most.”

“I’m sure she would find that quite acceptable.  Now, what really has you so concerned?”

“Admirals Necheyev and Hays,” he answered flatly.

“I don’t think I’m going to like this.”  Janeway spoke as the feeling of dread crept into her voice.  She had her run-ins with both admirals before.

“Perhaps not.”  He stated carefully.  “They’d like to keep her right here.  A desk job of sorts, keep her...”

“…under continued lock and key?  Paranoia is not becoming of these Starfleet Admirals.”  Janeway quipped interrupting him.

“I agree, but I don’t know if we can make a difference this time.”

“How many Admirals sit on the academic board this year?”  She asked knowing what needed to be done and now why he asked her here.

“Five, Admirals Hays, Necheyev, Admirals Picard, you and myself,” He smiled.

“Me?”  She asked in surprise.  “How on earth did I get so lucky?”

“Because this is my last year, Kathryn.  You’re going to be taking my place.”

“Really?” She said more as a statement than a question.

“It’s time for me to move on.  I’m retiring from Starfleet, lightening my load so to speak.”  He informed already quite resolved with his decision.

“And it’s your intention for me to step in behind you on the Academy board?”  She questioned.

“Well yes there’s that, but more importantly I’m seeing that you step in behind me in Starfleet Operations.  It’s time Kathryn and you know you’ve earned it.”

“Oh I don’t know, Admiral…”  She started to reject half-heartedly.

“Yes, you know.  And you also know what is at stake if you don’t.”  He looked at her conveying what he’d already said with his eyes.

“I hate the thought of giving up my traveling through the quadrants,” she answered selfishly.

“Oh you’ll not be giving them up.  You can go anywhere you want, command anything you choose.  If you don’t step up when this is offered you might be giving up your companion, though.”  He spoke with concern.

She heard the reference in his voice, “What do you mean, companion?  I don’t believe I understand,” She asked alarmed.

“She’s the reason you didn’t take another ship, is she not?”  His face took on a fatherly expression.  A look witnessed on Edward Janeway’s face many times when in conversation about the loves of her life.

“She is one of the reasons, Sir.”  Kathryn stiffened feeling the conversation heading in a personal direction.  A direction she generally steered clear of.

“Kathryn, I’m the oldest friend you have here.  I have watched you grow up, for crying out loud, it makes little if no sense for you to think that you can hide your true feelings from me.”

Admiral Kathryn Janeway was utterly mystified at how the conversation had gotten to this point and with whom she was having it with.  This was a subject she would have never wanted to broach with her own father let alone another Admiral.  “Sir, I” She started to speak, but he held up his hand as if to say enough.

“Times have changed, Kathryn.  Starfleet has changed, the world, the universe is ever changing and you are now back from many years in the Delta quadrant.  It’s time for you to make changes in your personal life as well.   I’ve also taken the opportunity to spend a great deal of time with Seven of Nine in the last year.  Perhaps it’s something you should start doing as well.  Obviously you’ve missed a lot.”

“So let me get this right, you want me to take your place in Starfleet Operations.  You also want me to follow in your footsteps to the Academy board.  Then you want me to spend the next year or so with Seven of Nine?”  She asked purposefully missing his finer point.

He chuckled to himself and shook his head at her thick headedness.  “Kathryn, if they offer you my job, please take it!  Then I want you to work out the feelings you have for Seven of Nine.  Now, if you’re not going to admit to caring about her, I can tell you for a fact that she cares greatly for you.  Otherwise, you can consider yourself on my shit list along with Necheyev and Hayes!”  He presented back to her with a smile.

“She cares?”  was all Kathryn could say as she traced back through the recent year, over the weekends she and Seven spent alone.  These were things she had always known, but would have never acknowledged.  Not to herself, not to Seven and certainly not to this man sitting across the desk from her.

“Katie!  We’re going to need Picard’s vote.”  He added snapping her back from her reverie.

“Yes, I thought as much, but how?”  She questioned, still rapt in the previous thought.

