The two ships plodded on through space side by side.
A chance meeting between two races had resulted in an unexpected opportunity
for both ships. The Varan had technology to render their ships invisible to Borg
sensors. It was, without a doubt, the best defense any race had against the
Borg. Voyager had the theory but had been unable to modify their systems to
accept the technology.
Voyager had replicators, an almost unheard of luxury in the Delta quadrant. The Varan had replicator technology but could not integrate it with their systems.
With the advantages to both ships apparent, a deal was quickly agreed upon.
B’Elanna and a team of engineers would get the Varan replicators working and the Varans would send a team to get the Borg cloaking technology working. It was a win win situation that neither Captain could refuse.
What had begun as another heated argument in the back of engineering had ended with a kiss of monumental proportions. B’Elanna and Seven had been alone at the time so no one had witnessed the exchange. The subsequent realization that both had been hiding pent up passion in the guise of hostility left them stunned. They had been dating ever since. Just days before this extended away mission they had finally become intimate.
In the ensuing weeks they had not let anyone know about the change in their relationship. They were both intensely private women and the thought of being the focus of the ever present ships gossip was not something either wanted to deal with. They were too busy dealing with the changes between them to go through that just yet.
There had been some gossip but the only thing that everyone would agree on was that B’Elanna and Seven had stopped fighting. They also noticed that B’Elanna had suddenly mellowed, and that Seven had just as suddenly eased her rigid Borg stance and become much more human in her behavior. Everyone assumed that the cessation of ongoing hostility between the two had allowed both to relax.
With B’Elanna busy working on the Varan ship, Seven had not seen her. The hull of the Varan vessel was made of an odd energy dispersing alloy that prohibited the use of the transporters. Since the only way back and forth was by shuttle, Janeway and the Varan captain had declared that except for necessary tools and equipment, the away teams of both ships would be staying where they were. Daily shuttling of crew would require extra energy that neither ship could spare at the moment. All available power was already going to the upgrades of both ships, especially Voyager who was using their replicators to produce all of the necessary parts for both ships. Unless there was some kind of emergency, they would be apart for the duration.
It was two weeks later that a frustrated Seven of Nine strode angrily onto the bridge. Ignoring everyone, she went to the science station and began working. She was soon followed by a red faced Chakotay. This time he had invited her to dinner. It was his fifth offer of a date in as many days. He had waited until they were alone in the turbolift before asking the tall blond out. His ears were still ringing from her refusal. He didn’t even realize she knew those kinds of words. Deciding Seven had been spending too much time with her newfound friend B’Elanna, he vowed to redouble his efforts.
Following the tall blond across the room he quietly said. "I don’t see why you won’t let me escort you to dinner. I promise that I will be a gentleman."
"And I promise that if you do not cease with these absurd invitations, I will stop acting like a lady and rip your face off." Seven whispered back.
Chakotay took a breath preparing to speak, but abruptly changed his mind. He could swear he’d just heard Seven growl. With a shake of his head he slowly moved to his usual seat on the bridge.
Later, it was Harry Kim who shook his head as he quickly left Seven’s table. He’d spotted the woman sitting alone in the mess hall. She’d turned down his invitations to visit the holodeck, the arboretum, and last nights music recital. This time he had invited her to the observation deck.
Her response had been a half glass of nutritional supplement thrown with Borg accuracy. Setting the now empty glass aside, she turned her attention to the small plate of sliced fruits that Neelix had so thoughtfully provided.
Tom had wasted no time. "Harry’s a nice kid, but anyone can see you’re out of his league." he began smoothly as the young Asian dripped his way out of the mess hall. Seven just glared at him. Obliviously, he continued. "I can see that you require a mature man, and experienced man."
"Idiot." muttered Seven as she walked out of the mess hall leaving Tom to pick the mashed pieces of sliced fruit off his tunic.
Walking into sick bay she had to suppress a small grin as the doctor actually jumped at her presence.
She had dealt with his one and only offer quite easily. "Doctor, if you make any further attempt to seduce me, I will delete your matrix." She was one of three who could carry out the threat. He did not ask again.
