Farewell to Michael
Annika stared into her lukewarm pint. She had no desire to drink it. No desire to do anything, in fact - especially what Michael was proposing right now. She pushed his clammy hand off her thigh. It seemed like no big deal when it started. Seven had described the captain in terms of hero-worship. Annika saw that for what it was and dismissed it. It was hard to develop empathy for this absentee captain, whom Annika was sure she�d never really meet. For her, a hologram (advanced a program as she was), the real world might as well have been in the Alpha Quadrant. Then too, Janeway, who never bothered to visit, apparently had abandoned Michael. Annika figured she would never find out. Or if she did, that she wouldn�t care. Now Annika found her thoughts dominated by the woman that just left. She certainly made a powerful impression. And that was after just a glimpse of her.
Michael sidled up behind Annika. His right hand slipped around her waist as his left cupped her breast. "C�mon, Annie, love, what do ya say to a little morning diversion?" he murmured into her hair.
Annika turned to consider the man behind her. As men went (at least in her limited holo-existence) he wasn�t bad looking � a tad scruffy, which, she supposed, added to his masculinity. Trim, tall, nicely muscled. Janeway had done a decent job reconfiguring his personality, too. They had shared a few interesting conversations, although he had no understanding of advanced mathematics or astrophysics. He was considerate in bed (at least he attempted to satisfy her before falling asleep). Annika discovered she couldn�t have cared less.
"What I say is: computer, delete character Michael Sullivan." Annika faltered a bit as the arms that supported her vanished as if they had never existed at all.
* * * * * *
Seven wandered back into the pub. She was malfunctioning. Her legs were weak, her stomach nauseous, and her head was starting to ache. She scanned the room and saw Annika had not moved from the table. Michael was nowhere to be seen and Seven instinctively knew he was gone forever. Annika motioned for Seven to join her. She went over and sat stiffly next to Annika, back straight as a laser beam. Annika, by contrast, was slumped.
"Hey Sev, let�s get out of Fair Haven. I don�t want to be here any more," declared Annika.
That was more than acceptable to Seven, although her logical nature knew it really didn�t matter what scenario they were in. It wouldn�t change what had just occurred. "Where do you want to be?"
"Sandrine�s, I guess. I need a change of atmosphere, but I definitely want a bar." Annika was beginning to feel the benefits of the warm ale in front of her as she had idly begun sipping from it. She thought that perhaps one or two more might blunt the barbs of emotion that were stabbing her heart.
"Computer, end Fair Haven program and initiate Sandrine�s program. Authorization Seven of Nine, lambda omega." In an instant, the holodeck transformed and the two women found themselves seated at a table in Sandrine�s. Annika immediately ordered a scotch on the rocks, knowing the hard liquor would produce the desired result faster. Seven, figuring this was as good a time as any to begin imitating her guide to humanity, did the same. She vaguely remembered having been quite drunk following a single alcoholic beverage consumed at a party last year, but that had been real alcohol. She presumed the holographic equivalent would be harmless.
"I should see the Doctor," said Seven, as she jiggled her glass, causing the ice to tinkle. "I require adjustments that my cranial array is unable to compensate for."
Annika correctly translated this to mean that Seven felt sick. "Forget it, Sev. I feel the same way. It�s a normal human reaction to hurt when you�ve just screwed someone you care about."
Seven looked at her curiously. "Are you referring to Michael Sullivan?"
"No, I�m referring to Captain Janeway."
"I do not understand. You have only just met Captain Janeway. How could you care about her?" Seven was discomfited by this revelation. Now that Michael was gone � well, would Annika try to take his place?
"It�s hard to explain. As soon as I saw her in the doorway � she was like some avenging angel, you know?"
Seven nodded. She knew precisely.
"If only I had met her before meeting Michael. This would never, never have happened. Now everything�s messed up," mourned Annika.
"I do not understand why you initiated a romantic relationship with Michael. Would not one of the female holographic characters been more appropriate? Explain."
