Kathryn's reunion with her mother and sister was joyous, but as happy as she was to see them she still didn't feel able to embrace that joy. She felt the weight of responsibility hanging on her shoulders. It was the same weight that had been in place since she had made the decision to strand Voyager in the alpha quadrant six years ago. She thought it had been lifted when she saw the starfield on the other side of that damned wormhole, but it had been a temporary reprieve. She knew now that her responsibilities for these people, her crew, would never end.

"Kathryn?" Her mother stood in the doorway of her bedroom. "Are you Ok?"

"Yes, of course mother. I was just getting myself re-acquainted with my room."

"We didn't change a thing."

"I noticed. Mother." she began.

"What is it dear?" Her mother asked approaching her.

"Mother, I am so sorry."

"About what? Kathryn you haven't been home a day, what could you possibly be sorry about."

"Mother it was my fault we were stranded in the delta quadrant all those years. I ordered the technology that could have sent us home destroyed."

"Stop right there, Kathryn," her mother stated sternly. Kathryn looked up in surprise. "You have carried that with you far too long and I will not allow you to carry it any longer. We know how you got stranded, but it wasn't your fault. It's time to let all of that go and move on with your life."

Kathryn sat weakly on the bed. "I don't know if I can do that mother."

Her mother sat next to her and placed her arm around her daughter's shoulder. "You must try. It's the only way you'll be able to live the rest of your life with any modicum of peace."

"I'm sorry mother, but I just can't yet. I have to make sure they're all going to be all right.

Her mother wrapped her gently in her arms. "Then do what you have to do, your sister and I will still be here. We both love you very much, Kathryn."

"I know, thank you mother."

Over the next few days Kathryn and Chakotay worked feverishly trying to find anything to give them the advantage in the Doctor's hearing. She forced herself to block out all things un-related to the trial, especially her un-finished business with Chakotay. That, like many times before, would have to wait.

Seven slowly pulled her hair into its usual twist, while the Doctor stood behind her waiting for her to finish. The day of the trial had finally arrived. The week had been difficult for the both of them. Seven was changing; the Doctor searched the reflection in the mirror trying to recognize the woman in front of him. She barely recognized the face before her in the mirror; it was pale and sad. The usual confidence that filled her eyes was gone and all that was left was fear and uncertainty.

She had spent the first part of her life on Voyager carefully building a wall between herself and the rest of the crew. She had been met by so much fear and distrust early on that she hadn't had any other choice. The utter loneliness of being disconnected from the collective and the isolation of her early days on Voyager had forced her to protect herself from any more emotional trauma, but the Doctor wouldn't let that stand in his way. No matter what she said or did he stayed by her side, he offered her his friendship, and then to her total surprise, his love. He understood her in ways that no one else did and with one kiss he was able to completely break through those barriers.

Now, for the second time in her life, she felt her family being threatened, and once again she was powerless to stop the oncoming threat. She paused in her preparations when her hand began to shake. Inhaling deeply she tried to center herself and pull the zipper of her unitard up. The Doctor paused her searching hand and gently kissed her neck before pulling the zipper up himself. Seven gave him a small smile and headed for their bedroom. He watched her as she reached into the nightstand by their bed. She pulled out a pair of gloves and slipped one on.

"What are you doing, Seven?"

"There's nothing I can do about this," she said indicating the implant on her eye and the side of her face, "but I can cover this," she finished by lifting her covered hand. "None of this would be happening if you weren't married to a Borg. I thought our union would protect us, had I known this would happen I would have never agreed to be your wife."

The Doctor stood staring at her in cold shock. "That is ridiculous."

"It is the Federations fear of the Borg that is causing this. They see you as a security risk because of who you are married to. It is because of me that this is happening."

The Doctor pulled the glove from her hand. "You are no longer Borg. And this," he said holding up the glove, "will do nothing to convince the Federation of anything." The Doctor sighed deeply lowering his voice. "When I married you I married all of you, all of who you are. Your past, no matter how horrible, helped to define the woman you are today, and it is that woman that I fell in love with," he finished by pulling the other glove off her hand. "I will not allow you to be ashamed of who you are, just like I have no choice but to be a hologram, you have no choice but to be who you are. And there is nothing we should hide about our union or our love, nothing."

Seven nodded, unaccustomed to the Doctor being so forceful with her. "I have no trust in anything human. They are a weak, distrustful species and they allow themselves to be ruled by their fears."

