"Kathryn, is there something bothering you?" Seven had been watching Kathryn for a while now, and it was obvious the older woman had something on her mind. As soon as she had entered Kathryn's quarters, it was evident something was amiss. The lights were at fifty percent, and Kathryn was sitting at her table drinking a cup of coffee lost deep in thought. She even had her uniform jacket off. It was an odd sight even to Seven.
Seven, for her part, had entered and sat down on the couch by the window facing Kathryn not wanting to interrupt her, but it had been almost ten minutes.
"What? I'm sorry, Seven? What did you say?" Kathryn looked up to find her blond companion sitting on the couch giving her a very odd expression somewhere between curiosity and concern.
"You have been sitting there drinking you coffee in silence since I arrived. I am not certain you even notice my arrival."
"I'm sorry. I've just got a lot on my mind." Janeway took another thoughtful sip of coffee. In the darkness of the cabin, it was hard for Seven to tell what exactly was going on behind Kathryn's eyes, but she was certain it was something worth probing her about.
"Would you like to talk about it?" She stood and walked across the room to take a seat next to Kathryn.
"I'm not sure if I want to." Kathryn sighed and turned to face Seven. "It's about Chakotay."
Seven gave indication of some shock, but tried to keep herself composed. "How so?"
"He's getting worse, Seven. He's jealous and unsure. He's confused, hurt, and … if this goes on, I'm afraid it's going to interfere with his duties as first officer."
"That is unlike the Commander."
"I know. That's what concerns me. I think that, if we just went ahead and told everyone, it would make things better somehow."
Kathryn reached out and rested her hand on Seven's knee. "It would, at the very least, let him know exactly who the competition for both of us is, and he could confront it head on instead of having to act as though he knows nothing."
"You suspect he knows?"
Janeway chuckled, patted Seven on the knee, then stood to face the window. "The whole crew knows."
"Are you certain of this?" Seven turned in her chair to watch Kathryn pace in front of the stars.
The normal hum of Voyager filled the silence as Kathryn looked for the right way to explain. She finally decided the truth, as always, was the right way to go. "Tuvok."
"Of course." Seven stood and placed a hand on Kathryn's arm, stilling her. "What do you propose we do?"
Kathryn shook her head. "I don't know. It's a delicate situation." She signed and leaned her head against Seven's strong shoulder taking comfort in the arms that were being protectively wrapped around her. "I guess we'll have to play it by ear and take the opportunity when it arises."
"Perhaps." Seven brushed Kathryn's cheek running a finger under her chin and pulling her head up to meet her gaze. "We will prevail."
Kathryn smiled. "Spoken like a true Borg."
Seven cocked her head to one side and raised an eyebrow. "Resistance is futile." She leaned down and brushed a light kiss across Kathryn's lip.
Kathryn moaned. "Words I've heard far too often, but, this time, I'm apt to agree." She ran her hand behind Seven's neck and pulled her back down for another, more passionate kiss. "Compliance was never this much fun."
"Did you see Tuvok's face when he was trying to fix his console and Janeway walked in?" Harry was practically skipping down the hall as he and Tom made their way to the Holodeck.
"Yeah, it was great. Of course, now we're going to have to come up with something better. After all, we can't disappoint our fans."
"I could almost swear the Captain was going to bust when she pushed that button and it started singing 'I've got a lovely bunch of coconuts'."
"Are you two still talking about what you did to Tuvok today?" B'Elanna came up from behind the two and startled them both.
"You have to admit, Lanna, it was pretty good." Tom wrapped an arm around her waist and gave her a quick kiss. Harry sighed and shook his head ever so slightly.
"I heard that Janeway even got a good chuckle out of it." They stopped in front of Holodeck three. "I'm really looking forward to this new rock climbing program you two created."
"It should be a lot of fun. We based it off one of the higher mountains in the Asian peninsula." Harry shot her a wide grin.
They entered the Holodeck to a beautiful sight of green foliage and rock as high up as they could see. "Where would you like to start?" Tom began assembling the rock climbing gear.