"Female? Oh, you�re referring to the presence of chromosome 29.37M in my � our � DNA. Hmm, I don�t know. It�s there, but is it turned on?"
"I have analyzed relevant environmental factors on Voyager and have concluded that conditions are ideal for that gene to activate," said Seven. "In addition, I have scanned my own genetic material and have determined it has been triggered. I must conclude that yours is also, although we can run a scan." (In the mid 21st century, the then burgeoning new field of biosociology made the discovery that populations exposed to stress, such as famine, disease or war, had a nearly zero rate of homosexuality. Conversely, societies which were functioning vigorously possessed a significant percentage of homosexuals. Furthermore, the percentage apparent in any given population was found to be in direct proportion to the success with which it functioned, to a ceiling of 20%. The biosociologists connected this phenomenon to a gene labeled 29.37M. In bad times, the gene remained dormant, thereby encouraging heterosexual activity, which would increase the birthrate and ensure survival of the species. In good times, the gene kicked on, fostering a percentage of same sex couples and thereby dropping the birthrate and maintaining the societal status quo. It was nature�s way of saying �if it ain�t broke, don�t fix it.� Happily, this scientific justification heralded a new age of understanding of sexual gender preference among Earthlings. In fact, the presence of same gender couples in one�s society became a status symbol!)
"Don�t bother. That explains everything. I paired with Michael because he was there. I wasn�t in love with him. The sex we had never seemed quite right � like something was off. That�s why we did it so much. I kept wanting to get it right. Now I know it would never have been," reflected Annika. "I suppose I also felt sorry for him always blubbering about missing his Katie O�Clare. Besides, the female holograms I�ve met are really hollow. Michael was the only one I could have a decent conversation with, so I naturally gravitated toward him." Annika was beginning to feel a bit mellow, having quickly downed her first shot. The barmaid brought another round.
Seven, trying to keep up, was feeling funny, indeed. Now, in addition to her headache, nausea and weak legs, she noted her lips were numb and her cortical functions retarded.
"So, do you think Janeway will be talking to you after this?" Annika figured if the situation was reversed, she certainly wouldn�t be talking to anyone. She wondered how the captain would react to losing her love interest.
Seven tried to think about that. She couldn�t imagine the captain not speaking to her. "We have had many disagreements, but we have always continued to speak."
"Yeah, but I bet they�ve been disagreements about you or about ship functions � not over losing her lover."
Seven blinked, swigged another mouthful of scotch (while telling herself taste was irrelevant) and then proved how very naive she was. "How would that be different?"
Annika sniggered, "Sev, when was the last time you made love?"
"I have never copulated." Seven admitted. She found she was embarrassed by this, although she wasn�t sure why. Perhaps the way Annika asked implied she should have. Or maybe it was the scotch. Or maybe�Seven discovered she was unable to generate more than two responses, which should have been disturbing � except that she didn�t care right now.
"Never! No wonder you were so into that observation research," said Annika. She felt truly sorry for her virgin counterpart, whom she noticed was leaning her right elbow on the table and cradling her cheek in her hand - Seven downed the last of her second drink with the left. She seemed awfully relaxed. "Sev, you really have got to get out there," gesturing to the holodeck doors, "and try it yourself."
"I want to � I want to copulate with Captain Janeway. I love her," blurted Seven in a drunken haze. And then passed out cold.
* * * * * *
Captain Janeway entered the haven of her quarters. When the doors swished shut, she could finally be herself and right now �herself� was someone she didn�t want the crew to know existed. She picked up the closest thing to her � a ceramic knick-knack she acquired on some alien planet - and hurled it with all her might. Luckily, the window it hit was transparent aluminum, thereby avoiding all but a slight dent. The object d�art was not so fortunate however, and lay scattered in a thousand tragic pieces. "Just like my heart," thought Janeway. Some �day off�� this was turning out to be.
