I am Borg - Part 3 - Chapter 1

By Kudara

Disclaimer: Star Trek Voyager and all who sail in her belong to Paramount/Viacom and no infringement of copyright/trade marks is intended.

Warning: Contains f/f situations between women.

Rating: PG-13

Feedback: Always welcome, feedback is what encourages me to keep writing. Please let me know what you like and what you dislike about the story.

Summary: Seven goes on her first date with B'Elanna.


B'Elanna, Seven and Harry spent several hours in the Holodeck studying the Jem'Hadar rifle the next day. After the second day's testing Seven felt confident that she and B'Elanna could build the Jem'Hadar power cell. Harry had concentrated on finding out the alloy that was used for the rifle components and had reported that he was fairly certain he had the material structure figured out. B'Elanna had focused on determining how the weapon produced a coherent tachyon beam. As they were finishing up the second day's worth of testing, B'Elanna felt that she was starting to understand how it was created.

Seven saved the program and the three of them left the Holodeck, Harry headed back to the bridge while Seven and B'Elanna headed towards Engineering. Seven waited until they were alone on the turbolift before asking, "B'Elanna, do you have a dinner preference for this evening?"

"You mean what style of food?" B'Elanna asked trying to clarify what Seven meant.

"Yes," answered Seven. She had looked at the descriptions of the standard restaurant Holodeck programs and quickly realized she had no idea what B'Elanna would prefer to eat. Crewmembers had been expected to make use of the mess hall facilities the entire time she had been aboard Voyager, which meant they were expected to attempt to eat Nelix's cooking. The only thing Seven knew of B'Elanna's food preferences was that the woman was not fond of leola root, or Nelix's idea of spicy.

"I like Italian food, while I was at the Academy I used to go out and eat at an Italian restaurant quite often," said B'Elanna.

Seven immediately thought of one of the holoprograms she had noticed earlier of a restaurant located upon Capri Island off the coast of Italy. It was very highly rated and the description of the restaurant included what were apparently scenic views of the islands rocky coast.

The two of them had reached Engineering and Seven turned to B'Elanna and asked, "With your permission Lt. Torres I would like to perform routine maintenance on the Holodeck replicator." The Holodecks did not normally produce real food, however on those occasions when it was being used for dining purposes there was a replicator located behind the hologrid that produced the food served. All the restaurant programs carefully located the kitchen of the restaurant within the vicinity of the replicator so that the waiter holo-characters appeared to bring the food from the correct location.

B'Elanna smiled, "That sounds like a good idea, I'd hate for there to be anything wrong with that particular replicator today."

Seven smiled back at B'Elanna, well she quirked her lips upward in her personal version of a smile, "That would be unfortunate," she said as she picked up an engineering kit and then walked back out of Engineering.

Seven made her way back to the Holodeck, once there she realized that someone was already running a holoprogram. Seven checked to see who was utilizing the Holodeck and discovered that Samantha and Naomi Wildman were running a Flotter program.

"Seven to Ensign Wildman," Seven decided to ask if she could come into the Holodeck and perform the maintenance while it was in use.

"Ensign Wildman here," came the reply.

"Ensign Wildman, I need to perform maintenance upon the Holodeck replicator. Would you or Naomi Wildman mind if I entered and performed my maintenance while you were utilizing the Holodeck?" Seven asked, being careful to be polite since she was asking for what was termed a favor. Unless it was an emergency repair, Engineering was not supposed to interrupt scheduled Holodeck time.

There was a pause then, "Sure Seven, it won't affect the Flotter program."

"Thank you, Ensign Wildman," Seven said and then closed the communications channel. Stepping into the Holodeck she opened her tricorder and used it to locate where in the holoprogram the replicator was hidden. She could not see Samantha or Naomi Wildman and was pleased that she was not interrupting their time together.

Using her optical implant and tricorder Seven carefully checked all the systems of the replicator thoroughly ensuring that it would produce faithful replications of the dishes that were to be served this evening. As she was finishing up Samantha Wildman and Naomi Wildman appeared.

