IMPORTANT NOTE: The views of Seven of Nine do not necessarily reflect the views of this story's author. They were written for the sake of humor.
I've given this story a new edit.
And I don't own "Star Trek: Voyager."
Seven of Nine would never forgive Ensign Harper for recommending the "Christmas Carol" program to Neelix. It had inspired the Talaxian's new fascination with the Christmas holiday, and virtually every other winter celebration along with it. Since most of the crew was Human, and a good portion of them had lived for some time in the United States, Neelix got plenty of firsthand information about the American "Holiday Season" traditions.
Now he had the entire ship decked up for Christmas, with elements of Hanukkah, Yule, Kwanzaa, Ramadan and an endless list of more. The Talaxian didn't limit himself to one planet when decorating: he'd included the Bajoran Festival of the Seasons; P'Mortach (a holiday celebrated by a small sect of mountain-dwelling Klingons); a Ktarian holiday no one could pronounce the name of; a Vulcan event that hadn't been celebrated by anyone in five centuries; and a couple of Bolian holidays. The combination of decorations that adorned the halls and stations was…erratic.
When Seven entered the briefing room, she found that it was decorated much like the rest of the ship. Vulcan and Bajoran statuettes sat in the corners of the room, and a boquet of marble-patterned Bolian fruits hung next to the small viewscreen. Ropes of evergreen leaves framed the windows, dangling Christmas ornaments. Neelix had actually tried to wrap the warp core in something similar, and invoked the wrath of Lt. Torres. They'd compromised on adorning the railing around the warp core instead.
Seven found everyone sans Tuvok in an unnecessarily cheerful mood. The Doctor was humming carols to himself. Lt. Torres was giggling like an adolescent as she gossiped with Paris about some romantic holiday getaway on the holodeck. Chakotay, who often showed little more emotion than Seven herself, was wearing a full-on smile (his dimples, for some reason, irritated her). Neelix, of course, had his normal jovial personality increased exponentially, as did Harry Kim.
After everyone gave their usual updates on their departments, the subject turned to Neelix's Holiday Dinner scheduled for that evening. Harry and the other crewmembers in his jazz band would be performing some instrumental music, and the Doctor would be singing some carols. Torres was supplying poinsettias and Gods Eyes, decorations she'd grown up with when celebrating Christmas with her father's Mexican American family. Even Tuvok would be reading some Vulcan texts, albeit reluctantly.
The Doctor lamented, "I wish I could convince you to do a few duets with me, Seven. You have such a beautiful voice, it's a shame you don't show it off more often."
Flatly, Seven replied, "I do not wish to partake in this…celebration."
"Seven," Janeway pleaded, "You've been an individual for over two years now. I thought you were starting to warm up to the idea of socializing with the crew."
"Under reasonable circumstances, I am. This…holiday, however, transcends reason. Distraction from work, inaccurate depictions of historical events, consumption of excessive sugars and intoxicants, hazardous decorations—"
Janeway held up a hand. "All right Seven, we get the idea."
"Come on Seven," Harry joked, "You've taken a break from your 'efficiency' for all our birthdays, why not Jesus's?"
"You want me to neglect my work in Astrometrics for an entire evening, to celebrate an unlikely conception doubtless fabricated by an adulterous wife with a gullible husband?"
Harry's smile froze, and an awkward silence overtook the room.
Tom offered, "So celebrate Hanukkah with Ensign Brooks and Crewman Spiegelman."
"Remembrance of an insignificant battle distorted by centuries of history, wherein children are encouraged to play with fire, celebrate violence, and gamble."
After another moment, Chakotay offered testily, "Yule?"
"A feeble attempt to recapture an ancient tradition that ended eons ago."
"Perhaps," Tuvok offered, "The Vulcan Week of T'Mornak would better suit your values."
"Doubtful." Seven countered. "The Week of T'Mornak involves a day of meditation, which I do not require. Meditation is irrelevant."
B'Elanna muttered, "My god, even Vulcans are too hardcore for you?"
Janeway finally put the lid on the subject. "All right Seven, if you don't want to join in the festivities no one will force you. But I will…insist that you at least take a look at the winter holidays in the ship's database, see if anything jumps out at you."
Popping her eyebrow, Seven said, "Very well. But I doubt anything will 'jump out' at me."
Seven stood at the console in her Cargo Bay, impassively scrolling through the list of winter holidays. So far nothing impressed her. Kwanza struck her as specific to those of African descent, and while that criteria arguably applied to all members of the Human race, the holiday still didn't interest her. The Bolian holidays all seemed limited to overindulgence in food and mud baths. The Bajoran ones all revolved around fantastical events from their religious texts, most even more absurd to Seven than the Christian Nativity story. The Klingon holidays, she decided, required too much blood for her taste (a pun the captain would've been proud of).