Emotions were raging through her like a waterfall. Anger. So much anger. Some at herself for allowing this to happen. It was true she had dropped Michael like a hot potato after he proved savvy enough to discover his origins. That had been disconcerting. But that was her prerogative, wasn�t it? Then too, anger at Annika, who certainly had the intellectual capacity, hologram or not, to know what she was doing � research be damned! Then there was Seven. She didn�t know what to think about her motives. Janeway�s brash accusations at the holodeck doors were generated off the cuff, in an attempt to lash out. She was shocked when Seven acknowledged them as truth. And most of all toward Michael, who had sworn his heart to her. Was it so much to ask? He was her only personal indulgence in the Delta Quadrant (coffee didn�t count � that was a necessity). She hardly even had a chance to use the program, she was so busy taking care of the ship�s needs. The ship this and the ship that. After 6 years of non-stop command, even the driving force of her guilt was starting to wear thin. God, was she sick of it!
Mini-Kathryn was roused from her slumber by the racket of neurons firing around her. She bravely decided to have her say. �Kathryn are you listening to yourself? You are starting to resent this ship and it�s crew. You have ignored your own needs too long and too much and now you�re having a backlash. Don�t fall into that trap! Kathryn, balance is what you need. Take care of the ship, yes, but don�t forget you!" To her surprise, she was not squashed or battered following this little speech. Instead she heard the reply, "From now on, the Doctor isn�t going to have a chance to order me a time out, because I�ll order it first." Mini-Kathryn crossed her arms over her chest and nodded in satisfaction.
Janeway flicked at the pottery shards with her foot, thinking how stupid that had been. She ran her hand over the aluminum window, feeling the concave irregularity. It caused a significant distortion in the view of space � quite noticeable. The mess on the floor she could clean up easily; but the window would require a specialist from engineering. Humiliating. What would she say happened? Nothing. She was captain � she didn�t have to offer any excuse. Just fix the God damned window, ensign.
"Whiskey, double, straight up," commanded Janeway into the replicator. She removed the tumbler that crystallized in front of her and took a healthy draught as she paced the floor. Humiliation. That�s what this was really about, wasn�t it? Upstaged by two holograms with minds of their own. Holograms, of all things. Oh, to be back in the days of Flotter, when holograms were your friends and catered to your every whim. The programs had just gotten too damn sophisticated.
Janeway found herself dreading the thought of her crew visiting Fair Haven and discovering Michael�s indiscretion. Certainly their affair was no secret. She could just hear the scuttlebutt on the lower decks: " �Hey, did you hear - Janeway got jilted by a hologram?� �Yeah, and she even programmed the guy.� �Hmm, I wonder what that says about the captain�s skills in bed.� �Ha-ha-ha.� " Hell, she�d have to tell Neelix to get a counter rumor started right away � something like, �the captain has decided that her dalliance with Michael Sullivan was an act of temporary insanity and is having no more to do with him. Furthermore, she discovered (in an intimate moment) that Michael is surreptitiously a masochist and has a secret desire to be used as a target for phaser practice. Enjoy, crewmen!� (Mini-Kathryn even smiled at that one.)
Now Kathryn was content to sip at her drink, her stronger emotions subsiding as she isolated and dissected them. "Computer, run music program Janeway beta lambda." Misery loves company and her blues collection fit the bill right now. She kicked off her boots, sank down into her couch, pulled her feet up under her and gently swayed her body to the soothing rhythms.
It was time to face the more poignant feelings of loneliness, grief and betrayal. It occurred to her that these had been with her a long time now � long before Michael Sullivan ever existed. She never really attempted to come to terms with them before � always sweeping them under or denying their existence. Perhaps this was an opportunity to confront them and bring closure to unresolved wounds.
Loneliness was her constant companion since entering the Delta Quadrant. Sure she had her small circle of friends, but bottom line was that they were under her command. What she yearned for was intimacy. Someone to tell secrets to. Someone to cuddle. Someone to sha�Mini-Kathryn couldn�t let this go on and shouted, �Oh, be honest, what you really want is someone to fuck with.� And this time it was the captain who crossed her arms over her chest and nodded.