The Doctor silenced her by placing his hand on her mouth. "Then trust me. Have faith in me."

The inside of the courtroom was still as stone. Kathryn and the Doctor sat at one table with Chakotay and Seven behind them. Across the room was a table for the three counsel members presiding over the case to sit and to the left of the Captain and the Doctor sat Admiral Nechayev. Most of the crew of Voyager occupied the few seats in the courtroom. The Captain was surveying the PADD that had been placed in front of her. She leaned over to the Doctor, "I'm not sure what the admiral is trying to do here, but she has dropped nearly every witness off her list."

"That's a good thing isn't it?" The Doctor returned.

"I don't think so. She's calling Seven up as her only witness."

"What? You have to stop her."

"There's nothing I can do Doctor, she has the right to call anyone she chooses."

"Captain, Seven can't." The Doctor was interrupted by the arrival of the counsel.

"This courtroom will come to order." The three counsel members sat in their respective chairs and began the proceedings. "We are assembled here today to determine the rights of the holographic matrix known as the Doctor. Are both parties ready to proceed?"

Both Captain Janeway and Admiral Nechayev rose and spoke their affirmation. "Admiral Nechayev, please call your first witness."

"I have only one witness. I call Annika Hansen to the stand." Seven stood slowly sharing a glance with her husband before taking the stand. "Please state your full name for the record." Again, Seven glanced at the Doctor. He only smiled and nodded, almost imperceptibly. Seven took a deep breath before beginning, "My name is Seven of Nine, tertiary adjunct of Unimatrix Zero One."

"I see, and you are Borg? Is that correct?"

"I am no longer Borg, I was severed from the collective three years ago," Seven said tersely.

"But you do still possess Borg mechanism on your body?"


"So it would be fair to say that you are part Borg."

Seven glared at her, "yes."

"At what age were you assimilated, Seven of Nine?" The Admiral stared down at her coldly.

"I was assimilated by the Borg at the age of six."

"So you have spent a total of about nine years of your life as a human, and only three as an adult?"

"That is correct."

"Objection," Kathryn interrupted, "Seven is not on trial, her life story is not relevant to these proceedings."

"Move it along Admiral," one of the counsel members said.

The Admiral nodded before continuing. "Can you please describe the nature of your relationship with the defendant."

"He is my husband."

"Do you live together?"

The question caught Seven off guard, but she recovered quickly, "yes, of course."

"And do you also share a sexual relationship with the hologram?"

"Objection," Kathryn jumped from her seat. Seven's eyes burned with fury. "I fail to see what any of this has to do with the Doctor's right to self determination?"

"Your honors," Nechayev began, "I believe it is in the best interest of the Federation to understand the true nature of their relationship. If their marriage is merely a smoke screen for something else."

"All right Admiral, we'll allow the question, but please move on after this. Please answer the question Seven."

Seven lifted her face defiantly, "Our marriage is a union in every sense of the word."

Admiral Nechayev looked to the counsel, "I believe she's answered your question, please move on."

"I have only two more questions, since you were disconnected from the collective, how many times have you been in contact with the Borg?" Seven couldn't speak. "Perhaps the times have been too numerous, perhaps it would be easier for you to tell us the last time you had contact with the collective."

Again Seven's eyes filled with rage. "Stardate 50401.2 was the last time I had contact with the Borg."

"Let the record reflect that that was only two months before Voyager returned to the alpha quadrant. I have nothing further for this witness."

"Captain Janeway, you may cross." Captain Janeway rose, but felt the Doctors hand on her arm. "Get her off that stand, Captain."

"Doctor, I have to question her."

"No, get her off now." The Doctor's eyes were locked on the humiliated face of his wife.

The Captain nodded reluctantly, "I have nothing at this time."

"You may return to your seat, Seven." Seven stood slowly and left the stand, walking straight out into the hallway without a glance back. The Doctor was out of his seat immediately, calling after her.

"Perhaps we should take a recess," the head counsel member said. The Captain nodded in agreement and glanced at Nechayev who sat with a triumphant smile on her face.

Outside in the hallway the Doctor ran after Seven. "Seven wait," he called finally catching up with her. "I'm sorry, I didn't know she'd call you."

"I wish to end this marriage," she said her voice full of emotion.

"No, don't say that."

"We must not remain together."

"No, Seven, this is not the answer."

"If we are no longer married they will return your program to Voyager and allow you to continue as the Emergency Medical Hologram. They will not decompile your program."