Samantha Wildman gave Seven a smile and curious look, "Usually that replicator gets checked out of schedule when someone from Engineering is planning on using the Holodeck to take someone out for a dinner date."

"Yes," replied Seven interested in the trivia which indicated that she was performing the pre-date protocol correctly, though this had not been included as one of the steps in her studies. A tactical review of the possible failures of the evening planned had brought this up as an equipment check that was needed.

Samantha Wildman shifted, Naomi who had been staring back and forth at the two women grinned at Seven and asked, "Who are you going out on a date with Seven? Lt. Torres?"

Samantha Wildman looked at her daughter with and outraged mother look and then was thoroughly sidetracked from rebuking her daughter by Seven's reply.

"You are correct Naomi Wildman, Lt. Torres and I are going to dinner together this evening. It will be our first date," replied Seven.

"What are you going to wear?" asked Naomi curiously. Samantha was embarrassed at her daughter's questions but she was so thoroughly curious by now that she didn't attempt to stop her daughter from grilling the ex-Borg.

"I have not decided," admitted Seven, "I believe I should consult with Lt. Torres before making a decision."

Naomi nodded and Samantha finally found her voice, "That's probably a good idea Seven, nothing is more embarrassing than showing up for a date and being either under dressed or over dressed."

Seven looked at Samantha confused as to the woman's meaning. Literally the words did not make much sense, as they implied that one would either be wearing too few or too many clothes.

Samantha, seeing Seven's confusion tried again, "You don't want to be wearing casual clothing and Lt. Torres show up wearing a formal dress or vice versa."

Seven nodded, that was the situation that the Andorian dating guide had described as a social gaffe that should be avoided. "I will consult with Lt. Torres as soon as our duty shift is over," she assured them. "I must return to Engineering..." Seven hesitated searching for the correct phrase, "Please enjoy the rest of your day."

Samantha Wildman stared for a second and then stammered out, "You too Seven, I hope your date goes well."

Naomi Wildman grinned at Seven, "Lt. Torres is pretty."

Seven raised a brow at this observation then nodded, "I concur, Naomi Wildman."

Samantha now feeling a vast sense of unreality broke into the conversation, "Well our Holodeck time is up." Samantha had taken a long time to get used to the fact that the ex-drone was no threat to her daughter. She had done her best to keep Naomi from finding out the grim fate of her friend and had been overjoyed to find out that Seven was still alive. However, this new Seven had her off balance, it wasn't that she didn't like the new polite and more emotional Seven, it was just... odd.

Seven left the Holodeck and returned to Engineering. Lt. Torres was absorbed with running some dilithium matrix diagnostics and Seven did not want to disturb her with what was after all personal business. Instead Seven waited and monitored the warp displays, when the power fluctuation that had been present stabilized Seven knew that B'Elanna had been successful.

She turned and looked at the Chief Engineer giving B'Elanna a congratulatory smile and receiving a warm smile in return. The smile caused Seven to reflect on how much she enjoyed the current state of affairs between her and B'Elanna much more than their previous adversarial one.

Seven briefly brought up images in her minds eye, of B'Elanna when Seven had been particularly successful in irritating the woman, and realized that she still was entranced by how the engineer looked when she was angry. The way her skin colored more warmly from being flushed, the way she seemed to vibrate with energy, and the passionate look in her eyes. Now if there was only a way to obtain that look without the unpleasant argument, Seven thought.

Unbidden her memory brought up the image of Jorunn right after their last kiss, Seven was confused as to what one had to do with the other before she noted how Jorunn's face had changed because of her arousal. Suddenly she realized why her memory had presented this image to her. Seven paused and looked across Engineering at B'Elanna and tried to imagine how she would look in a state of arousal.

The picture that rose in her mind was very like the one's she remembered from their arguments, but instead of anger there was an intent look of desire. Seven's breath caught for a moment at the image, and she felt an odd tingle race through her body that seemed to end concentrated in her groin and fingertips. B'Elanna looked up at that moment and their gazes met, for both of them the rest of Engineering seemed to fade away for a moment until Lt. Carey actually coughed trying to get Lt. Torres attention. The moment broken both women jerked their gaze away from the other.