"What can I do for you today?" The hologram asked hopefully. He wasn’t stupid enough to ask her out, but he was vain enough to hope she’d changed her mind.
"You can authorize a site to site transport of my emergency regeneration unit to this location." she intoned blandly as she showed the EMH the coordinates.
"I can’t authorize that." He complained. "You don’t have the necessary permiss.."
"I have all the permission I need." she said irritably, as she showed him a second Padd.
With dropped jaw and a resigned sigh the doctor made the authorization. "So you and B’Elanna are..." he couldn’t being himself to say it.
"If you repeat this conversation, I will delete your matrix." she informed him calmly.
"Right about now, that’s looking like a good idea." he muttered in defeat, as he deactivated himself.
Heading back to B’Elanna’s quarters where the emergency regenerator was waiting to be connected, she was suddenly flanked on both sides by the Delaney sisters.
"Hi Seven. We’ve been waiting all day for your answer." asked Jennifer, or was it Megan?
"I told you this morning that I am not interested in a ‘slumber party’." Seven grated.
"What can we do to get you interested?" asked Megan, or was it Jennifer?
With twin giggles, Seven suddenly had a hand on each butt cheek. Twin shrieks were soon followed by twin thuds as Seven firmly pushed out sideways and launched each of the sisters at opposite walls of the corridor.
Leaving them to pick themselves up, she continued to the turbolift.
Just as the doors were closing, Janeway shot through. "Whew, made it." she said breathlessly. "How have you been Seven?" she added as if she’d just noticed her lift companion and hadn’t already spoken with her several times today.
"Hello Captain." she replied indifferently.
After a moment of silence Janeway asked. "Seven, if you aren’t busy tonight how about joining me for dinner? You’ve been so busy every other time I’ve asked you this week. Surely you aren’t busy tonight as well?"
"I cannot, I have some calculations to perform." Seven replied tersely.
"What calculations would those be?" she asked with a charming smile. "Perhaps I can assist you."
"I am calculating the most efficient way to eliminate the members of this crew who have suddenly decided I am to be the object of their romantic overtures." Seven stated without emotion as Janeway paled visibly.
"I just remembered, I have to see Tuvok about some reports. I guess dinner will have to wait for a better time." Janeway said as the turbolift doors opened. Before Seven could step off, the Captain was already out of sight around the first corner.
Entering the cargo bay she looked with dread towards her regeneration unit. This time there were four cards, one bottle of wine and three boxes of chocolate lined up along the console.
B’Elanna had inadvertently been the cause if all of this. When she had left a series of small gifts for Seven on her console while she regenerated, someone had seen them. With ships gossip being what it was, it hadn’t taken long for the word to get out. Now, everyone thought Seven was interested in dating.
The fact that there had been no reports of the mysterious original suitor being hunted down and killed, created a false hope. Everyone who had ever thought they had a chance with the tall beauty was now trying their best to vie for her attention.
When the first gifts had shown up both her and B’Elanna had thought it amusing. When they started coming more often they had been less than amused.
B’Elanna and Seven had often laughingly wondered if the day would start with one present being discarded and replaced by each successive suitor over the course of a day.
B’Elanna had temporarily solved the problem shortly before this away mission, by installing a lockout in the cargo bay. No one could leave a gift if they couldn’t get in. Also no one was brave enough to complain about the doors being locked because they didn’t want to have to admit why they wanted in. Even Janeway was strangely quiet about the matter.
That had ended up being a bigger problem. Originally there would only be one present. Now the persistent suitors had begun simply beaming the gifts into the room. It was not unusual for Seven to enter the cargo bay and find upwards of a dozen gifts lined up neatly on the console.
With a flash of irritation she beamed the offensive packages back to their owners.
"B’Elanna, you had better return to me soon." she muttered to herself as she left the room.