She was about ready to tap her com badge and inform the captain that she would not be attending the Holiday Dinner, when an image on the screen suddenly caught her eye. Beside the title of each holiday listed was a small icon, and this one displayed a bare metallic pole. It's slick, unadorned design struck her as…efficient. Next to the icon was the holiday's title: "Festivus (for the Rest of Us)." Curiously, Seven opened the description. As she read on, her eyes flared subtlety with interest.
The mess hall was almost unrecognizable. A large Christmas tree stood in the center of the room, with the tables arranged around it. In the center of each table sat a random assortment of decorations from various holidays—candelabras, statuettes, bowls of fruit, and countless other objects. Windows, chairs, and the galley were a mess of ornaments and beads. Against the walls at spaced intervals sat displays for each holiday: a Hanukkah menorah; a Kwanza candelabra and rug; a Bajoran shrine; an "ice bat'leth;" and so on.
Heads turned when Seven coolly strode into the mess hall carrying a metallic pole in one hand like a baton. It was roughly the length of a yardstick, made from a mirrored metal. She nonchalantly propped it between the ice bat'leth and a display of Hindu Diwali candles. Harry gave her an odd look, but was too busy playing a tune from "The Nutcracker" on his clarinet to comment.
Neelix—dressed in a red and white Father Christmas robe and hat—drummed his fingers together as he leaned over to get a look. "What is that, Seven?"
"A Festivus Pole." Seven stepped back, examining her work.
Ensign Samantha Wildman eyed the pole, searching for a compliment. "It's very…sleek."
The barest hint of a smile touched Seven's lips. "Thank you Ensign."
Naomi stared at the pole silently, munching on a potato latke. Finally, she swallowed and said, "You should've given it some green lights or something, like your regeneration alcove."
"The traditional Festivus Pole is unadorned." Seven explained.
Seven waited patiently while various shipmates lead the crew in specific rituals. Tuvok read an ancient Vulcan poem. Ensign Brooks lit the Hanukkah Menorah, and Lt. Andrews lit the one for Kwanzaa. Naomi told the story behind the Ktarian holiday (and Seven couldn't help feeling a pang of sorrow for the girl, who should be celebrating this with her father). Chell handed out a piece of multicolored Bolian fruit to everyone, per the tradition of his Bolian holiday. Ensign Tabor performed the ceremonial tree planting at the Bajoran shrine.
"And now," Janeway said, with just a hint an edge in her voice, "Seven of Nine will educate us all on the holiday of…"
"Festivus." Seven produced a PADD, and stepped to the front of the room. "Festivus is a secular Earth holiday invented in the late twentieth century. Popularized by a television program called 'Signified,' Festivus disregards frivolities, in favor of candor and efficiency."
No one seemed impressed. Torres watched over folded arms, and Chakotay was posed with a hand on one hip. The Doctor looked apprehensive. Tom Paris was the only person who looked like he was looking forward to this. Not that Seven found any of these details relevant; simply notable.
"While most holidays revolve around unnecessary praise of one's shipmates, Festivus begins with the Airing of the Grievances. Here, one lists the ways in which they have been disappointed over the year, and the various habits that annoy them about their shipmates. The Doctor has many times encouraged me to engage in constructive criticism." Faces turned to the bashful looking hologram. "Since time is limited, I will address only the senior staff, my closest collective, of whom I will Air my Grievances in order of rank."
There was no sound, except Harry whispering gleefully to Tom, "She called us her collective!"
"Captain Kathryn Janeway," Seven began, reading from her PADD. "Your caffeine addiction must cease. It is no doubt partially responsible for your rash spur-of-the-moment actions, which have brought this ship close to destruction on more occasions that I care to list."
Both Chakotay and Tuvok threw the captain subtle looks, as if Seven was saying what they'd been waiting five years to hear. Janeway glanced at them both, then returned to watching Seven under a raised eyebrow.
"And yet," Seven went on, "At times when violence may be the most logical resort, you allow your Federation ideals to hinder you. You in fact seem to alternate between being devoted to Starfleet regulations and ignoring them at the slightest inconvenience. Another possible result of the chemicals in your system. Fewer cups of coffee, and more attention to the logical members of your senior staff, would benefit you."
Blinking slowly, Janeway said, "Well, I suppose that's fair."
"More than fair." Chakotay muttered, repressing a chuckle.
Before Janeway could retort, Seven bellowed, "Commander Chakotay."
Chakotay's smile vanished.
"Crewman Emmanuel once questioned the contents of your, quote, 'peace pipe.'" In the back of the room, Dan Emanuel's face turned bright red. "Despite my aversion to vernacular, I must 'second' that statement. I fail to see how ancient legends apply to spacial anomalies or modern politics. You distrust me, citing that I may betray Captain Janeway to the Borg, even as you yourself cannot seem to go one month without betraying the captain's orders in favor of your own romantic ideals."
Chakotay pursed his lips, while Janeway, Paris and Torres bit their lips or hid their snickering faces behind their hands. Tuvok was definitely looking at the Commander.
"You are a hypocrite on the subject of Starfleet regulations, and unlike other females on this ship I am not so blinded by your 'sparkly eyes,' 'sexy tattoo' and 'dimples' not to see it."