Seven looked at the displays in front of her, not really paying attention to their meaning, but trying to regain control of what suddenly seemed to be a runaway endocrine system. She seemed to be in a state of hyper awareness, her body taunt, her breathing increased, eyes dilated. Seven wondered if this was how B'Elanna felt when she was looking at her and growling. Seven felt the sensations drain away and knew that her nanoprobes had taken care of them, feeling calmer she wondered how B'Elanna dealt with the emotions, they had seemed so overwhelming.

Thankfully Alpha shift was over relatively quickly and Seven and B'Elanna headed out of Engineering toward B'Elanna's quarters agreeing that a snack of some type was in order since they would be eating late. Once they had reached her quarters B'Elanna replicated a selection of fruit and cheese. It had become a favorite of Seven's since the first time B'Elanna had prepared a plate for them during one of their late night discussions over the chemical reactor.

"B'Elanna," said Seven somewhat hesitantly, "I wish to discuss the appropriate clothing for this evening. I understand it is important that we agree upon the appropriate..." Seven frowned searching for the correct words.

"Casual or formal clothing, you mean," said B'Elanna.

Relieved Seven nodded, and then looked expectantly at B'Elanna.

"So... which would you prefer Seven, you're the one who gets to decide since you invited me." B'Elanna smiled at Seven's confusion.

Seven stared at B'Elanna in uncertainty for a moment, "How does one decide," she finally asked.

"Well," said B'Elanna considering, "Usually the type of restaurant you are going to decides the level of clothing appropriate. Usually the holoprograms are marked as formal if formal evening wear is suggested," B'Elanna said helpfully.

Seven straightened reassured, "No dress requirements were mentioned for the holoprogram I have chosen, therefore the dress for this evening will be casual." With the unexpectedly difficult task of addressing clothing issues completed, Seven began to worry that B'Elanna might not like her choice of holoprograms. Seven of course knew that B'Elanna liked Italian food but further study into that particular ethnic food revealed distinctive differences in regional food preparation.

"Seven," B'Elanna said, "I'm sure I'll like wherever you chose for dinner."

Seven jerked her gaze away from her abstract perusal of the floor to B'Elanna's face, wondering how the other woman had guessed her thoughts.

B'Elanna smiled, "I'll be worrying about the same thing the first time I take you out to eat Seven," she explained.

Seven smiled shyly back and then noticed the time, "B'Elanna, I must go to my own quarters to prepare for our date. I will meet you here at 1945 hours if that is acceptable."

"That is acceptable," B'Elanna agreed still smiling.

Seven headed to her own quarters to shower and dress, uncharacteristically she hesitated for a long moment over the various color choices she had, finally settling on a Mularan outfit of a white shirt with blue pants and wraps. She left her hair down and loosely gathered at the nape of her neck, knowing that B'Elanna preferred her hair this way.

Heading back to B'Elanna's quarters she waited somewhat patiently for B'Elanna to respond to the admittance chime. When the doors to B'Elanna's quarters opened Seven was surprised to see B'Elanna wearing a white sleeveless shirt and black pants with sandals.

Seven allowed her eyes to roam for a moment over the torso of the compact woman, admiring the contrast between the whiteness of the shirt and the caramel skin tone, the discrete but defined musculature revealed by the sleeveless top. Suddenly Seven was uncertain of her own clothing choice which was what she usually wore after working hours.

"You look good in those colors, Seven," said B'Elanna correctly interpreting Seven's glance from her own clothing to B'Elanna's.

Reassured, Seven replied "Thank you B'Elanna, you look..." Seven paused for a moment wondering what adjective would be appropriate, "very nice as well," she finished. Touchable was more of a correct adjective for what Seven thought but she was fairly certain it was not the polite comment to actually make.

The two women paused for a moment awkwardly then Seven said, "It is almost 2000 hours, we should proceed to the Holodeck." B'Elanna nodded and the two women made their way to the Holodeck which was already empty. "Computer run program Capri Island," instructed Seven.