“The Enterprise will be in orbit tomorrow, I’m going to ask him for the use of his Betazoid counselor, Deanna Troi.  I’d like her honest opinion of Seven before we’re faced with the panel.  Perhaps you and he could work something out?”

“Perhaps.”  Admiral Janeway agreed with a slight smile playing on her face.  “Admiral Paris, may I ask for one more favor in regards to Seven of Nine?”

“And you feel you haven’t exhausted these?”  He laughed.

“No more escorts, please.  She’ll not get lost between the academy and here.  And from now until she graduates she can leave the comforts of Starfleet when she is not in class or in debriefing?”

“Awful tall order, Katie.”  He spoke.  “I can’t see any reason why not.”

She smiled at him and spoke rising from her seat, “It’s late and I should have been in Indiana hours ago.”

“Yes, Admiral Janeway, you are dismissed!”  He stood with her.  “Give my regards to your mother and to Seven, if you will.”

Before Janeway left for the transport station she put a message through to Admiral Picard and arranged for his counselor to evaluate Seven in some nontraditional method.  She also arranged for a late week meeting between herself, Admiral Paris and Picard.

 


“You mean to tell me that you have been imprisoned by Starfleet for the last two years?”  Gretchen Janeway asked with great concern as she gingerly placed the pie dough into the buttered dish.

“Imprisoned is not the word I used,” Seven reiterated hearing the elder Janeway’s interpretation of their conversation.

“It’s the same thing!  There is no such thing as a two year debriefing!”  Gretchen was scathing mad at the implication.  “And my daughter let this happen?”

“I do not believe she was allowed…a choice,” Seven answered giving consideration to where her captain must have stood.

“Oh she had a choice alright!  Here!  Pour that in here!”  Gretchen motioned to the bowl where Seven had finished mixing a strawberry rhubarb mixture.

“The Admiral has assisted in making my stay as comfortable as possible.”  Seven spoke as she poured her mixture into the pie pan.

“Comfort is not the same as freedom and we’re talking about Admiral Janeway.”  The elder Janeway spoke pointedly.  “I will be speaking to my daughter about this later.”

“Speak to me now, Mother,”  Kathryn Janeway announced tiredly as she entered the kitchen unaware of what she was walking into.

“175 Celsius, Seven.”  Gretchen gestured toward the oven.  Seven looked from one Janeway to the other suddenly unsure if this is where she wanted to spend her weekend.  With some quick interpretation she adjusted the oven’s temperature gauge.

“Kathryn?”  Seven spoke directing her attention to the younger Janeway. “It is good to see you.  Was it a long day?”

“Yes, but I’m glad to be home.”  She answered dropping her bag, then noting the look on her mother’s face, “I think?  What’s going on?” She asked as Seven looked down at her hands.  “Mother?”

“Kathryn, Seven of Nine has just spent the last few hours explaining to me about her two year debriefing.”  Gretchen started in and Kathryn felt the dread rising.

“Well, it’s not exactly like that, Mom.”

“Indeed!”  She spoke, “Then after dinner you can spend the rest of your evening explaining what it is exactly like.  For now, however, go put your things away.  Dinner will be ready in a short while.”

“I will help you Kathryn.”  Seven spoke as she untied her apron and held the door open, following her upstairs to her room.

“Perhaps it was not such a good idea sending you ahead without me?”  Janeway spoke somewhat tersely, as she shut the bedroom door behind Seven.

“I explained to her that there were few choices that could have been made.”  Seven tried to assuage.

“You were talking to the wife and mother of an Admiral!  She knows the rules better than anyone.”

“I’m sorry Kathryn, if what I have said will cause you difficulties with your mother.”  Seven lowered her head standing one step inside the door.

Kathryn, realizing that Seven felt worse than necessary, promptly changed the subject.  “No problems getting here?”  She questioned the ex-Borg drone.

“No, Chakotay dropped me at the transport and your mother was there to pick me up.  All as planned.  However, I do not have an escort arranged for my arrival back in San Francisco.”

“Seven.  There won’t be anymore escorts.”  Janeway spoke pleased to relay the news.

“That is acceptable.”  Was all Seven had to say.