"I won't accept this."

"You have no choice."

The doctor slammed his fists against a nearby wall in frustration. "I will not go back to that life. At the beck and call of any idiot that needs medical assistance. Listen to me Seven," he said grabbing her arms. "Before you came into my life I didn't realize my existence could be anything but that. I can't go back to a life where at the end of the day I deactivate myself instead of going home where the woman who loves me is waiting, a life where there are no surprises, no one to share things with. I won't."

"I'm sorry," she said before turning and leaving.

"Seven," he shouted, "don't do this. Seven!"

Back in the courtroom, the Doctor stared from the witness stand, his eyes vacant. Admiral Nechayev paced in front of him. She began with a knowing smirk, "please state your full name for the record."

The Doctor stared at her the hate and fury evident in his eyes. He would not allow her to manipulate him the way she had Seven. He wouldn't give her what she wanted. Everyone sat still waiting for him to speak. When he didn't the Admiral repeated her question. Still nothing. "Doctor, you must answer the questions," was the response from the counsel."


"Do you intend on mounting a defense?"

"Why bother?"

"I'm not sure I understand. Do you intend to withdraw your request for self-determination?"

"What I want is no longer available to me, so I really don't care what you decide."

"Doctor," the Captain shouted.

"I'm sorry Captain, I appreciate all you've done, but without Seven, self determination doesn't mean much to me." Admiral Nechayev returned to her seat, satisfied with what had transpired, but the Doctor wasn't finished. He looked directly at the Admiral as he spoke. "You had no intention of holding a fair hearing. You used my wife's fears to get what you wanted. Do you even know what you've done? She has tried to carve out a life for herself, but you're stealing that from her. Hasn't she suffered enough. Her childhood is gone forever, her road to re-discover her humanity has been gut-wrenching and now she finally has a family in me and you want to take that away from her too. The Captain is wrong to place all of her faith in Starfleet. You're no different from the Borg."

"Are you finished, Doctor?"

He nodded silently.

"We've heard all we need to hear, the counsel will adjourn until tomorrow morning. This court is in recess." The Doctor stepped down and raised his head and saw Seven standing silently in the doorway. He walked across the courtroom and embraced her. "I can't let you go," she whispered.

Back on Voyager the Doctor and Seven sat in their quarters in each other's arms. "Seven, we have to be prepared for the worst. If we go in tomorrow and they order you to turn over my program."

Seven interrupted before the Doctor could finish. "That will not happen."

"You have to accept the possibility."

"I will not."

"Seven please."

"No. I will not. When I think about tomorrow, and the day after, and even years from now I see you with me. I don't see any future without you. So you see why I can't even think about the possibility that tomorrow will be the end."

The Doctor hugged his wife more tightly. "I love you so much."

She couldn't respond. Hot tears slid down her full cheeks and she clung to him fiercely. Despite her impassioned words fear threatened to consume her at every moment. Without her husband she knew she would die. Life was too hard to be alone. She brought her lips up to his and kissed him tenderly.

The next morning they arrived at Starfleet Headquarters early. Captain Janeway and Chakotay greeted them before they went into the courtroom.

"Captain, Commander," the Doctor acknowledged. Seven remained quiet. She had spoken very little since the other night. She detested showing weakness of any kind and when she attempted speech her voice cracked with emotion so she decided it would be best to avoid talking altogether.

"Good Morning. We thought you'd like to know that practically the entire ship is here in support of the two of you. The crew wanted you to know you're not alone in this." Commander Chakotay said.

"We appreciate everything you and the crew have done. If you have a minute I'd like to speak with you privately Captain," The Doctor said.

"Of course, why don't the two of you head on in," She said nodding at Chakotay. "We'll catch up in a minute." The Commander nodded and led Seven into the courtroom. "How is she doing?" The Captain asked when Seven was out of earshot.

"That's what I wanted to speak with you about. Certainly her reaction yesterday is concerning, but mostly I'm concerned about what will happen after the verdict."

"It sounds like you've already given up. There is still a chance things will work out Doctor."

"I know, but I have to prepare for every contingency. I need to ask a promise of you."

"Anything Doctor."

"If the Counsel decides against us I want you to take Seven away from here. I don't want her to be alone. Get her off this planet and force her to move on. She will have the rest of her life and I can't stand the idea of her wasting it waiting for something that may never be again."

"Oh Doctor."

"Please Captain, swear you will do this."