B'Elanna looked at her curiously not familiar with the islands name as they entered the Holodeck. They stepped directly into the restaurant and were greeted by a gentleman wearing an old fashioned black suit and white shirt that lead them through the restaurant to the open air seating area. "Welcome to Le Grottelle," he said, "your waiter will be with you shortly. In the meantime please enjoy the view of the Arco Naturale."

B'Elanna and Seven looked out over the ledge of the seating area down a steep cliff face to where the man was pointing. Towering in the air no less than 100 meters away, was a natural rock arch that dominated the view of the cliff and ocean. The cliff face was rocky and densely covered with short pine trees and vegetation. The grey limestone rocks and dark green of the pine made for a beautiful view.

The open eating area was covered with a wooden awning and vines with deep purple flowers ran up the poles to the awning and along its top. Seven was pleasantly surprised with the view and enjoyed the feel of the breeze and the height that allowed her to look out far over the ocean. Looking at B'Elanna's openly interested face as she leaned over the railing to examine the cliff, arch and ocean; Seven knew she had made the correct choice for their first date.

"Where are we?" asked B'Elanna curiously.

"Capri Island," answered Seven, "Approximately 5 kilometers off the coast of Italy in the Gulf of Naples. The island is about six kilometers long and three kilometers wide, and has a total coastline of seventeen kilometers." Seven recited from her studies of the island.

Just then their waiter appeared with menu's which he placed before them, "Ladies may I get you any drinks before you order?" he asked politely.

Seven who had researched non-synthol beverages in preparation replied, "San Pellegrino water."

B'Elanna looked at her curiously before ordering a glass of white wine. "What's Pellegrino water?"

"Sparkling mineral water originally produced in Italy," explained Seven as she opened her menu to examine the dinner choices. Seven had already decided to try some of the local cuisine after reading about the combination of Greek and Italian influences upon it. Seven quickly decided to have the Insalada Caprese, a salad of mozzarella, tomatoes, basil and olive oil, followed by an appetizer of stuffed calamari and a dinner of Ravioli alla Caprese. The ravioli sounded quite interesting being stuffed with a filling of caciotta cheese, parmesan and marjoram and served in a tomato and basil sauce.

When the waiter came back Seven quickly gave her order and then waited to see what B'Elanna would choose. To Seven's surprise B'Elanna gave her a considering look and then said, "I'll have the same please," to the waiter. When the waiter left B'Elanna turned to Seven, "I was thinking of having the wild quail but the ravioli sounded more interesting."

"What made you choose this program?" B'Elanna asked Seven curiously.

"I knew you liked the ocean and Italian food B'Elanna, combining the two seemed a logical choice. It is more... beautiful than I thought it would be," admitted Seven.

"Yes it is beautiful," agreed B'Elanna. She wondered how Seven had known she loved the ocean and then remembered the extensive study Seven had done of B'Elanna's relationship with Tom. Undoubtedly that was when Seven had noticed B'Elanna's fondness of water. "I usually like sandy beaches, but I think I may have to expand my choices due to this view."

The waiter appeared once again with their salads and placed them before the two women. After inquiring whether there was anything else they needed he went to check on one of the holographic couples at the restaurant. Seven examined the salad in front of her curiously and then picked up what she knew from her studies was the salad fork and began eating.

The salad was an interesting mixture of flavors, the creamy mild salty taste of the mozzarella, with the clean sharp taste of the basil and tomato and the mild olive flavor of the oil. Thankfully the serving was small or the two women would have found themselves stuffed from the filling salad alone.

As they ate the salad they discussed the stone arch and Seven described how it had once been the opening of a large grotto. The interior of the grotto had worn away over time and fallen into the ocean, leaving only the rocky opening remaining. Once Seven had described the formation of the arch it was not difficult for B'Elanna to form in her mind the original grotto, obviously far in the past the edge of the cliff face had extended several meters further.