“You can come and go as you please between classes and debriefings, also,”  Janeway added.

“Or imprisonment, as your mother has chosen to call it?”  Seven alluded.

“Seven, you were never imprisoned!”  Janeway answered defensively.

“What part of the last two year afforded me any choices, Kathryn?”  Seven asked then answered, “My one weekend a month with you?”

“Seven…  Why now… they’re nearly finished with the testing and prodding.”  Janeway was looking to find the answer in Seven’s face.

Seven was working up her voice to express the level of pain she was feeling, “Because all I will have to show for this is a couple of pips on my collar.  Starfleet is hardly a life, I’ve made no friends, no family has been allowed to make contact, no.  .  .”

“But, you’ll have a career!  You’ll have our friendship.”

“A career and your friendship.  I’m finding what your mother and I have struck upon in the last three hours to be more of a friendship than what you and I have had for the last six years. At least she’s been honest with me.”  Seven turned and walked out of the room.  Janeway spoke up.

“Seven!  You must be kidding.  .  .”  But she was gone.  Back down to the refuge of the elder Janeway.  This was going to be one long weekend.  Kathryn made a mental note to put her personal affairs in order, soon!

 


The lights were still burning bright over Starfleet Headquarters and there was the usual hum of the generators.  “I say we lock her up and toss away the key.”  Came Admiral Necheyev’s reply.

“You know we cannot do that.  She is not a prisoner and she will be a Starfleet officer in a month!”  Admiral Paris argued.

“She’s a Borg.”  Necheyev spat in disgust.

“You do not wear your hate very well,”  he bit back.

“She is a Borg,”  Necheyev repeated undaunted.

“Not per her birth records.  I think her family would object to your ethnic insensitivity also.”

“What family?  She has not had one visitor since Voyager’s return.”

“She has not been allowed visitors since Voyager has been back, need I remind you.”  She looked at him then with unease in her eyes.

“What’s your point?”  She hissed.

“My point is that your hate is blinding to you.  Here we have the opportunity of a lifetime and you want to lock her up forever.  This young woman is a beacon of knowledge!”

“It was she who robbed me of my beacon a long time ago.”  Necheyev spoke remembering the battle at Wolf 359 where she lost her husband against the Borg.

“It was the Collective, not Seven herself, she was doing only what was dictated.”  Paris reminded, “As she will do for Starfleet.  Besides you don’t know for sure that she was even there.”

“I still don’t see your point?”  She asked again stubbornly.

“Starfleet probably needs her more right now than she needs Starfleet.  And while I admit we’ve treated her more like a prisoner we need her among us, in our ranks.  We need memory to protect us from the Borg and the Dominion. You’ve seen the data she has assimilated.  You know we need this information more than you need your hatred.”

“You don’t have to remind me of what she has assimilated.”  Necheyev snapped.

“You’re not thinking as a senior officer, Admiral.  I think you’re forgetting your place here.”  He reminded her wearily.

“It’s hard.”  She spoke up, “Losing my family to the Borg is beyond the scope of my forgiveness.”

“There is nothing that is not forgiveable and now you have the opportunity to insure no one else will lose their family in the same manner.  I believe we have all the information we need for now.  I’m asking that the debriefing be stopped.  She has rightfully earned it.”  He posed.

“No.”  She snapped.

“She only has one month left.  We’ll still keep an eye on her.  The debriefings are done and the escorts are done.”  He informed.

“It is not your decision to make alone.”  She fought.

He pushed a small piece of paper across the desk for her to read.  As she read, a frown creased the anger in her face and then quickly reverted back.  “You went over our heads?”  She questioned, now visibly disturbed.

“Yes.”

“Is this how it’s to be now?”  She demanded.

“I’ve stood by your decisions since the ex-Borg arrived.  She has done everything we have asked of her.  She has earned my respect and my assistance.  I suggest you dig a little deeper with the cadet.  You’ll find her remarkable if you give her half a chance.”

“I can’t,”  she spoke knowing she had just lost the battle.