"In the middle. If we start at the bottom, Miral will be in grade school by the time we're done. I don't think Samantha wants to keep her that long." B'Elanna began putting on her belt and shoes.
"Sounds good to me." Harry called from his place on the ground where he was double checking the ropes. "Computer, level 10." The surrounds shimmered and a moment later they found themselves on a deep shelf high up on the mountain. "How's that?"
"Perfect." B'Elanna smiled at Harry amused at how much of a big kid he was when it came to these sorts of things.
"In that case, off we go." Tom began to climb with B'Elanna following and Harry heading up the rear. "I think I can see my house from here!"
"Ha, ha, very funny, Tom!" Harry yelled as he searched for a good foothold.
Kathryn leaned over her lover in the pale moon light watching Seven's expressions change and contort in a myriad of wonderful ways as she leaned over to kiss her neck. Seven moaned and called out to Kathryn. Seven could feel she was loosing herself in the older woman's touch. She tried to resist as long as she could; she tried to fight the inevitable.
As the battle was lost and she lost complete control, Seven reached up with her left hand, her Borg hand, and grasped Kathryn by the neck. Kathryn gasped with surprise and horror as she felt the nanoprobes being injected. She cried out as, once again, she felt the metal entities rushing through her blood system.
"Seven?" She managed to squeak out before everything went dark.
"Love the view." B'Elanna was waiting patiently for Tom to find a decent foothold.
"You know," he grunted and continued to search, "if I didn't know any better, I'd say you were growing impatient with me, B'Elanna."
"I don't know what would give you that idea." She sighed.
"Tom, maybe we should just call the program off for today?" Harry suggested as he shifted uncomfortably on the rock face. "We can always come back."
"Nonsense, Harry, I'm not going to just give up." Tom was getting a little upset by the lack of faith his fellow rock climbers had for him. "I programmed this darn thing, and I'm not about to let it beat me."
"It's not a contest of you verses the Holodeck, Tom." B'Elanna rolled her eyes. Suddenly, she lost her grip and fell from the rock face striking her head against the hard rock. Harry caught her by their security rope before she feel to the ground below.
"You're bleeding. Tom," He shouted with difficulty as he tried to maintain a hold on the mountain's side, "she's hurt."
"But we put the safeties online."
"Well, they aren't working, she's unconscious."
"Computer, end program."
"Unable to comply."
"Paris to sickbay, medical emergency in Holodeck three. Sickbay, please respond."
Harry could feel his grip slipping. "Computer, return to level 10." Their surroundings returned to the rock cliff from where they had begun. "Computer, level 1."
"Unable to comply."
Tom looked uneasy. He was looking over his wife, and Harry could tell that Tom didn't think things looked good. "Computer, exit."
"Unable to comply."
"This can't be happening." Tom was almost hysterical. "Why does this always happen?"
"We'll have to get to an access port."
"The nearest one is at the top, and we can't leave her alone."
Harry could feel his heart sinking. "One of us can stay and one can go."
"Tom," Harry gave a warning in his tone.
"No, I'll go crazy just sitting here not being able to help her. At least this way there's something. You can work on trying to figure out why our comm. Badges aren't working after you wake her. She has to have a concussion. You've got to wake her up and keep her awake."
"Ok, I think I can do that, but be careful," Harry paused a beat to consider his words, not wanting to give too much away, "Both of you can't be hurt. I can't watch you both and fix things."
Tom smiled slightly. "I'll keep that in mind."
"Kathryn?" Seven's voice was frantic as she tried to wake Kathryn, who was sprawled across the bed. "Kathryn, you must wake up." She knew she should call sickbay, but the thought of being discovered was enough to deter her.
Kathryn began to move slightly. As the fog cleared from her mind, she could feel a headache arising. As she started to move, there were bursts of pain from her arm and her cheek. She swallowed hard and tried to focus on the form in front of her. "Seven? What happened?"
"I injected you with my nanoprobes."
Kathryn's eyes shot open. "You did what?"