The Captain placed her hand on his shoulder. "I promise I won't let her be alone, but I can't force her to move on. Nobody can do that."

The Doctor sighed, "I'm so worried about her."

"I know," she said placing a comforting hand on his shoulder. "We better go in."

Inside the courtroom was pandemonium. When the Chakotay said the crew had come to support them he meant it. Practically the entire ship was there. The Doctor could see several friendly faces. The entire senior staff was sitting in the front row. Ensign Wildman and her daughter Naomi and a Katarian male, Naomi's father, were several rows back, while the engineering crew was in a small cluster at the rear of the room. The Doctor could see everyone; no one had stayed away. He nodded and smiled at several friends before joining Seven at their table.

The room came to a hush and people found their seats when the Counsel walked in. Seven reached for the Doctor's hand and squeezed it tightly.

The head of the Counsel remained standing while the others took their seats. "We have come to a decision about the future of the Emergency Medical Hologram from the Starship Voyager, otherwise known as the Doctor. This is not a decision we have reached lightly and we understand emotions have run high. However, we could not allow these emotions to cloud the facts of the case. The facts remain that the holographic matrix known as the Doctor was designed specifically for the Starship Voyager and is an integrated part of its systems. Granting a holographic matrix autonomy and the right of self determination is not a step this Counsel is prepared to take." A general outcry resounded in the room that was quickly diminished with the pounding of a gavel. "We will not tolerate disorderly outbursts." He paused before continuing. "The ramifications of such an order would be devastating to the field of holo-engineering. It is the order of this Counsel that the EMH be taken to Starfleet Medical to undergo a complete download of its Medical data before being re-initialized and returned to Voyager. We further order the marriage between Annika Hansen and the EMH program be annulled on the basis that a human cannot be married to a non- sentient holographic program." The crowd again erupted into angry shouts that no gavel could silence.

The Captain stood noticeably shaken. "I would request this sentence," she spat out, "be delayed while we appeal the decision of the counsel."

"Request denied. We have no intention of subjecting Miss Hansen to another trial that will result in the same decision." He turned to face Seven, "we understand that you believe you love this hologram, but consider that your years separated from humans may have clouded your judgment." He was about to continue, but the Captain interrupted.

"I request that we be given time to prepare to transport the Doctor to Starfleet Medical."

"Granted, you have 24 hours to get the Doctor to Starfleet Medical. I make you personally responsible for ensuring his arrival Captain Janeway."

"That is not enough time."

"It will have to be. Do you understand your orders?"

"Understood," she said through gritted teeth.

"The Counsel is therefore adjourned."

The Captain turned back to the Doctor and Seven. Both sat very still, their expressions blank. The Captain leaned over the table, "this isn't over. I'll go to the President of the Federation if I have to. This is not over."

Seven had heard the verdict but it had yet to compute in her brain. She could hear the buzz of the courtroom but it was all background noise to her. Someone was calling her but she didn't know whom. There was so much noise it threatened to drown her. She found it difficult to breathe and looked around, for what she wasn't sure. Seven Seven, there it was again who could be calling her name. She brought her hands to her ears trying to drown out the deafening sounds around her.

"Seven can you hear me." The Doctor had knelt in front of her and was shaking her lightly. Her eyes locked onto his for a brief moment and then fluttered closed as she slumped forward. "She's fainted, help me get her out of here." The Doctor lifted her in his arms and carried her from the courtroom. The crew of Voyager parted as he walked from the room followed by The Captain, Commander and the rest of the senior officers.

Seven woke with a jolt. "Calm down, darling you're Ok you're safe." The Doctor's soothing voice calmed the palpitation in her heart.

She tried to rise, but he placed his hands on her shoulders forcing her to remain lying down. "What happened? Where are we?" she asked.

"We're home. I'm afraid the stress proved to great for you. You collapsed in the courtroom." With sudden clarity she remembered what had happened only hours before. A sob escaped her throat and she covered her face with her hands. "It's Ok darling, don't cry." The Doctor held her in his arms.

"It's over, it's all over," she cried. "What's going to happen to me?" Her worst fears had been realized. She was going to be parted forever with the only person whom she ever deeply loved.

"You're going to be fine. The Captain is taking you away from here tonight. I want you to go and never look back."

"I can't. I don't know how to live this life without you. I've forgotten how to function on my own. I've become weak."

"No you're strong. You have faced worse challenges than this and nothing has destroyed you yet. So many people love you. You'll never be alone."