“Then you need to respect my decision.”  He sighed, shaking his head thinking this has to be one of the most stouthearted women in all of Starfleet Command.  He knew, if nothing else, she would obey the decision.

 


“Mmmm, mom, this coffee is marvelous!”  Kathryn remarked as she sat sipping from her cup. They were both sitting on the porch swing, looking out over the serenely open fields of the Indiana countryside.

“Still can’t replicate it?”  Her mother inquired with a smile on her face.

“No and I don’t think I’ll ever be able to.”  She sighed.

“Seven can make it for you.”  Gretchen commented.

“I’ve tried so many times…what do you mean Seven can make it?” 

“After her graduation.”  Her mother spoke.  “I just assumed she would live with you.

“Who said anything about her coming to live with me?  Janeway asked trying to sound casual.

“Where else will she go, dear?”  Gretchen asked, trying her best to back her elder daughter into a corner.

“It all depends on where she’ll be stationed.”

“It will depend on where you station her.”  Her mother maneuvered.

“Mother, I will have nothing to do with. . .”

“Kathryn, you will have everything to do with it.  You managed to get her into the academy and through it all in two years time.  I can’t imagine you doing that for just anyone and I cannot imagine why, now that it’s almost over you don’t seem to care what happens to her?”  Gretchen fired away.  “She needs stability, a home, a family.”

“I...” Kathryn sat opening her mouth then closing it.

“I’m your mother, Kathryn.  There isn’t much you can hide from me.”

“Well, it appears then I’ve hidden something from myself!  What are you talking about?”

“How do you feel about her?”  Gretchen went straight for the jugular.

“How do I feel about her?”  Kathryn repeated not sure of how to answer.

“Yes, how do you feel about her?  Truthfully.”  Her mother started again.  “I’ve sat here for the last year listening to you talk about this woman while you were in the Delta quadrant then while she worked her way through Starfleet’s new penal program.  I’m interested in hearing how your intellect would define your feelings versus what I’ve heard from your heart.”

Kathryn’s mouth fell open uncontrollably.  First Admiral Paris and their conversation earlier, now her own mother was looking for answers to questions she hadn’t even asked herself, at least not yet.

“Mom?  Where, might I ask, is all this coming from?”  Kathryn questioned.

“From spending the last few hours with a wondrous, extremely sad, lonely and scared young woman.”  Her mother admitted softly, “Honey, a mother knows what a mother knows…”

“It’s not something I’ve given any thought to.”  Kathryn answered defensively. “My career keeps me pretty tied down, Mother.”

“You’re so much like your father.”  Gretchen spoke, thinking back to the past.  “If it’s not right in your face you’re not likely to deal with it.  Especially if it doesn’t involve Starfleet.”

“Is that so bad?”  Questioned the younger Janeway modestly.

“No, it’s not, but you miss so much of what life offers and I, for one, don’t want you missing out on whatever this could bring.”  Smiling into her daughter’s eyes, she knew she had reached her.  The rest of it was all up to Kathryn.

“Thanks, Mom.”  Kathryn smiled back, her eyes finding movement in the field that panned out in front of them.  She watched as Seven came into view.  “I’m gonna go take a walk, do you mind?” Kathryn asked standing up.

“Take your time, dear.”  Her mother offered. “I’ve a kitchen to tend to.”

 


Really where had it all started?  The point in time when she realized how she felt versus how she thought she should feel.  It was in the Delta quadrant when the first recognition of her desire became apparent.  She’d folded those feelings away so neatly that, had her mother not been going through her mental and emotional drawers, she might have misplaced them forever. 

She continued walking through the field, working things out in her mind.  She felt so exposed, but why?  She knew she there were feelings.  It wasn’t like there was anyone else in her life, presently.  As a matter of fact there had been no one in her life for years accept Seven.  She’d become her friend, confidante, sounding board, and greatest challenge.   She instinctively raised her hand to her chest as her thoughts struck her, as the corn suddenly parted next to her and Seven stepped into view.  A smile flourished on her face.

“We need to talk.”  Kathryn said as she offered her hand to the young woman.