After their first night together, B’Elanna had declared that discretion was no longer an option. She was not about to allow the crew to chase after ‘HER’ woman. Before they could decide on a way to inform the crew, B’Elanna had been sent to the Varan ship. Seven had tried to tell a few of the crew that she was in fact already involved with someone, but the instant B’Elanna’s name came up, no one would believe her.
Even though it was obvious to all that they had resolved their differences, no one would believe that their feelings for each other had taken that much of a reversal. Until B’Elanna could come back to help prove everyone wrong, she was on her own.
Reaching B’Elanna’s quarters, she immediately headed for the small emergency regeneration unit. Even the small walk from the cargo bay had resulted in four propositions.
Quickly hooking up the device she spared a grin towards the bed with its still rumpled sheets. B’Elanna had been too distracted to make the bed before she’d left on that morning. Seven grinned remembering why the tough hybrid had been distracted and decided that she liked the bed in its unmade state.
With a small sigh she started her regeneration cycle.
The next day Seven was greeted by a grinning Chakotay the instant she left the engineers quarters. "Can I buy you breakfast?" he asked with a smile.
"Have you not noticed who’s quarters I have just exited?" she asked in return.
"Oh yes," he said distractedly as he tried not to be too obvious about staring at her chest. "So how about that breakfast?" She’d told him outright that she was deeply involved with the volatile hybrid. He thought she was just playing ‘hard to get’ and had started trying harder.
This time she didn’t suppress the urge to roll her eyes. "If you ask me that again I will assimilate you." she told him bluntly.
Deciding that Seven was, after all, not a morning person he replied. "Ok. I’ll just talk to you later then." With that he turned back the way he’d come thinking that perhaps the tall blond would be in a better mood by lunchtime.
Tom wasn’t so lucky.
"Seven, how’s it going?" he greeted the instant she stepped into the turbolift.
She glared at him but said nothing. If the man was going to add his feeble attempts at seduction to those of the others, the least he could do is quit sending wine. The bottle she’d found last night had been the eleventh the helmsman had sent. Only Tom could conveniently forget that Seven had no tolerance for even the smallest amounts of alcohol. His next comment was predictable.
"How did you like the wine?" he asked with a smile.
"I became violently ill from the alcohol and spent the night in sick bay vomiting. I experienced a reaction to the yeasts used in the fermentation process which resulted in a blistering rash. I also discovered that grape juices are not agreeable to my digestive system. The cramping was extreme, as was the resultant flatulence." she lied easily, as Tom gaped at her. She’d actually set the small bottle aside along with the other bottles he’d already sent.
B’Elanna enjoyed wine occasionally and there was no reason to waste it. B’Elanna also thought it was funny as hell that the pilot would keep sending Seven the single most inappropriate gift he could possibly choose.
Seven however had been the subject of too many advances lately to find any of them amusing anymore. She didn’t feel the least bit of guilt in lying to the pilot.
After a moment he brightened. "I know!" he declared. "How about a nice apple brandy. I can take you to Sandrines after our shifts."
Seven glared at the obtuse helmsman as she replied. "You, Tom Paris, are an idiot."
The turbolift stopped and Seven strode out onto the bridge without a backwards glance.
Harry looked up hopefully from Ops. As Seven passed his station he called softly. "Seven, if you have a minute?"
Seven stopped and looked at the man. "Can I help you ensign" she asked politely.
"I wanted to apologize for yesterday." he started. "I shouldn’t have been so..."
"Juvenile?" Seven supplied helpfully.
"Ummm. Something like that." Harry admitted. "I’d like to make it up to you by.."
Again Seven cut him off. "If your plan to ‘make it up to me’ includes another attempt to ask me out, I will have to assimilate you." her look was pure Borg as she waited for his response.
Harry’s voice rose an octave. "No. Of course not." he denied. "I just wanted to apologize that’s all."
"Apology accepted." Seven said calmly as she walked over to the ready room doors.
"How much longer until the upgrades to the Varan ship are complete?" Seven asked without preamble as she stopped in front of the captains desk.