A few minutes after the two of them had finished off their salads the waiter brought out the stuffed calamari. B'Elanna, to get a conversational ball rolling that wasn't about engineering or astrometrics, asked Seven about the history of the island. Seven was more than willing to comply and began telling B'Elanna about the excavated villa's that Emperor Tiberius had built on the island in the Terran year 30 A.D. Capri had remained under Roman control until 1200 A.D. when it changed hands to the Normans, then to the Spanish, and finally to the French until around 1800 A.D. when it again came under Italian control.

Their main course had been delivered by the waiter by this time and Seven paused while they both turned their attention to consuming the pasta dish. The combination of cheeses, herbs and tomatoes was quite good and both women settled back from their dinners feeling rather full. When the waiter came back over and took their dinner plates and left the dessert menu with them.

Seven, who had already researched the desert choices, knew that she wanted to try the Torta Caprese, a flourless torte made of chocolate, ground almonds, butter and sugar. As soon as the waiter came back she confidently gave her order, "I will have the Torta Caprese and a cappuccino, please."

B'Elanna smiled at Seven amused, she had heard that the Captain had made another coffee convert and obviously it was true. "Rakatajino and Torta Caprese," B'Elanna ordered, preferring the Klingon version of cappuccino with its spicier and nuttier taste.

While they waited for their deserts Seven continued relating the history of the island. Describing how it had survived through the Eugenics Wars and World War III only because of its low strategic value. Colonel Green had actually visited the island on vacation and had from all accounts enjoyed his time there.

When the waiter reappeared with their drinks and deserts both women stopped talking and examined the slender slices of torte that were placed in front of them. The apparent density of the torte spoke to it's richness before either of them tasted it. Seven picked up her fork and separated a small piece and tasted it, the richness of bittersweet chocolate and almonds filled her mouth eliciting an appreciative noise from her.

B'Elanna chuckled softly at Seven's obvious enjoyment of the torte and took up her fork to start eating the desert herself. After the first bite she understood the look on Seven's face. "Very rich," she commented to Seven enjoying the strong flavors.

A nod was all the reply she got for the moment as Seven was experiencing her first taste of the cappuccino. B'Elanna mused that the evening was already more of a success than Seven's other two dates. She still felt a twinge of sorrow for Seven, but she also felt a bit of victory that she was the one who was sharing this experience with Seven.

Seven had also been a good conversationalist... granted a discussion of the history of the island hadn't been what she had expected at the beginning of the evening. It was something she associated with Chakotay, but not a side of Seven that she had expected. The ex-drone had apparently found the history of the island very interesting and had mentioned that she would like to come back to look at the Roman excavations and the gardens that had been built in the early 1900's.

Seven glanced at B'Elanna examining the proud profile of a face that was turned to look out over the restless ocean. A pleasing steady breeze was blowing inland and pushing B'Elanna's hair back from her face. Seven wasn't sure she had been pleasant company during the evening, the Andorian study had been quite sure that she should have let B'Elanna talk about herself. Instead Seven had spent the entire evening discussing the general history of the island. The only thing that gave her any consolation was that B'Elanna had asked about the history of the island first and she hadn't shown any signs that she found the conversation boring.

They had finished their deserts and beverages and were enjoying sitting on the open deck in the sunshine when Seven realized they only had thirty minutes of Holodeck time remaining. "B'Elanna," she said hesitantly, "There is one other place on the island I would like to visit before our time expires."

B'Elanna looked at Seven curiously, "Sure Seven, can we walk there from here?"

"I believe it would be more expedient for us to change locations in the program, it would take us too long to walk there from here," said Seven as she stood and waited for B'Elanna to stand as well. "Computer change location to La Grotto Azzurra." Suddenly the landscape changed, now they were standing on a rocky ledge right next to the ocean. Metal railing separated them from the water and a set of steps lead down to a boat that was being held steady for them by a waiting boatman.

"Ladies, I was not certain you would be arriving this evening, if you will step down into the boat I will row us into the grotto. Remember you will need to bend down as we enter the grotto to avoid injury, the opening is very low," the boatman said. His smile was bright against his seamed and tanned face.