“About?”  Seven questioned, still experiencing some psychological wincing from their earlier conversation.

“You, Starfleet, how you feel, how you feel about me, how I feel about you, me, and my mother.”  She answered.

“It would appear this could be another of our long philosophical discussions.” Seven entertained, “We have not had one in quite some time.”

“A very long time, indeed.  Come on let’s walk down to my favorite getaway.  It was my hide-out when I was younger, I’m thinking I need some of that comfort right about now.”

“You want us to go and hide?”  Seven questioned literally.

“Perhaps!”  Janeway chuckled.

 


The weeping willow tree looked like a billowing green wig.  The long whips flung down to the ground creating a definite curtain of secrecy.  The deep underground water sources in the area kept most vegetation well nourished and this tree hadn’t suffered at all in the years passed.  Spring’s gentle breezes held a touch of warmth as they rustled the draping branches of the tree.

“You came here to hide as a child?”  Seven questioned uncertainly.

Catching the tone of Seven’s voice Kathryn smiled.  She sat down at the base of the willow then extended her hand to Seven.  “Please sit.” 

“Seven.”  Kathryn started, “I need to talk about how I feel, how I have always felt.”

“Why now?”  Seven questioned.

“For whatever reasons the gods have, it has been brought to my attention that my life is not as it should be.”  She chuckled to herself noting the conversation with the Admiral and then her mother.

“So how do you feel?”  Seven asked, not sure she understood where Kathryn was coming from.

“Let’s start with how I felt when I severed you.”

Seven quirked her implant at the statement, her eyes searched Kathryn’s.  “That was a long time ago.”

“For me, it happened just yesterday.  I saw you for the first time.  I saw a Borg drone but felt the human in you.  I couldn’t leave you behind.” 

“So you brought me along for the ride?”  Seven asked touching upon her wry side.

Janeway looked at her, wondering what else she had missed along the way about this woman.  “You didn’t come willingly, no in fact we clashed much at first.  It was a battle of the wills mostly.  It took me quite some time to uncover my need to conquer you.  To see you as you should be, certainly not as I’d found you.”

“You wanted to conquer me?”  Seven questioned the meaning of her words.

“At first I wanted you to find your origins.  I knew if given it, you’d eventually regain some of your own humanity.   What I didn’t know was, how great the bond would become between us.  I saw myself as your parent, your mentor; the person responsible for your well being and took it on without question or expectations.  Through time though it changed and the maternal feelings crossed a boundary that I couldn’t get back across.”  She looked at Seven.   Her eyes deepening blue as she leaned into Seven’s personal space.  “I knew I had fallen in love with you.”

Seven sat in awe, hearing the words she had longed to hear.

“But I buried those emotions.  I couldn’t be the captain that I was and love you as well.  I buried them so deeply I forgot they existed.”  Kathryn admitted.

“And you have now recently unearthed them?”  Seven asked.

“More like they weren’t really hidden from anyone but me.”  She answered, “My mother shared this fact with me this very evening, as well as Admiral Paris earlier today.”

“And what does this all mean?”  Seven wondered aloud.  Her heart jumped nervously, she instinctively started bracing for the hurt.

“I love you, Seven.  I have always been in love with you.  But this does us no good if you don’t feel the same way.”  Kathryn declared.

“I have never concealed my feelings, Kathryn.”  Seven spoke.  “You are the only person I have ever trusted.  You are the only person I have needed.  You invaded my life from the moment I first saw you.” 

“That doesn’t mean that you love me.”  Janeway grappled with Seven’s response.

Seven was trying her best to express her emotions.  She pulled her knees up to her chest as she spoke, “You make me ache so, Kathryn.” She hugged them tighter trying to keep her heart from exploding.  “ What else could it be but love?”

“Seven,” Janeway said as she ran her hand lightly across Seven’s hair,  “I don’t want to cause you any pain.”

Tears began to slide their way down to Seven’s trembling lips.  “Your words show me little comfort.” She spoke through the pain.  Janeway rose up on her knees as she turned toward and looked comfortingly into Seven’s eyes.