"It was an accident." Seven looked away trying to find the words to explain. "One of the 'primal' instincts of a Borg drone is to inject beings with nanoprobes. When all other functions are beyond the reach or control of the drone…"
"They can still assimilate." Kathryn was beginning to understand. "I guess that's why you were so hesitant to let go?"
"Why am I not fully assimilated?" She looked over her body to find a line of metal starting at a Borg star on her left forearm and running around her arm ending in another Borg star at the base of the palm of her hand and another Borg star on her cheek just on her jaw line below her right ear.
"Because the nanoprobes do as the drone programs them to do." Seven reached out to examine the Borg implants now embedded in her lover's arm. "I had no intentions of assimilating you."
"I.." Seven was at a loss. She sat for a moment gathering her thoughts as she watched Kathryn watching her. Kathryn shivered in the cold of the room, and Seven pulled the sheets over her to warm her. "I always have a desire to share what I feel when I am … with you. I want you to know and understand how much … how …" she shook her head unable to find the words to express herself. "I never had the intention of injecting with nanoprobes to accomplish the task. There are other ways that I can express my feelings for you."
Kathryn motioned for Seven to come rest next to her as she lay back down. The two lay on their sides facing each other as Kathryn pulled the covers up to keep warm. "I think I understand. You lost control and the injection instinct took hold, but the nanoprobes had a different objective other than assimilation because you had a different objective."
"It will take surgery to get the Borg implants and nanoprobes out of me."
"It may happen again. What if it does?"
Kathryn reached out and ran a finger over the blonde woman's perfectly shaped lips. "Then we'll just have to give the Doctor something else to do." She smiled.
Seven sighed with relief. "Then you are not upset?"
"No." Kathryn sat up again. "I am upset, however, that I have to go to sickbay. I really hate going there for anything."
"It is an easy procedure for the Doctor. It should not take him long."
"Yes, but how am I going to explain this to him?"
"Perhaps that 'window of opportunity' has finally presented itself?"
"It would seem that way."
"B'Elanna, you have to stay with me." Harry had managed to wake the half-Klingon up, but it was a fight to get her to stay that way. "Now, help me with the communications system."
She looked him over with half opened eyes. "Since when did you get a promotion?"
"Didn't you know?" He smirked at her. "It happened while you were asleep."
The both laughed. "I wonder how long it will take Tom to reach the top?"
"I'm sure he'll make it there soon." Harry continued to adjust him comm. Badge hopping to get something. "He's pretty quick when he needs to be."
"And sometimes when he doesn't." She gave Harry her best wicked grin. He mumbled something she couldn't make out as he lowered his eyes to keep from looking at her. "What did you say, Harry?"
"Nothing." He lowered his head further.
"No, you said something. Now, tell me what it was."
"I'd rather I didn't. Besides, we need to be working on getting you out of here and figuring out why the Holodeck has gone berserk again."
"I'm not helping you do anything until you tell me what you said." B'Elanna clenched her teeth. The arguing was making her head hurt worse.
"Fine." He put the communicator down and looked at her with an intensity she had not expected. "I said that I wouldn't know."
"Harry, are you mad at something I said?"
"No, I'm not mad," he snapped as he stood up to pace around. "What's taking Tom so long?"
"What are you so upset about?" B'Elanna took a moment to reflect as best she could through the haze her mind was in. "Are you upset about me and Tom?"
"No, yes … maybe." Harry sat down next to her and ran his hand through his now dusty hair.
"What exactly does that mean?" She could feel her head throbbing. She wanted to go to sleep, but her curiosity wouldn't let her. Then, realization crept over her features. "When you were talking to Chakotay about Janeway and Seven that day on the bridge, you weren't just talking about me, were you?" He looked away. "Harry . . ."
"It doesn't matter. Nothing matters. You two are together now, and you both care for each other. That's what matters."
"I would have never thought…" she trailed off as the news sank in through the haze.
"I wouldn't have either. I'm not really that kind of guy. At least, I thought I wasn't."
"Does he know?"
"Of course not. That would ruin everything. I don't want to loose him as a friend."
"I understand that." She felt her eyes rolling in the back of head.
Harry shook her. "You have to stay awake, B'Elanna."