Chakotay's eyes darted, as he took in this new bit of information. He finally gave a look indicating that he'd decided to ignore it altogether.
"Lt. Commander Tuvok," Seven continued. "For a controlled Vulcan, you often aren't. Like Mr. Chakotay, you possess a logical mind, but often do not apply it. You have performed an unauthorized mind-meld with a psychopath on at least two occasions. You have revealed your security code, 'Tuvok-pie-alpha,' out loud enough times for many in the crew to have it memorized, and have not yet changed it."
"I rotate my security codes," Tuvok defended lamely, while Janeway and Chakotay tried not to stare at him.
"…and we all wonder why the ship is invaded by alien intruders so easily."
Torres whispered to Paris, "I can't tell if she's joking or not."
Paris whispered back, "It's a roast! Seven's learned how to roast someone!"
"Lovely," his girlfriend muttered.
"Ensign Thomas Eugene Paris," Seven began, but Torres cut her off.
"Disobeying orders and getting demoted, walking around the ship dressed like Captain Proton, talking in twentieth-century slang no one understands, forgetting anniversaries, and thinking the Looney Tunes is better than Hannah Barbera. Next."
Staring at Torres, Seven finally said, "Thank you Lieutenant."
"Fortunately Lt. Torres, your list is short. Your Klingon temper speaks for itself." She turned to Voyager's Operations officer. "Ensign Kim-"
"That's, that's okay Seven," Kim said raising a hand defensively.
"No," Paris argued. "You're a senior officer Harry, you deserve the spotlight as much as the rest of us!"
Ignoring them both, Seven read on. "You are prone to a premature optimism has landed both yourself and the ship in grave danger, particularly in your many failed attempts to successfully copulate. And unlike our captain you have no substance addiction to blame."
"That we know of," Paris added.
Seven glanced up from her PADD for the first time in a few moments, and saw that Ensign Kim's face had gone more red than Crewman Emmanuel's. A small part of her regretted her candor; but for the time being, but she was committed to the spirit of Festivus.
"Mr. Neelix…" Seven turned to the cook.
Harry breathed, "At least mine was short."
"…Your cooking has proved hazardous to Voyager's health. Not the crew of Voyager, but the ship itself. The incidents in which your cooking has endangered the inner workings of the ship transcend counting."
"Seventeen, actually." B'Elanna corrected.
Neelix stuttered, "Well, there was the cheese back in Year One…"
"And the fleas in the replicator last year," Harry added.
"The fleas…" Neelix nodded.
"And finally, the Doctor." Seven turned to her best friend besides the captain. "You have been an incomparable mentor to me. However this is something of a double entendre, as at times I simply know nothing to compare your methods to. As a drone I assimilated countless methods of teaching from hundreds of worlds, and none of them involved using opera or Klingon drinking songs to teach social skills. I have also not forgotten the first biosuit you designed for me, which so constricted my breathing that I lost consciousness."
"What?" Torres glanced at the hologram.
"That biosuit had to replicate the Borg armor we'd just removed," the Doctor defended. "I… made a miscalculation…"
"And you then removed my biosuit altogether in your daydreaming experiments." Seven retracted her PADD. "This concludes the Airing of the Grievances. The next—"
"What about me?" Naomi pouted.
Next to the girl, Ensign Wildman closed her eyes patiently.
Seven looked at the child a moment, then offered, "Your enthusiasm is often inapplicable to the situation…but not to the extent of Ensign Kim's. This concludes the Airing of the Grievances. The next ceremony for Festivus is the Feats of Strength—"
"Now wait a minute," Paris folded his arms. "Don't any of us get to Air our Grievances?"
Janeway, receiving many hopeful looks from the senior officers, threw up a hand. "One set of grievances is enough for one night. Doctor, I think you had some Christmas Carols planned?"
"Indeed I did." The hologram glanced at Seven. "I still wish I could convince you to join me in the carols. It'd be the least you could do after that Grievance you gave me. And I'll let you keep your biosuit on."
Pondering, Seven replied, "Perhaps my Grievances were…more detailed than necessary."
Chakotay chuckled to Janeway, "That's one way to put it."
"Very well." Seven joined the Doctor in front of Harry and the jazz band. "The song?"
"How about 'We Need A Little Christmas?' Appropriate for an environment with no natural weather conditions."
"I concur," Seven said with a raised eyebrow. "The key?"
Seven and the Doctor both soon lost themselves in the music, while the rest of the crew listened, admired the decorations, tasted the various ethnic foods, and began Airing their own lists of Grievances to one another.
A/N: If you found these grievances amusing, I've more. Last Festivus, I uploaded a list of "Star Trek" related grievances. And that one does include Feats of Strength! Sadly I cannot post a link on this site, but if you look up Lizzy Chrome on Youtube, the "Star Trek" Festivus Grievances should be the most recent video. Don't feel obligated to sit through it though, as my video reviewing skills are pretty much nonexistent.