Seven nodded back to him, then turned to B'Elanna and indicated that she should go first. Bemusedly B'Elanna did so and as she got into the boat she looked up at the sheer cliff face that hung above them. There was no beach here, the ocean waves dashed themselves directly against the stony cliff. Fifteen meters away she could see the low narrow grotto opening that was their destination. Seven stepped into the boat behind her and the boatman started rowing them toward the opening.

The boatman was correct about them needing to bend down reflected B'Elanna as they scraped under the rocky opening and into a stunning cavern. As the boatman kept rowing B'Elanna glanced around at the low stone cavern they had entered and gasped. The cavern itself was fairly unremarkable; limestone walls enclosed a long narrow area of sixty meters by twenty-five meters. What gave the grotto its name was the intense blue color of the water.

Seven examined the color intensity of the water with satisfaction; she knew that the blue color was the result of an underwater opening that refracted the sunlight into the grotto. Knowing the explanation behind the intense color however did not dim her enjoyment of the experience. As they reached the midpoint of the cavern Seven said, "Computer pause boat at this location and delete holo-character."

The boat obediently paused and the boatman disappeared leaving them alone in the middle of the cavern, the under lit blueness of the water playing along the cavern walls and the face of the woman across from her. B'Elanna was suddenly struck by how the reflected water color made Seven's eyes look almost the same color as the water. Gingerly B'Elanna crouched, "Computer hold boat steady," she moved toward the prow of the boat where Seven was seated looking at her curiously.

"It may be a bit premature," B'Elanna said as she sat on the slat directly opposite Seven, "but I believe this is the perfect location for us to have our first kiss if you don't mind."

Seven felt suddenly short of breath, "I believe that is the expected ending to the first date. This location is ...," Seven initially wanted to say acceptable, but in truth this location was more than acceptable. "This location would be perfect for our first kiss."

B'Elanna grinned, "Perfect huh, I just hope the kiss can live up to its location then." B'Elanna had been imagining this moment for the entire week, and she wanted it to be perfect. Examining the situation she could see only one satisfactory way to get close enough to Seven to kiss her the way she wanted, she just hoped that it wouldn't come across as too aggressive. Slowly she stood in the now rock still boat and straddled Seven's knees looking down at her. To her surprise Seven reached up and placed her hands on her waist and pulled her down so that she was sitting on Seven's knees facing her.

'Well I guess I wasn't being too aggressive' B'Elanna thought as she rested her hands on Seven's shoulders. B'Elanna examined Seven's face noting the dilated eyes and increased respiration. With a grin she stated, "Seven your eyes are dilated and your respiration has increased."

"As have yours," Seven responded.

"I guess that means we are both aroused then," B'Elanna said right before she leaned in to lightly brush her lips across Seven's. As Seven's hands at her waist pulled her in closer she leaned back, preventing Seven from deepening the kiss. What she thought was a frustrated sigh caused B'Elanna to grin mischievously before she leaned in to gently brush her lips against Seven's again, an answering light nip across her bottom lip both surprised and excited B'Elanna.

Seven shifted one of her hands from B'Elanna's waist and moved it up her back, pressing B'Elanna forward and causing her to slide toward Seven until they were firmly resting against one another. A light nip from B'Elanna in response to her action, increased the feeling of arousal Seven was experiencing. Remembering her lesson's from Jorunn Seven gently raked her teeth over B'Elanna's lower lip then gently soothed it with her tongue.

The resulting groan from B'Elanna was all that she could have wished, letting Seven know that she was performing correctly. When B'Elanna repeated the same move Seven found that rational thought was becoming increasingly difficult. Seven felt B'Elanna's hands move from her shoulders to rest with one behind her neck and one gently cupping the back of her head. When B'Elanna's tongue slipped between her lips and started exploring her mouth all thought fled and she reacted instinctively meeting B'Elanna's tongue with her own.

Neither of them particularly realized that the five minute warning had passed unnoticed, they did however notice when the boat disappeared from beneath them leaving them sitting on one another's laps on the floor of the Holodeck. "Ladies, I believe your time has expired," said the voice of the Captain.

B'Elanna felt as thought someone had suddenly dumped ice water over her, as she jerked her head around to look at what was essentially the mother of the woman she had just been kissing. Stumbling to her feet she extended her hand to help a confused and slightly disgruntled looking Seven to her feet.