"I'm trying." She rubbed her head. "I won't tell him."
The Holodeck shutdown and Tom walked over to his wife and best friend. "Remind me to program this thing with an elevator next time." He reached down and picked B'Elanna up. "Let's see if those doors work now."
Harry manually opened the doors and locked the Holodeck to keep anyone else from using it until it could be repaired. Then, he rushed to meet Tom and B'Elanna in sickbay.
"Really, Commander, I thought you would know better than to try and sit on a cactus." The EMH was busily running a scanner over Chakotay's rear end making sure no permanent damage had been done.
Chakotay grunted trying desperately not to yell out in pain as the Doctor pulled out the last needle. "I certainly didn't do it on purpose, Doctor. Like I said, I was practicing some boxing moves, lost my balance, and fell right into the darn thing." He grunted one last time as the Doctor injected him with a pain killer. He sat up to continue to save what was left of his ego. "It really wasn't as though I was looking for a fight WITH the planet."
"I see." The Doctor ran his tricorder over a console and transferred the data he'd just collected about the Commander to his medical file. "You'll be sore down there for a day or two, but everything seems to be fine."
"Thanks," Chakotay stood to leave, "sorry to bother you about that."
"It's alright, it's been a rather dull few days anyway."
"I hope you're not complaining, Doctor."
"No, not at all. It's nice for a change."
The two men looked up as the doors to sickbay opened to reveal Tom carrying his wife in. "She's hurt, head wound. We were climbing on the Holodeck and the damn thing malfunctioned again."
"You'd think we'd take those things off line as much damaged as they've caused the crew." The Doctor intoned as he went to work on B'Elanna scanning her head and the rest of her body.
Chakotay and Harry stood by watching as Tom assisted the EMH in helping B'Elanna. They were both too engrossed to notice Seven and the Captain enter sickbay.
"What happened?" Janeway's voice threw Chakotay off for a moment.
"Holodeck accident." Harry answered.
"Again?" Janeway sounded annoyed. "If the damn things weren't our only source of entertainment now days, I'd have them taken off line as much damage as they've caused my crew."
"Captain, why are you here? Is everything ok?" Chakotay turned to face her as he asked. He stopped short when he noticed the Borg star on her right cheek. "You've been assimilated!"
"Hardly." She rolled her eyes. "If that were the case, I certainly wouldn't be here, now would I?"
"No, I suppose not." He shook his head debating as to whether or not he wanted to ask the next question. Harry beat him to it.
"Then what happened?"
"I had an accident." Seven was quick to respond.
"That assimilated the Captain?" Harry shook his head. "Must have been one heck of an accident."
"I HAVE NOT BEEN assimilated, Ensign." Janeway clenched her teeth to keep from yelling further.
The four stood for some time watching Tom and the EMH work. Finally, the Doctor turned to face his audience. "Lt. Torres should be fine. She's had a mild concussion, a few broken ribs, and mild sprain to her ankle, but she will make a full recovery thanks to Mr. Paris's help." He gave a smile of appreciation and nod toward Tom who was still protectively hovering over his wife. "Now, what can I do for the rest of you?" He looked from left to right finally landing his eyes on the Captain. "Captain! You've been assimilated."
"I'm only going to say this once more. I am not assimilated." She clenched her teeth tighter.
"But the Borg implants…what happened?"
"I accidentally injected her with my nanoprobes."
"What do you mean? You can't just accidentally do something like that, Seven." The Doctor began to scan the Captain. "Captain will you please remove your uniform jacket?" She did so with a bit of hesitation. "You only have two Borg implants, but they look to be well attached. Can you please tell me exactly what happened?"
Seven and Kathryn shifted uncomfortably in front of most of the senior staff. It was a window of opportunity, but neither was sure if they wanted to take it. Seven shot Kathryn a questioning look. Finally, Kathryn decided to speak. "It was a reflex action. She really couldn't help herself." Seven looked pale. Kathryn felt the need to sit down for the rest for the explanation, if she was forced to give it.