The truth was she was a passionate woman, who had been denied too long. She was tired of taking care of her own needs. Some nights as she lay alone, her physical craving was so great she wished she could escape her body � transcend the sweat soaked, demanding flesh and soar away as a pure spirit. And the fantasies � they made her blush to think of now, in the clear light of day. Forbidden desires which were becoming more intense with each passing night. To glide her warm fingers against the cool tracks of metal, to peel away the clinging fabric, to nuzzle her face in the golden hair above and the tawny curls below. Once, in desperation, she grasped her pillow to her and...No, she had to stop imagining what could never be � why torment herself? But tonight, in the twilight state between wakefulness and sleep, Kathryn knew the vision would return unbidden, in all it�s heat and fervor.
Shaking her head as if to rid herself of these shameful thoughts, Janeway decided it was time for a refill. A second whiskey would be her limit. Enough to allow her thoughts to drift, but never get totally out of control. That was the rule. Her rule.
Kathryn was finally ready to face grief and betrayal � old and deep and entwined. What was wrong with her? Every relationship she ever had with men ended with her in pain. Cheb turned out to be angry and jealous of her strength of character. He turned the passion of first love into heartbreak. Justin � oh God, even after all these years the pain of his death was crushing. She would never reconcile his loss and her grief was amplified by guilt - the guilt of having failed to save him. And yet, perhaps unreasonably, she felt Justin had betrayed her in the most profound way � he failed as a pilot, he died, he left her. Finally, there was Mark - comfortable old Hobbes - the glue that mended her broken heart after Justin. She thought he would be the pillar she would always be able to lean on. He had been there all her life. But in the end he gave up on her so easily � accepted the supposition of her death on Voyager and married another. So much for trying to force herself into the Traditionalist model of her parents!
Now she had to face new grief and betrayal. This time over losing Michael � oh, hell, she knew he was a hologram, but that was why he should have been safe. And easy. And available. On her terms. Of her programming. �Are you listening to yourself again ?� piped up our little hero. �When have you ever been satisfied by safe or easy? � And with sudden clarity, Kathryn realized it was never Michael she had fallen in love with at all. Instead, it was the idea of Michael that was so appealing. He was someone she thought she could control - set the boundaries - even isolate herself from if she chose (which indeed she had), all in an effort to protect her heart from being broken as it had so many times before. And even with all this - self-delusion and manipulation - she had failed. Because the truth was, that love � even the self-deluding kind - required vulnerability. And allowing yourself to be vulnerable was always a risk.
* * * * * *
Annika stared open mouthed at the prostrate figure before her. Why was this revelation a surprise? She herself had felt a spark of warmth toward the captain and that was after only a brief and somewhat unpleasant encounter. Annika could only imagine the depth of feeling she would be capable of if she had a relationship with Janeway as intense and longstanding as Seven�s. After all, they did share the same human emotional elements.
Unlike most flesh and blood humans, Annika thoroughly understood her reason for being. Seven, in her methodical and precise way had explained it to her. She was a hologram, not real. She was a copy, not the original. She was to exist for a mission, not a lifetime. Her mission was to elevate Seven�s awareness of her humanity. She accepted these realities because Seven declared them and Seven was her creator. She considered herself blessed. There were very few beings who were fortunate enough to serve their creator so fundamentally.
Therefore, Annika knew what she had to do and hoped she was up to the task. She commanded the computer to increase her density to maximum. In this way, her force field matrix became strong enough to gently lift Seven (no easy feat with the extra weight of implants) from her precarious position on the chair and lay her safely stretched out on the floor. From this extended position, it was relatively easy to remove Seven�s biomesh unitard without disturbing her unnecessarily. Annika quickly stripped off her own holographic clothing � a loose linen blouse and long skirt she had been wearing for Fair Haven � and draped them over Seven. Annika was fully aware that if the program was interrupted or ended before she returned, that Seven would remain lying on the bare holodeck floor, completely nude. But some things couldn�t be helped. Annika needed the biosuit, which she was slipping into now. Of course, the fit was perfect. With some difficulty, she managed to produce a fair imitation of Seven�s severe hairstyle.
