it was much later in the evening when Seven and Chakotay met just outside BíElannaís quarters. Neither though anything of it, until they stopped and pressed the chime control at the same time. Each had assumed the other was merely passing by the area. They had not really noticed the otherís presence until realizing they were going to the same place after all.
"Umm, Seven. If you donít mind I need to speak with BíElanna alone. Could you come back later." Chakotay asked politely.
"I also have a matter to discuss with the Lieutenant. I would suggest that you return at a later time." Seven stated without emotion.
"I have ships business to discuss with BíElanna." Chakotay said with a tense smile. "Iíd appreciate it if you could come back later."
"It is not convenient for me to return later, perhaps ...." Seven was interrupted as the door whooshed open.
"Will you two shut up and get in here." BíElanna growled before the door could finish opening.. Grabbing one brown hand and one meshed hand she pulled the two into her quarters.
Once in the small living area BíElanna gave them an amused look. "Ok. Who wants to go first?" she asked as she flopped down onto the small couch. She was wearing black sweats and a dark blue tank top. With music muted in the background and a Padd open on the small coffee table, it was clear that the small woman had been enjoying a quiet evening alone before the interruption.
Seven perched herself carefully on the edge of a nearby chair while Chakotay kept his place near the door.
In perfect unison both replied. "Iíd rather discuss that in private."
BíElanna didnít bother to hide her grin. "Why?" she asked. "Itís no secret why either of you are here."
Everyone onboard had to know what was going on by now. No one would be surprised that the big man had been sent by the Captain to talk to the volatile hybrid. Chakotay glanced at Seven. He honestly wasnít sure why the tall blond wanted to see BíElanna. Seven gave nothing away under her usual emotionless expression.
BíElanna rolled her eyes. "Seven, in case you havenít figured it out by now, Chakotay is here on Janewayís orders to try and get me to return to duty." she said with a nod to Chakotay.
"Even if Kathryn hadnít asked, Iíd still be here BíElanna." Chakotay responded stiffly. "We need you in engineering. If you just quit like this, itís going to set a bad example for everyone."
"Bullshit!" Torres exclaimed as the cheerful mood that had buoyed her since her confrontation with Janeway suddenly evaporated.
Chakotay folded his arms across his chest in irritation. Heíd dealt with BíElanna in these moods before. "It isnít and you know it. You let one fight too many with Seven affect your judgment." The fact that Seven was sitting a few feet away was not lost on the man and he shifted uncomfortably.
"You donít get it." BíElanna growled. "This isnít about Seven. Seven, well she was just the last straw. Sheís the daily reminder that Janeway is a damn hypocrite. She expects all of us to behave like textbook starfleet officers. Yet when Seven messes up, we have to bend over backwards and accommodate her. I agreed to wear this uniform and act like a starfleet officer out of necessity. Janeway made it clear from the start that we would all be expected to behave like starfleet officers and we all agreed to go along with it for the sake of getting home. Then Seven comes along acting like a belligerent child and she just lets it happen, all in the name of furthering Sevenís humanity. Khaless, Chakotay she wonít even make Seven wear a damn uniform."
"BíElanna if youíre having a problem, quitting isnít gong to solve anything" Chakotay tried to rationalize. With BíElannaís outburst he could not even look at Seven. He felt uncomfortable discussing Seven with the woman herself sitting a few feet away.
Seven for her part had already heard a version of the same comments. Now that she understood a little of the Lieutenants reasoning, the words did not have the power to hurt her. Seeing how upset the Commander was becoming made her decide that returning later might have after all, been a good idea.
BíElanna just laughed. "Are you kidding me? It solved everything. Iíve felt better in the eight hours since I quit this damn job than I have in a very long time."
"This is hard on everyone." He reminded her gruffly, referring to the years already spent in the Delta quadrant and the years to come.
"On no you donít. If you think Iím going to let you walk out now, you are sadly mistaken." BíElanna rounded on Seven the instant the ex-drone stood. "Chakotay may not have figured out why youíre here, but I have." Standing as well, she took the small step to block the taller woman. "Youíve got a front row seat for human interaction at itís finest." She poked a finger into a full chest and pushed firmly until Seven sat back down. Once she was seated, BíElanna gave her a wink. "Just relax and enjoy the show. Iíll get to you in a minute."
Chakotay was stunned when Seven sat back down without a word and actually blushed slightly when the hybrid winked at her. He didnít have time to dwell on it once the small engineer brought her attention back to him.
Moving to stand a few inches from the husky man, she growled. "Janeway quotes starfleet regulations every time she wants something. The problem is that she interprets those rules as she sees fit. Under the Captainís orders we have broken the prime directive countless times. We never observe first contact protocol and out here every contact is a first contact. We routinely deal with species that we would be better off avoiding. She changes the rules almost daily and through it all Iím supposed to look and act like a perfect starfleet officer. Itís about time that someone reminded her that Starfleet is a long way away. Itís also long past time someone reminded her that not everyone on this ship is in Starfleet."
"You seem to forget that youíre not the only Maquis wearing a Starfleet uniform. If you do this there are going to be big problems with the rest of the Maquis aboard." Chakotay said with almost a plea in his tone. "If the rest of the Maquis follow your example..." he left the statement hanging.
"Thatís not my problem." BíElanna growled. "Janeway started this, sheís just going to have to deal with it."
"Itís been a long day." Chakotay observed. The truth was he had nothing to say to the small womanís outburst. BíElanna was right and they both knew it. Only his sense of responsibility to this integrated crew kept him on Janewayís side. He was actually surprised that the hybrid had lasted this long before her honor demanded exactly what she was doing now. It was time to call a retreat and try again once tempers had cooled.
BíElanna knew this conversation was not over but merely postponed. "Donít let the door get you on the way out." she said with a feral grin. Chakotay had always been an honest and honorable man. She hated being on opposite sides of an issue with her former Captain.
As the door slid silently open, Chakotay took one last look. BíElanna and Seven looked as if they were sizing each other up. "What business do you have with BíElanna?" He asked suddenly. He still had no idea why the young ex-drone was there.
Sevenís expression was stony as she looked at the husky man with a raised brow. It was BíElanna who turned and with a wide toothy grin answered. "Sheís here to ask me out."
"A date? Is that true Seven?" He asked confused. Heíd known for a while that Torres had feelings for Seven. Anyone used to Klingons couldnít miss the signals. But Seven? Asking BíElanna out? Seven didnít even know what dating was.
"Yes Commander, it is true." Seven answered without inflection.
As the shocked man stumbled into the corridor, the door closed behind him shutting out the sound of BíElannaís giggling laughter.