Chakotay cleared his throat and stepped forward unable to let this just slip by. "Then, it's true?"
"What is, Commander?" Janeway wasn't going to make this easy for him.
"You and Seven … you're a couple." He had a great deal of hurt in his eyes as his gaze moved from one woman to the other.
"Chakotay, I'm sorry. I should not have led you on as I did." Seven lowered her head to avoid his hurt gaze. "I did not know … all this time … Kathryn was always …" Her words were lost again to her emotions.
"It's ok, Seven. You don't have to explain." His eyes narrowed as he looked back at Kathryn Janeway. "She has that effect on people." He turned to leave sickbay. "Congratulations." He left without another word.
Silence filled sickbay. The Doctor continued to scan the Captain as the rest of the remaining crew stood there dumbfounded at the scene that had just played out. The Doctor consulted his medical logs. After looking over them for a few minutes, he returned and cleared his throat to break the silence. "If it happens again, you will have even more Borg implants to worry about should I remove the ones you have now."
"And if you leave them, Doctor?"
"It will do nothing more."
"How is that possible?"
"There will already be nanoprobes in your system. Extras added of the same nanoprobe will do nothing but add to the count. They will not assimilate something that's already assimilated."
"I see." Kathryn sat there pondering over what to do as she watched Harry walk over to Tom and B'Elanna.
"Hey, Maquis, how do you feel?" Harry patted her on the hand.
"I've been better, Starfleet." She gave a weak smile.
"How long have you two been calling each other by your occupations?" Tom was a bit surprised by this turn of events.
"Since we were both stuck on the Ocampa home world. But, we haven't done it in a long time." Harry rubbed the back of his neck realizing suddenly how tired he was.
"Wish I had a cool nickname like that." Tom gave a bit of smile to the two of them.
"We'll try to think of one for you, Flyboy." B'Elanna gave an effort of a laugh.
"Captain, I need to know what you would like for me to do." The Doctor was pressing the issue.
"Leave them." Kathryn glanced over to see the surprise on Seven's face.
"Are you certain?"
"Yes. I don't want to have to worry about something if I don't have to. This is nothing." She smiled at Seven. "I'll just consider it a token of affection from my," she paused for a moment realizing this was the first time she had recognized Seven as her lover, "from my better half." Seven smiled.
It threw the Doctor off for a moment. "Very well. I'll make a note of it in your medical log. There's nothing else wrong. You're free to leave when you're ready."
"Thank you, Doctor." Kathryn hopped down from the biobed, and Seven walked her out of sickbay.
Captain Janeway sat down at her desk in her ready room with a stack of PADDs and a pot of coffee. She ran through the PADDs looking for one that might interest her as she absentmindedly ran her finger over the new addition to her body. The Borg implant was surprising cold compared to her warm skin, and the sensation of touching it was something strange that she couldn't help but be fascinated with. She smiled as she thought of Seven's own implants and how her touch might feel to Seven as she ran her fingers over them.
Her door chimed throwing her from her thoughts. "Come in."
Chakotay entered with his usual demeanor, but something seemed off.
"Is everything alright, Commander?" Janeway gave her full attention to him trying her best to ignore the Borg implant.
"Yes and no." He stood in front of her desk and took a moment to compose himself as his eyes fell on the flash of silver on Janeway's cheek. He took a deep breathe and responded in a voice just above a whisper, "You could have told me."
"Yes, we could have told many people, but we didn't." She grimaced as she poured a cup of coffee.
"Why? Why couldn't you just have told me? I feel as though you snuck around behind my back all this time…"
"Chakotay…" His voice was rising; she wanted to calm him.
"No." He leaned over the desk resting his hands on the edge to steady him. His voice calmed back down to just above a whisper as the hurt he had been trying to hide began to appear in his words. "Not this time, Kathryn. You can't just fix this with a crooked smile and a witty or heartfelt response. You were wrong for this, Kathryn." He stood and gazed down at her with fierce eyes. "You knew how much I cared for Seven. You knew how much it hurt me to let her go. You knew how much I wanted her back and how much I tried to get her back. You knew how much it hurt me to think she was seeing someone else. I trusted you. I asked for your help when all this time it was you I was fighting. You betrayed me."