"Uhm... sorry Captain, I didn't hear the five minute warning," babbled B'Elanna, noticing that the Captain was dressed in her Velocity outfit and that Chakotay was also present. He was standing several feet away from the Captain with his hand covering what was undoubtedly a wide grin.

"I noticed," said Janeway dryly. "I gather your dinner went well?" she asked.

"Yes, Captain," responded Seven, somewhat confused as to why Kathryn was asking how their evening had went. Searching her memory for a reason she realized that Kathryn was properly fulfilling her role as 'mother' as described in the Andorian study. It was the duty of the mother to frustrate and block all efforts at intimacy until a sufficient emotional bond had formed between the daughter and her suitor to ensure that they would have meaningful instead of casual sex. Apparently there was an important distinction between the two forms of intimacy, and mothers were in fact supposed to ensure their daughters did not experience the lesser form.

Satisfied that she knew the answer Seven realized that Kathryn's attention was on B'Elanna not on her; obviously B'Elanna was currently in the 'suitor' role as far as Kathryn was concerned. B'Elanna must have realized this as well for in the next moment she said, "The dinner was excellent Captain, we spent most of the evening discussing the history of Capri Island. I was just about to escort Seven to her quarters if you have no objections."

"No of course not, I have no objections to you escorting Seven to the door of her quarters," said Janeway with an emphasis on the word door.

"Yes, ma'am," replied B'Elanna nervously. "I'll escort her there now Captain unless you have anything else?"

Finally Janeway turned to Seven, "Did you have an enjoyable evening Annika?"

Seven graced her with one of her rare full smiles, "Yes I did Kathryn, and B'Elanna and I will not engage in casual sex this evening. Your interruption had its intended effect; I believe it was the equivalent of 'turning the front light on'?"

"I've got to read that Andorian study, apparently it was quite comprehensive," said Kathryn chuckling over Annika's bluntness. "And yes that was the equivalent of turning the front light on."

Seven nodded satisfied; tilting her head to the side she pondered the correct course of action from this point. "I hope you have a good Velocity game, Kathryn. Would it be acceptable at this point for me to wish you a good night and exchange hugs?"

Kathryn's face relaxed into her mother look and she huskily replied, "Yes it would be acceptable."

Seven walked over to Kathryn and gently bent down and hugged the older woman, "Have a good night Kathryn, and thank you for caring about my wellbeing."

Kathryn returned the hug firmly, allowing herself to acknowledge the bond she had with this one extraordinary person she had freed from the Collective. Kathryn broke the hug and stepped back slightly then reached up and gently cupped Annika's face, "You have a good night as well Annika, and I've always cared about your wellbeing."

Seven flashed to a similar moment with the Borg Queen, looking into Kathryn's eyes now though she saw what had been lacking in the Queen's eyes then. Caring, love, compassion. It was why, after all, she had been able to break the Queen's hold over her to obey Kathryn's order in the Queen's ship.

"I know," Annika admitted softly. "I care about yours as well." The two women stepped back from one another, Annika nodded politely to the now slightly stunned looking Chakotay, "Have a good game Commander." Then she turned back to B'Elanna.

"Captain, Commander," B'Elanna said surprised herself at the openly emotional moment between the Captain and Seven, 'Kathryn and Annika', she corrected to herself. "Enjoy your game." With that the two of them left the Holodeck and proceeded quietly back to Deck 9.

Noting that B'Elanna had remained silent Seven hesitantly asked, "B'Elanna are you displeased with the way our first date ended?"

B'Elanna pulled out of her thoughts looked into Seven's uncertain face and hurried to reassure her, "Surprised by how it ended. I guess I hadn't really considered all the implications of your relationship with the Captain. It's probably best though that she 'turned the front light on'," said B'Elanna with a grin. "I've never had the experience of dealing with a date's parents."

"A new experience for the both of us then," noted Seven. "B'Elanna, I would be pleased if you would call me Annika when we are off duty."