She checked the chronometer and discovered that there were still two hours remaining of Seven�s holodeck time. "Computer, end Sandrine�s program and initiate Earthwoods program. Authorization Seven of Nine lambda omega," said Annika, pleased that her voice print was an identical match for Seven�s. It meant she would be able to interface with the computer at Seven�s level of security clearance.
Around them, the scene had changed dramatically. Instead of the smoky bar rooms they had been in all morning, Annika and Seven were now surrounded by bucolic country side. From their position in a small grove of shade trees, Annika could see majestic, snow capped mountains to her right. To her left were fields of tall grasses, rippling in the gentle breeze. Annika had been here before and loved the sim. It was created as a picnic scenario and sitting in the grove was a blanket, a picnic basket and some sports equipment. Annika took the blanket and spread it out on a relatively flat area, cushioned by lush mosses and ferns and surrounded by fragrant wildflowers. She then moved Seven, sleeping peacefully as a child, to the blanket and arranged her limbs in a comfortable pose. After surveying the scene with a sense of satisfaction, Annika prepared herself for the next step of her plan.
"Computer, transfer program Annika Hansen to sick bay. Authorization Seven of Nine." In an instant she was there, in the unfamiliar surroundings of the real world � the solid, permanent structures that existed beyond the holodeck walls. It was an intimidating feeling to realize that by stepping beyond the boundaries of the force field grids and photon emitters, she would cease to exist.
Annika knew the Doctor. Seven had brought him to visit shortly after her program was first activated. Apparently he sometimes gave Seven lessons in humanity, although Annika wondered why she would want him to, given his own acidic and pompous nature. Annika remembered him as being rather peeved that Seven should want to consult someone beside himself for her lessons. Although that did not stop him from leering at her, she noted wryly. Annika hoped that her charms would be effective on him today and that he would have worked through some of his resentment of her by now. Because she needed something he had and she needed his cooperation to get it. The Doctor, who was off-line at the moment, did not initialize in response to her presence as he would for a real person. Instead she had to command the computer to activate him.
"Please state the nature of�," the Doctor, ever alert, swiveled his head around and caught sight of Annika. "Oh. It�s you. Where�s Seven? What are you doing in her clothes?" He continued scanning the room, looking in vain for his pupil and friend.
"Seven is, ah, indisposed right now. Actually, I�m the one who needs to see you. I�m here on business � I need your assistance, one colleague to another." Annika hoped she had managed a conspiratorial tone and allowed the Doctor�s curiosity to overtake him. She conjectured that, plus her strategy of appealing to his programmed need to supply help, would be successful. But just for good measure, she threw in a baleful look. It worked.
"I suppose I could be persuaded to help you, if it�s something to do with Seven. Just exactly what type of help do you need?" inquired the hologram.
"Nothing much," began Annika in as nonchalant an attitude as she could muster. "Just a hypospray to counter the effects of a bit too much alcohol consumption and your mobile emitter." If Annika had thought that the Doctor would be easy, one look at his face as she uttered her last syllable proved her entirely wrong. Damn, now she�d have to resort to plan B.
"My mobile emitter! A hypospray! You�re not qualified medically! I can�t give you a hypospray loaded with a potentially dangerous compound and let you run off with it. It would be unethical," the good Doctor sputtered. "And my mobile emitter! You can�t just go gallivanting around on the ship helter skelter causing who knows what kind of trouble. No, no, no. It�s simply out of the question."
Annika, much to her credit, kept her composure during this moderately insulting tirade. She had her goal and nothing would divert her from it, especially not this�this ass. As much as it pained her to do so, she had already sized up the Doctor and had determined the most effective method of assuring his cooperation. "Then I guess I�ll just have to convince you," she cooed as she ran her fingers from his shoulder down the length of his arm. "We can go in your office and I�ll explain everything (stepping closer to him) in perfect (batting her eyes) detail (running the tip of her tongue over her lips). It�s a bit warm in here don�t you think?" Annika murmured as she led the way to the office, while unbuttoning the top of her blouse.