Janeway could feel the blood rushing to her face as her anger rose at such an accusation. "I did nothing of the sort." She stood and walked around her desk to face her first officer. "I kept my distance as I keep my distance with you all. For months before Seven and I became involved and after you had broken off the relationship, I sat passively by and listened to you whine and complain about Seven's lack of real feeling toward you. For months I listened as you accused her of using you as some kind of experiment. I tried to be helpful. I tried to explain that she needed time to adjust, that it wasn't an experiment but an experience that she was not accustomed to. But, no, you insisted that she had no feelings for you, so what did it matter?"
He loomed over her small frame. "You took her away from me. I never had a chance. All that time, I thought it was her. I thought she needed time. All that time, I was waiting for the right moment to try again. All that time, I thought it was just her uncertainties and that, if I gave her enough time, she'd come to realize treating me as an experiment was the wrong thing to do. All that time, I thought all she needed was time. But it wasn't. It was you she wanted. You she needed. I never had chance." He turned from her in disgust.
"I took her away from you?" Her eyes opened wide and, had the Commander been looking, he would have seen the fire burning there. "You broke up with her. You said it was hopeless. You were the one who pushed her away. It was all you, Chakotay. It was never me. You know as well as I do that she would have stayed, she would have done anything to make it work. It was not me that forced her to think of her entire experience as wasted because you were disgusted in her lack of outward emotion. It was you. It was all you. It was you, Chakotay, who hurt her, not me."
He swung to meet fiery gaze with fiery gaze. "But you sure took the opportunity to pick up the pieces for her, didn't you?"
"You're out of line!" Janeway could feel her fists clenching at her sides.
"So are you!" Chakotay looked stunned the moment the words left his mouth. He walked stiffly to the couch and sat down putting his head in his hands.
Janeway cleared her throat and tried to calm down. Finally, she managed to find her calmest voice to continue on. "It was she that came to me. She made the first move. I didn't even know she was in my quarters until it was too late. But, once she was there, I just … I was …"
"You could have said no." There was desperation in his voice.
"I didn't want to anymore." There was pity in hers.
He lifted his head to meet her eyes across the room. "Anymore?"
"We've been denying each other for a very long time, Chakotay."
"Since before the two of you ever thought of dating." Her voice was little more than a whisper.
"I should have known. The signs were always there." He sighed.
"I'm sorry you're hurt, Chakotay, but I'm not sorry Seven and I finally acknowledged what we feel for each other."
There was a long silence as Chakotay stood and paced the room occasionally running his hand through his hair. Janeway watched and waited. She could tell her old friend was in pain and trying his best to sort through it.
"I'll need time to adjust."
"Thank you, and I'm sorry."
"For taking this so poorly. It's just that…"
Janeway cut him off with a motion of her hand. "You don't have to explain, Commander." She gave him a weak smile and returned to her seat behind her desk. "Now, how is B'Elanna doing?"
The Commander shook himself back into command mode. "She seems to be doing fine. The Doctor has confined her to quarters for the rest of the week to rest. But, we've found her in Engineering twice already. This is only day one."
Janeway chuckled. "She sounds like she's doing fine to me."
"Everything else seems to be going well, too. There's really nothing major to report."
"Good, we could use some down time."
"I think so."
"I'm going to work on this stack of PADDs, but, would you like to have lunch with me?"
He paused for a moment. "Yes, I think I'd like that."
She smiled. "Good. I'll see you at noon."
She sat there watching him turn to leave. There was evidence that he was still quite hurt, but his shoulders didn't slump anymore and there was a slight bounce to his step. Kathryn decided things were going to fine. She would hail Seven and let her know of the change in plans for lunch. She was sure her better half would understand. After that, who knew? The whole world had just been turned upside down in the past few months, and now she, along with everyone else, was going to have upright it again.
She signed and drank the rest of her coffee. Running her hand through her hair, she began to read the report from Ensign Saunders on B'Elanna's first two escapes of the week.