“Then I will have to show you.”  Kathryn spoke, her voice a husky whisper as she brushed her lips tenderly across Seven of Nine’s.  She pulled back, searching in Seven’s eyes for the right to exist here in this space with her.  “I’ve never felt like this for anyone else.  You must believe me.”

She closed the distance between them with another kiss.  She could feel Seven’s heartbeat and her breath quicken.  “She has to be with me,” Kathryn thought to herself, “I know that now.”

They parted suddenly, more to catch their breaths and to look at what they both desired.

This time Seven initiated the kissing, again and again, as she unclasped the buttons of Janeway’s shirt.  Fingers flirting against the warm smooth skin of Kathryn’s neck, hungering for more, wanting, savoring.  She pulled back to admire the auburn hair of the woman who had taken command of her heart and though the sun had long since moved to the west, she saw how their rough needy kisses had darkened Kathryn’s lips.

With her unbuttoned shirt half off her shoulders, Kathryn pulled it completely open, giving herself to Seven.  Seven’s eyes moved down and took in the porcelain pink areolas.

The younger woman pressing back against the trunk of the willow, moved in closer running her finger across Kathryn’s open mouth - lips dark wet desirous - then down to her nipples as if she were painting them.  Cupping Kathryn’s breast in her hands, feeling the warmth of the flesh unrecognized by her sensual code impeded her synaptic impulses.

“Oh yes,” Janeway moaned languidly.

“Yes,” Seven agreed pinching Kathryn’s nipples between her fingers; they hardened, the abrupt transformation igniting a blaze of desire deep within Seven.

Suddenly weak, Kathryn grabbed onto Seven to avoid falling but Seven, struggling with her own needs, tumbled with her, rolling together on the ground.  When they stopped Seven on top, they’re breath heavy from the fall and from the release of their great burdens of want.

Evening was beginning to envelope them now and the sky winked with the first hint of stars.  Earth’s moon visible against a blue silk flower sky in the east, blending eventually with the pinks and oranges still emanating from the downed sun to the west.  Completely and utterly seduced, Seven reached for the button then zipper on Janeway’s slacks and moves them down over Kathryn’s hips.  Without any other thought, Seven’s impatient lips sought out the other set of plush lips to kiss. 

Into her darkness, Seven moves.  Kathryn pulsing and slick, creamy and delicious. 

Seven opens her with her fingers then sucks her in as she hears her name whispered and cooed from above.  Lost within the depths of Kathryn, space and time no longer exists.  The shelters of the willow tree a vacuum.  Her tongue spirals around Kathryn as she arches up to her.  She sinks into her loins, having her over and over again.  She then lifts her head to look deep into the vast sea of Kathryn’s eyes.  She breathed her in as she closes her eyes and whispers, “You are beautiful.”

With two fingers, Seven thrusts into her.  Then again, three fingers moving in and out, slowly…surely.  Kathryn curves blissfully into the pleasure as she feels herself blending with Seven.  Grabbing Seven’s hair, Kathryn pulls it out of the austere bun and it cascades around her face.  Smoldering blue eyes meet hers from her own depth.  It’s the absolute ecstasy from this sight and Seven quickening her desires that push Kathryn over her edge.  She comes again and again and again beneath the steady branches of her childhood willow, beneath a trillion stars, beneath her heart, her life, her future, beneath Seven.

 


Seven sat in debriefing room one for over an hour and still no one had come.  Not one Admiral, not one doctor, not one psychiatrist.  Their tardiness was inefficient, though she had nothing else to do but wait.  Then finally, a small woman with long curly dark hair entered the room.

“There are no debriefings scheduled tonight.”  She spoke looking at Seven.

“There are always debriefings scheduled in this room.”  Seven answered evenly.

“Not tonight!”  The small woman replied, “Who did you think your debriefing was with?”

“Every night is someone different.  Perhaps it is you?”  Seven quirked her implant covered brow, looking the small woman over.

“No,” The small woman chuckled, “Not me!”

“Then why are you here?”  Seven questioned shortly, not believing her.