Janeway looked up with a smile. Seven had come in each morning to check on the progress of the upgrades to the Varan ship. The work on Voyager was already finished and Seven had thoughtfully offered each day to go and assist in the work on the other ship. Janeway couldn’t help but admire the ex-drones dedication. She also couldn’t help but keep the tall beauty on Voyager. Out of sight meant out of mind and Kathryn was sure she was ahead of the others in the wooing of the ex-Borg.
"They’ve just begun the final tests." she stated happily. "If all goes well the away team will return within the hour."
When Seven spun without a word and headed for the door Janeway called. "Just a minute, Seven. Before you go I’d like to ask you what you’re doing for lunch? Maybe you’d like to meet me in the messhall?" she finished with an inviting smile.
"I expect that once the away team returns, I will be busy for the remainder of the day." Seven replied evenly.
"How about dinner then? We really should spend more time together you know." the hopeful smile had not dimmed in the least.
"Your attempts to seduce me are almost as pathetic as Commander Chakotays." Seven informed her. "At least ensigns Paris and Kim are direct." she finished with a cold glare as she left the room.
"Maybe we can discuss that over dinner." Janeway called as the doors closed.
"Maybe you can choke to death on a coffee bean." Seven muttered to herself, as she stalked across the bridge to the science station.
Within seconds of activating the terminal, she received several messages. Tal Celes wanted to have dinner with her. Nicoletti wanted to take her to the holodeck. Ensign Rany wanted to show her some turtles. Ensign Bristow wanted to show her the arboretum. Ensign Tina wanted to show her .. she deleted that message right away.
After sending suitably scathing rejections to each of the other messages she resumed her work.
Two hours later saw her still at the science station when the doors of the turbo lift opened and B’Elanna stepped onto the bridge. She was smiling, relieved to finally be back onboard. The Varan systems had been particularly stubborn. She was glad the tedious chore of aligning the divergent technologies was finally over. Now all she wanted to do was drop off her reports and see Seven.
Her smile grew as she saw her second objective standing in front of her. "Hello Seven." She said with huge smile.
Seven did not smile. "You arrived back on Voyager approximately thirty three minutes ago." she accused.
"Yeah, so." B’Elanna replied cheekily. Only she could see the carefully hidden sparkle in blue eyes.
"You are tardy. Upon returning from an away mission it is the duty of the commanding officer to report immediately to the bridge." she stated emotionlessly.
Taking a step closer to the ex-Borg, B’Elanna replied. "So? That’s none of your business. If the Captain has a problem with me putting some things away first she’ll tell me."
"I suspect that the captain will not concern herself with this small amount of time wasted since you have already wasted days on the project." Seven said bluntly.
"Oh, really?" B’Elanna asked as a small growl escaped. The rest of the bridge crew didn’t know whether to run or place bets. This looked to be the beginning of a Borg-Klingon cat fight of epic proportions.
As B’Elanna took another step forward Harry looked to Tuvok to see if the Vulcan was going to alert security. He was surprised when Tuvok simply continued with his normal duties and ignored the heating debate.
"You were to perform a simple integration of technology. That task should not have taken fifteen days." Seven stated as she too took a step forward.
Chakotay exchanged a glance with Tom. Between the two of them they might be able to break up the fight before it got too bloody. Toms return glance clearly asked ‘Are you nuts? Do I look suicidal?’
"There were complications." said on a growl as B’Elanna took another step forward.
"Perhaps the biggest complication was the lack of skill being taken into the endeavor." Seven answered evenly as she took another step.
Just then Janeway stepped out of the ready room. "Good lord." she muttered as she tried to think of a way to keep the carnage to a minimum.
Taking that last step so they were almost touching, B’Elanna said. "Perhaps next time I should take you with me, for technical advice." and with a grin added, "and so you won’t miss me so much."
"Acceptable." Seven murmured as she leaned in to properly welcome the Klingon home.
After a very long and intense moment, B’Elanna stepped away. Quickly putting her report onto the corner of the nearest console she turned back and took Seven’s hand leading her to the turbolift.
"We’ll be taking the rest of the day off." she told the slack jawed audience as the doors closed behind them.