Desperate Times

Disclaimer: Star Trek Voyager doesn't belong to me.

Note: I've always found the interactions between Seven and Tuvok to be interesting, and so I thought… why not?

Reviews as always are welcome… thanks for the response already

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Even after an hour, he could not achieve the proper meditative state, a fact which he found most disquieting.

Commander Tuvok rose from his cross legged posture on the floor and extinguished the flame, resigned to the fact that balance would continue to elude him, at least for the time being.

The recent peculiar instances on board the ship were ones most suited to his abilities as Chief Security officer, so therefore it was only logical that he head the investigation.

Unfortunately, he and the Captain differed in this opinion.

He remembered their conversation three hours ago.

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"Has she said anything?"

The Captain's frustration was palpable as she paced the length of her ready room. Tuvok could certainly understand her position, he was frustrated himself, even though he suppressed it as always.

Even in this most trying circumstance.

It was absolutely imperative that he not let emotion rule him at this time.

"She has spoken, but Seven pointedly refuses to discuss anything related to the incident. She has asked me to convey her apologies to you personally for her actions."

He successfully managed to keep his tone level, something that seemed to be requiring a great deal of effort, to his dismay.

The Captain sighed.

"It doesn't make any sense, Tuvok. She was fine yesterday, she showed up at the morning briefing, she participated, she proposed a plan to help boost the long range sensors… she was in her element. Where did this come from?"

Recognising this as a hypothetical question, Tuvok nevertheless felt the need to respond.

"I do not know."

The Captain's eyes were on him now, tender, compassionate. Inwardly, he steeled himself from what he knew was to follow.

"What about you, Tuvok? Did she appear to be acting odd at all when you two saw each other this morning?"

He squashed the desire to point out that, had Seven been acting in a manner unusual to her normal behavior, he would have realised it out right away.

"She was not displaying any unusual behavior."

The Captain sighed again, then her eyes turned serious.

"Tuvok… are you absolutely certain there's nothing else you want to tell me?"

Although the answer was 'no', Tuvok realized the answer to the question, while a personal one, might be of help.

"She has been… distant for the past few days."

The Captain folded her arms, an ominous sign.

He continued before she could interrupt.

"This in itself is not unusual. Our bond is newly formed, and we are both solitary individuals by nature. She has been… attempting to once again get used to the thoughts of another in her mind. It is not an easy thing for her, especially after her experiences with the collective.

"I try to 'give her her space', as you say. I find that it has helped her to feel a great deal more comfortable, to know that her thoughts can still continue to be her own."

The Captain had listened carefully, her face softening with each word he spoke.

He was very uncomfortable, principally because Vulcans tended not to discuss intimate relationships with others; but the Captain was a friend.

She was one of the very few people on board ship that he would tell of his personal life, and even then there was discomfort.

Indeed, she now stood well away from him, a compassionate look on her face.

"Is she still distant?"

Tuvok actually had to work to hide the flinch.

"I cannot sense her thoughts or feelings at this time. It appears that she has erected a mental barrier. I... would not tear it down."

The last sentence had been barely above a whisper.

The Captain seemed to come to a decision.

"Tuvok, I'm sorry, but you know what I have to do. I can't allow you to work on this, not with your attachment to Seven."

"Captain…"

"Tuvok, I hate to use the words 'emotionally compromised' when it comes to you… but you know Starfleet protocol in cases like these. And no matter how much I trust your logic, you can't promise me that you'll behave like your normal self if I let you lead this investigation."

He did see the logic, even if admitting it was uncomfortable.

"Get some sleep, Commander. Report to my ready room tomorrow, 08.00 hours.

"Two requests Captain, if I may."

"Yes?"

"I request that Lieutenant Ayala take over the investigation."

"Granted. And?"

"Let me talk to Seven. Unofficially. Ascertain how she… feels. She seems unwilling to co operate with pointed questions. You know how Seven reacts when she believes she is cornered."

A warning tone entered the Captain's voice.

"Commander…"

"Please, Captain. There is something… deeply bothering her. She may not show it, but I can tell. She considers you a friend as well… perhaps if you accompany me, she may relent.

"I understand that I cannot lead this investigation… but I know Seven of Nine. I can be of assistance."

The Captain considered.

"Request granted. Now go and get some sleep Commander, that's an order."

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As Tuvok pulled on his uniform in preparation to meet with the Captain, he could not help reaching out one more time to Seven in his mind.

Once again, he received no response.

Had he been human, he would have sighed.

He had gotten a mere 2.5 hours of sleep, which, while not optimal, was better than none.

"Computer, locate Seven of Nine."

"Seven of Nine is in the brig."

Of course she was still in the brig.

He had put her there with orders for her not to be moved until she cooperated. It had been the logical thing to do, but he… felt… uncomfortable.

Willing the feeling away, he left for his meeting with the Captain.

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