“I have walked by this room several times now and saw you sitting.  I checked the room schedule, found nothing and wondered why you were here, that’s all.”

“I am here for my nightly debriefing as I have been for the last 23 months 19 days and 10 hours.”  Seven stated exactly.

The small woman frowned as she asked, “Why?  Why would you have been required to do that?”

“Because I have been previously directed.”  Seven spoke, looking at the woman and wondering how relevant this all was.

“How awful for you.”  She answered then offered,  “Would you like to go get some coffee or hot chocolate?”

“I do not think I should leave.”  Seven replied, now uneasy. The thought of being hunted down ran through her mind and did not appeal to her.

“Listen, my last patient is a no show and if you were to have had a debriefing, whoever scheduled it is a no show.  Let’s get something to drink!”

“You are a doctor?”  Seven questioned again leery of this woman.

“I’m a ship’s counselor.”  She replied.  “I’m sorry I did not introduce myself.  I am Deanna Troi of the U.S.S. Enterprise.”  She extended her hand to Seven, “And you are?”

“I am Seven of Nine formerly the Tertiary Adjunct to Unimatrix Zero – One of the Borg Collective and the former head of Astrometrics of the U.S.S. Voyager.”  Seven shook her hand and sensed nothing to fear.  “I believe I would enjoy a cup of tea.”

Deanna smiled now as she spoke, “Yes, that would be fine and I know a little place where we could get to know one another?”

Seven rose from where she sat.  “I am not customarily allowed to leave Starfleet Headquarters unless I am escorted by a representative.”  Seven informed.

“Well, there’s a first time for everything!”  Troi laughed as they walked out of the debriefing room.  “Besides I believe I would be adequate representation.”

They spent hours at a little café not far from Starfleet Headquarters.  They talked of their love of space, adventure and captain’s they have served.  Seven took Deanna back to the Delta quadrant in several recountings and Deanna showed Seven a friendship that required nothing in return.

After that first evening, Deanna visited Seven nearly every day.  She met Seven for informal dinners, cinematic programs or taking in the ocean-front sights.  Whatever Seven wanted to do or whatever Deanna could think of, they would go anywhere, do anything whenever the time afforded them.  There was a strong sense of friendship, unusually strong for Seven of Nine anyway. 

On the evenings that Deanna could not meet Seven, Seven would arrange to be with Kathryn and they would spend nights developing their passion and love for one another until Seven would have to report back to Starfleet Headquarters to regenerate.

 


“I see no reason why this young woman should not be completely exonerated”.  Admiral Picard declared.  His past with the Borg allowed him to speak from experience.

“We are worried the Borg will seek her out, Admiral.  She will continue to be a beacon signaling them.”  Admiral Necheyev answered.

“They have not come for me as of yet.”  He replied brusquely, his jaw set.  “After all I remain Locutus of Borg.”

“Yes - yes you were - Borg.”  Necheyev eyed him with her distaste, “But...”

“But what?”  He asked angrily, “We’ll make allowances for some, but not all?  Since when do we rewrite the rules to suite our own personal bigotry?”

“I am not speaking solely for myself here Admiral!”  She retorted.

“What is it then?  I don’t believe anyone else here has a problem with this cadet moving on,”  Picard barked.

Looking around at the faces of the other members of the academy board she realized no one else had much to say and things appeared to have come to an impasse.  400 cadets would be graduating and this last one had brought great debate.  Admiral Necheyev realized it was a mute point and conceded as she dropped her head. She knew she was out voted.  Not one other person held the same disdain for the Borg and she wondered how worth it it truly was.  She sighed, “I vote Braham’s Theoretical Propulsion.”

“I second the vote.” Admiral Hayes spoke up having tired of the age-old argument and a prior meeting with Picard.

“I cast the third and deciding vote.”  Jean Luc Picard spoke loudly.  “Now, how about dinner on me?”  He offered his smile to all that sat around the table with him.