"Without you I'll always be alone." The two held each other tightly for several minutes before pulling apart.

"The senior staff is here. They're waiting in the other room." The Doctor led Seven out of their bedroom to join their friends. The group stopped mid- conversation when the two walked in.

The Captain spoke first. "How do you feel Seven?"

"I am undamaged."

"We've been talking. Trying to decide what to do next."

"There is nothing left to do." The Doctor said bitterly. "We knew this could happen. We have to accept it." Seven said nothing. She found a chair and stared out a window avoiding looking at everyone.

"That may not be true Doctor." Belanna spoke up. "We have a plan we think may work."

"I'm listening."

"Well we hadn't wanted to say anything before, but we may still have a few bargaining chips up our sleeves." Everybody but Chakotay turned toward Belanna surprised. "Despite the reasons they've given, Chakotay and I think the reason the counsel decided against you was because your program gave them access to an enormous amount of new medical information that they wanted. We think they may be persuaded to part with you in exchange for something much more valuable."

"It is illogical to assume that the Counsels judgment will be changed by giving them something." Tuvok spoke up.

Belanna chose to ignore the Vulcan. "The Federation has experienced some severe losses since we've been in the Delta Quadrant. The war with the Dominion expended a great deal of resources and due to the loss of manpower Starfleet is having some trouble renewing them. Starfleet is particularly vulnerable right now." She paused before continuing. "Chakotay and I have done some checking and we found out that Starfleet hasn't found all the Maquis hidden arsenals."

"What does that have to do with anything," Harry piped up from the corner of the room.

"If you'd let her finish she'd tell you." Chakotay said angrily.

"I just think it's a bad idea to get Seven and the Doc's hopes up for nothing. Starfleet won't compromise. You make them sound like the Ferengi government willing to wheel and deal."

"Harry you need to drop the idea that Starfleet is this enlightened perfect group. Everybody has their price." Tom threw in.

"That's something you'd know about right Tom." Harry let the words hang in the air.

"What do you mean by that?" Tom asked standing up.

"Tom calm down," Belanna tugged at his arm trying to get him to sit down.

"No, I want to know what he meant by that."

Harry stood angrily. "I just don't think some Maquis scam will get them out of this."

"That Maquis scam," Chakotay started, "may be the only option left. If you have some great idea about how to keep the Doctor from being re-initialized we're all ears. Otherwise shut up and listen." At that last comment everything erupted into chaos. Tom, Harry, Belanna, and Chakotay had risen from their seats while Tuvok sat with one eyebrow slightly cocked once again perplexed by the human need for confrontation. Captain Janeway was massaging her forehead trying to ward off a headache, but Seven and the Doctor remained quiet. One lone tear slid down Seven's face. 'It's hopeless' she thought.

"Everybody sit down." The Captain turned toward her crew and issued the stern command. Silence ensued and everybody found their seats. "We have been through so much together and none of it's destroyed us. We faced the Kazon together, the Borg, and everything else the Delta Quadrant threw at us. We have survived near annihilation and still we grew closer. We are a family and I'll be damned if the one thing that kept us together will tear us apart now." The Captain turned and walked to the Doctor placing her hand on his shoulder. "I know things seem grim and we're faced with the possibility of losing one of the family, a person we have grown to respect and love, a person whom each and every one of us owes our lives to. I will not allow that to happen. If all else fails we will smuggle the Doctor's program off Earth and send them both someplace Starfleet will never find them. I would rather not have it come to that, so we'll go with Belanna's plan first. Belanna." The Captain turned to Belanna indicating she should continue.

"As I was saying, Chakotay and I have located a hidden cache of weapons belonging to the Maquis that nobody has found yet. Since the Maquis won't be using them anytime soon, we propose letting Starfleet know where the weapons are located. I also think if Seven provided Starfleet with some of her nanoprobes that would sweeten the pot, so to speak. This might be enough to convince Starfleet to overturn the Counsels verdict.

"It's worth a shot," the Captain said. "Are we all agreed?" Everybody nodded except Seven. "Seven this will only work if you agree as well."

"I will supply the nanoprobes."

"Excellent. We have to hurry. Starfleet Medical is expecting the Doctor in less than eighteen hours. I'll bring our offer to the President with Tuvok. Commander I want you and the rest of the senior staff working on a way to get the Doctor off Earth if we fail. I don't have to remind any of you that we are all risking a court martial and maybe worse if we fail. If anyone wants to back out now is the time." Nobody moved. "Now that's my crew. Let's go." The house quickly emptied of everyone except the Doctor and Seven.