A half hour later, she was on her way, mobile emitter stuck to her arm, and the requested hypospray in her pocket. The Doctor, sporting a smile so wide it nearly cracked his head in half, never knew what hit him.
* * * * * *
For the first time in her relatively brief existence, Annika was on her own, in a setting that was as foreign to her as any new world was to the Voyager explorers. She couldn�t help feeling a bit frightened and overwhelmed. She was aware that she was an interloper on this ship, having left the confines of the holodeck without the permission or even the knowledge of Seven. Would she be considered an alien threat if detected, she wondered? Still, this was Seven�s world and Annika was above all curious about that. She�d love to visit Astrometrics and study the space charts or perhaps head down to Cargo Bay 2 and see the mysterious regeneration alcoves that Seven had described. Maybe someday she could, but this was not to be that day.
"Computer, locate Captain Janeway," requested Annika.
"Captain Janeway is in her quarters," came the monotone reply.
"Computer, state the location of the captain�s quarters."
"Deck 3, aft compartment."
As Annika traced her way around the unfamiliar and rather confusing maze of corridors that made up the interior of Voyager, she passed relatively few people. Most of the crew was busy at their posts during this time of day. She was grateful for that. The fewer people she saw, the less likely it was that she would be detected. The biomesh suit and hairstyle were her camouflage. People generally saw what they expected to see, so she was not unduly concerned that anyone would notice the absence of facial or hand implants in a quick passing.
She prayed that no one would stop her to engage in conversation. She needn�t have worried. Annika, a relatively perceptive individual, soon understood the isolation that Seven operated under. Curt nods, furtive glances and an occassional grunt of acknowledgement were the typical responses to her presence. No wonder Seven was concerned about her ability to fit in. It tore her heart to realize this was Seven�s reality. And it strengthened Annika�s resolve to help her unfortunate counterpart. Which was opportune. Because she was now standing outside the captain�s door and suddenly felt very, very anxious.
* * * * * *
Janeway swallowed the last drops of her third whiskey, acknowledging that even the best rules should be broken sometimes. The door chimed twice before she responded in a rather gravelly tone, "Come on in." She didn�t look up. She expected, who knows - Chakotay? Tuvok? � with some report or other that couldn�t wait. Then she noticed the silence and sensed the stillness of the figure at her doorway. Attending to her peripheral vision, Janeway spotted the familiar blue biomesh. It was the first time ever, including the many arguments they had had over the years, that she didn�t want to face Seven. She had been stung in a very vulnerable place (her heart) and was not yet ready to concede that which she knew (in fact had known from the start) was true � Michael Sullivan was a mistake. As had been all her lovers, she mused.
Janeway lifted her eyes to the window she so often took solace in gazing from and there, unbidden, was the very distinct reflection of Seven. This unique circumstance allowed Janeway the opportunity to study her companion without reserve. Her eyes caressed the contours of long firm legs, which ended in the refined and sensuous curves of her hips. She noted the taut stomach topped by an impossibly narrow waist. Which only served to accentuate those deliciously full breasts, straining against the form fitting outfit. She was, oh, so very � tantalizing. And so very off-limits.
"Do you like what you see?"
Janeway was jolted as she realized her perusal had not gone unnoticed. She closed her eyes and stood stock still, heat rising up on her cheeks. On the heels of the day�s events, she was mortified to have been caught lusting at the very object of her distress. This was not the time she wanted to hear her alter-ego whisper, �Na-na, what are you going to do now Kathryn? � Why, she knew exactly what to do. "Get out of my quarters, Seven," followed by a pause for effect. "NOW. That�s an order."
Annika swallowed hard. She felt she had just learned something critical to the accomplishment of her goal. But she also knew it would be difficult getting Janeway to acknowledge it. Instead of leaving the quarters as commanded, Annika stepped up behind the captain who seemed frozen in place. "I don�t have much time. I have to talk to you," she whispered in as soothing a voice as she could muster.