Admiral Kathryn Janeway begged off the dinner invitation, but shook the mighty Picard’s hand.  She also knew that, had he not shared some of Seven’s experience, history would have written itself differently.  After the goodbyes were extended she headed toward the elevator and pushed the button for the 17th floor.  Exiting the elevator, she walked the hallway until she came to room 1709 where she stopped and knocked.

“Enter!” Came the command.  She opened the door to the most beautiful creature in the universe.

“Come home with me?”  She asked as she stepped into Sevens arms.

“Is that a command, Admiral?”  Seven asked gazing down into the darkening eyes.

“No darling, I’m giving you a choice.”  Kathryn Janeway smiled as she leaned up and kissed her mate.

“Then I shall comply.”  Seven answered back as she deepened the kiss.

 


Epilogue

The loud speaker announced, “Annika Seven of Nine Hansen!”  And the applause that followed was loud.  She walked across the stage, accepted the rolled paper and turned to smile, if one could call it such, to the audience.  Once again, the applause came as if the ceremony were only for her.  In the audience there was one loving face that held the proud honor of knowing that the woman of her heart had just accomplished one giant step for herself in humanity.  “Lieutenant Hansen.”  Janeway spoke to herself as she applauded, smiled and cheered her lover of 1 month 13 days and 7 hours.

“I never thought she would have succeeded.”  Captain Chakotay spoke as he also applauded.

“That’s because you never had the trust that I had in her.”  Janeway reflected.

“You’re right, Admiral, I didn’t and I stand corrected.  She is going to make a fine Starfleet officer.”  He apologized.

“Might I point out that she made an excellent officer in the Delta quadrant.”  Tuvok, having traveled all the way from Vulcan, logically spoke up.

“She was a pain in the ass in the Delta quadrant!”  B’Elanna added laughing as she watched her friend’s graduation ceremony.

They had all come, Tom and B’Elanna Paris, Harry Kim and even Deanna Troi, Seven’s new-found friend from the U.S.S. Enterprise.  Admiral Janeway had pulled strings to insure all of Voyager’s former senior staff was present.  Pulling strings was easy now, having received another pip in her own ceremony several weeks ago after a long time friend and mentor retired, then being appointed to his position.

The party to celebrate afterwards was held at the home of Gretchen Janeway in Indiana.  She would settle for nothing less.  Kathryn had wanted to celebrate Seven’s accomplishment in San Francisco but realized that the guest list exceeded her own and now also Seven’s residence capacity.

She stood watching her lover as she walked around her mother’s front yard talking to her guests, her friends.  “When does she report to the propulsion group?”  Deanna Troi asked startling Janeway out of her revelry.

“Not for another month.”  Kathryn answered with a smile, “Did I thank you for all you’ve done over the last month?”

“Yes, several times, and as before, it was all my pleasure.”  Deanna offered.  “I think there are a couple Starfleet Admirals that could use my services though.”

Janeway chuckled at this statement thinking it to be true.  “I doubt you’ll get them to admit it, but hopefully they’ll not give us too much to worry about moving forward.”

“Perhaps,”  Troi answered.  “Do you know what Seven has planned for the next month?”

A smile played across Janeway’s face.  “We plan to spend some much needed time together.”

“We don’t plan on leaving our San Francisco residence, at all.”  Seven added, having walked up on their conversation, looking innocently from one woman to the other.

“Perhaps before I leave earth we could all get together for dinner?”  Troi asked slightly embarrassed at Seven’s forthrightness.

“Just give us a call, I’m sure we’ll want to venture out from time to time.” Janeway answered with a sly smile.

“I will do that!” Deanna replied smiling. “Now, if you would excuse me?” as she held up an empty wine glass and walked toward the porch.

“Are you enjoying your party, darling?”  Kathryn questioned the magnificent woman standing next to her.  She slid her arm around the ex-Borg’s waist.

“Yes, it is very nice to see and speak, once again, with all my friends.” Seven responded moving closer. “But I cannot wait until we get home.”

“Mom would like for us to spend the night.”

“Do we have a choice?”  Seven questioned wryly.

“Yes, darling, we do.”  Kathryn looked up at the woman she loved knowing that there would now be many choices.

 

Back to ~Onyx page or Home