They sat staring at each other silently for what felt like an eternity speaking to each other with their eyes before the Doctor spoke. "We can't allow them to do it you know."

"Yes I know."

"Then we're agreed."

She sighed, "Yes."

"I want you to know that loving you has made my short existence worth it all. I wouldn't change a day I've had with you."

"I wouldn't change a minute of my life, because if I did then I would never have known the joy and complete happiness I've known with you."

The Doctor's eyes were bright with tears. He walked over to the computer panel on the wall and pressed a few buttons. Seconds later a familiar tune filled the air. "Dance with me."

Seven walked slowly toward the Doctor and wrapped her arms around his neck. They swayed softly to the music and when it stopped they didn't notice. He held her close content to feel the beat of her heart against his chest. Quite suddenly she felt a wash of calm fall over her. A calm she hadn't known since they had landed on this god-awful planet. She pulled back and smiled softly. "Everything is going to be fine."

"Oh Seven, no. Don't do this to yourself."

"No, you don't understand. Everything is going to be fine. I know it."

He sighed and pulled her closer. 'I wish I had your confidence' He thought to himself.

The Doctor began his own mental countdown approximately five hours before he was due at Starfleet Medical. Seven had stayed awake most of the night, occasionally dozing off in his arms as they sat on the coach waiting for news. At four hours Seven reminded him that Naomi Wildmans birthday would be in a couple of weeks and they had promised to join her and her parents to celebrate. The Doctor said nothing hoping she wasn't losing it. At three hours he began to pace around the room, no word had come from either the Captain or Chakotay. He wondered if no news really was good news. At two hours Seven had insisted he stop pacing and assured him everything was going to be fine. At the last hour he was thoroughly beside himself. He had remained calm for her, but if she wasn't going to become hysterical he felt one of them should. When he began to voice his worries she walked to him and put her hand over his mouth. "Everything's going to be fine," she repeated. Fortunately for him she realized he was having serious doubts she pulled him to the couch and laid his head against her shoulder. He was still tense so she began to sing quietly. You are my sunshine My only sunshine You make me happy When skies are gray You'll never know dear How much I love you They'll never take my sunshine away She continued singing and he relaxed against her holding one of her slender hands against his cheek. He started to say something when their front door burst open and Tom and Belanna ran into the house. Both Seven and the Doctor jerked to their feet. Tom was quite out of breathe, but managed to utter three words, "We did it."

"I know you guys went through a lot of trouble, but we've decided not to run, we couldn't do that to you. We appreciate all you've done, but."

"Doc shut up. You don't understand, the Captain's convinced the President. They are not going to re-initialize your program."

The Doctor stared at him quite speechless. Seven, who had thrown her arms around him, awaked him from his stupor.

"Doc did you hear me?" Tom was practically shouting with excitement.

"I can't believe it." He whispered.

"Believe it Doc." Belanna was beaming from ear to ear. She and Tom embraced and watched Seven and the Doctor take in the information.

"Did you hear her my darling," the Doctor asked.

"Yes, my love I heard." She brought her lips to his and kissed him. "I love you."

"And I love you." He held her tight not wanting to let her go for an instant.

"I hate to break up this beautiful scene, but the Captain wants to see the two of you right away." Tom led the way to the awaiting shuttlecraft outside.

"What is our destination?" Seven asked when they had all taken their seats and Tom took the shuttlecraft up.

"You'll see." Belanna said grinning at Tom.

The Doctor and Seven stared at each other, their fingers entwined, both happier than they had been for a long time. How close they had come to eternal separation. The shuttle touched down softly thanks to Tom's skillful hands and he and Belanna led the way out. As Seven and the Doctor exited the shuttlecraft still arm in arm a huge cheer erupted. The crowd rushed to them encircling them. All of their friends, their family were their to celebrate.

Off to the side of the crowd stood the Captain and Commander. "What a ride that was," Kathryn commented.

"Ready for another one?" Chakotay asked putting his arm around her shoulder.

She smiled, "I don't think I'd like anything better," she said putting an arm around his waist.

He looked into her eyes with a sudden realization, "are you sure?"

"Yes, Chakotay, I'm sure." She smiled, "this is going to change everything you know."


"Yes, Chakotay, I promise."