B'Elanna smiled broadly; she had noted the Captain's use of Seven's human name and had been hurt that Seven hadn't yet invited her to use it as well. "I'd be happy to Annika."

They paused in front of Seven's quarters, both of them suddenly hesitant and searching for something to say. B'Elanna finally said, "Thank you for the date Annika, it was wonderful. I'll have to think of something that will be just as nice to invite you to go out with me to."

"You would like to go on another date with me?" Seven asked hesitantly.

"I would be very disappointed if we didn't Annika," B'Elanna said and then stepped forward to pull Seven's face toward hers for a brief kiss. "Good night," B'Elanna wished her as she stepped back from Seven who now had a soft smile on her face.

"Good night B'Elanna," replied Seven as she stepped through the door into her quarters.


"Do you want me to take Seven off my Away Team list?" Chakotay asked Kathryn after the other two women had left.

"Why would you do that?" asked Kathryn puzzled.

"Well, because of the nature of the relationship between you. I assumed you wouldn't want to put her in any more danger than necessary," Chakotay said hesitantly, unsure of Kathryn's reaction.

Kathryn shook her head, "I would never do that to her, my parent's never tried to shield me from difficulties, and though I may not have appreciated it when I was younger, I do now. I've certainly relied on my early lessons of not to give up just because something was difficult out here in the Delta Quadrant. Besides, out of everyone on this ship, Seven is the most likely to be able to survive an attack and be able to protect the rest of the Away Team."

"So she really did get injured with a spear and just pulled it out and used it to kill the man who attacked her with it?" asked Chakotay who had been uncertain if the fight description had been exaggerated.

"Yes, she did. From her description to me she barely bled from the injury and was pretty much fully healed after an hour. And that was with her walking at a brisk place for the entire time," said Kathryn.

Kathryn still wasn't sure what to think about the extensive modifications that Mulara had made to Annika. In many ways she was, as she had just stated to Chakotay, reassured that Annika could survive most attacks. On the other hand, given what Mulara had told her the other evening she was becoming more concerned that those modifications would be needed for Annika to survive whatever task Mulara asked of her.

"That reminds me," said Kathryn as they began the Velocity program, "I've got a reading list put together for Seven and B'Elanna. I would like you to go over it as well, see if you think I've left out anything important."

"The studies Mulara asked you to start?" inquired Chakotay who had been informed of the events on the Holodeck. He, like the Captain, was dismayed at the thought that Voyager would play such a pivotal role in future events. Though, unlike the Captain, he wasn't as certain that Seven would be able to fulfill the role Mulara had in mind for her.

He was more dismayed by the thought that B'Elanna was getting involved with the ex-Borg, and thus involving herself directly in whatever plans Mulara had for Seven. He had hoped that the two of them would become friends, but the passionate scene he and a positively gleeful Captain had interrupted definitely proved that the rumor mill was correct. He had been confused as to why the Captain had wanted to play such a late Velocity game, but she had filled him in as to her actual reason as they stood outside the Holodeck and waited for Seven's reserved time to expire.

The following scene between Seven and Kathryn had not been one he had expected. He had thought that Seven would be irritated at the very least by Kathryn's actions, and her amused and accepting reaction had surprised him. As had the muted emotional declaration of caring between the two of them that had spurred him to inquire if he should refrain from assigning Seven to any more Away missions.

As they started playing Velocity, Chakotay glanced at Kathryn, thinking that she had seen something special in Seven from the beginning. Perhaps he should trust more in her judgment of Seven than he had previously, he considered.

"Yes, I was planning on starting the training as soon as I finalized their first reading list," said Kathryn.

"Sounds like a good idea, I'll read it over first thing in the morning and get back to you," he offered.


Seven finished getting ready for bed and slipped underneath the sheets, wishing for a moment that B'Elanna was present to hold her. She accepted that it was a good idea that they hadn't continued their actions on the Holodeck in either of their quarters, however, she didn't like the aching feeling of desire that was still with her.

After turning restlessly for a while, Seven finally got up and lit a candle, starting the first meditation that Tuvok had taught her in an effort to regain control of her emotions enough to sleep.