An unbridled fury mounted within Janeway. Her unquenched desire, the blatant disregard the object of that desire had for her office and the embarrassment of the past several moments, coupled with a bit too much to drink, caused her to lash out in a most uncharacteristic fashion. She issued what sounded like a war whoop and in one dizzyingly fast motion, spun around, locked her left leg around Annika�s and shoved back on the younger woman�s shoulders, causing her to tumble onto the deck. Without giving her a chance to recoup, the captain lunged at the supine form and tried to pin her.
Annika was having none of it. With her density still set at maximum, she was a force to be reckoned with, as the captain soon discovered. She was taller and more muscular than Janeway, but she did not have the benefit of Starfleet tactical training. Annika wrenched herself from Janeway�s hold and knocked the captain to her side. As she pulled away and struggled to stand, Janeway came back at her from behind and wrapped her arms tightly about her waist. Annika stumbled forward, twisting in Janeway�s arms to protect her face and allow her back to break the fall. They both crashed down heavily to the deck. Janeway had the advantage of being on top and was able to straddle Annika, pinning her arms over her head. Annika conceded defeat by allowing her body to go completely limp under the captain.
Panting, sweaty and spent, Janeway looked down at the woman heaving beneath her. And for the first time noticed there wasn�t an implant in sight. "God, you�re not Seven! Annika, how the hell did you get here?" puffed the exasperated Janeway.
"If you look at my right arm, you�ll see I�m wearing the Doctor�s mobile emitter. And no, I didn�t steal it � he lent it to me."
"And Seven�s outfit?" At this point, the captain eased off of Annika�s wrists, her fury dissipated by the physical confrontation.
"I, uh, borrowed it from Seven. I had to, so no one would notice me coming here." Annika, whose torso was slightly twisted when she fell, shifted to gain a more comfortable posture. For the first time, Janeway became conscious of the intimate contact between them. She remained straddled over Annika�s hips and the movement beneath her shot a pleasant tingle along her crotch and up her abdomen. Which she bravely tried to ignore. The two women locked eyes in silent understanding.
"Then what�s Seven wearing?" asked Janeway in a very low tone.
After a slight pause Annika whispered, "Nothing."
"I see," said Janeway, as she contemplated that image. As much as she hated to, she decided it was time to release this being that teased her with Seven�s form and features. Her mind knew Annika was a counterfeit, but her body took pleasure in being fooled. As she tried to shift her weight to rise, Annika�s hands planted themselves on her hips and held her in place. Janeway looked at her questioningly, then her eyes widened as Annika�s competent fingers traced gently up her sides, across her chest, around her shoulders and planted themselves firmly behind her neck. Everywhere she was touched, Janeway felt waves of current surge through her. All resistance drained out of her and she was helpless as those hands pulled her body down � down to press against the softness that was Annika. Their lips met in a tentative greeting, one softly brushing against the other. Then again, deeper and more confident, mouths joined in passion, while their bodies moved in scintillating rhythm, desire over-ruling coherent thought.
Abruptly, Annika pushed Kathryn away and rolled them over. The captain started to protest, but Annika placed her fingertips over the sweetly moistened lips. She bent toward Kathryn, placed her mouth to the captain�s ear and whispered, "That was a message from Seven. She�s waiting for you."
Annika then reached over and retrieved the dropped hypospray. She smiled coyly and handed it to the captain. "You�ll need this, though. I�m afraid Seven doesn�t hold her liquor very well." As Janeway accepted the proffered medicine, Annika ordered the computer to close her program and promptly dematerialized. All that was left in Janeway�s arms was the empty biomesh outfit and the Doctor�s mobile emitter.
The captain�s heart was throbbing against her chest wall. There was no doubt about Annika�s meaning. Was it possible Seven had progressed this far in her humanity? Was she ready for adult love - not merely the physical aspect, but all the emotional consequences that it incurred? And most of all, did Seven feel the same heat as she did when they were together and the same aching longing when they were apart? Before mini-Kathryn could get a word in edgewise to respond, Captain Kathryn Janeway of the Federation Starship Voyager made a command decision to break her second rule for the day. Hypospray and biosuit in hand, she exited her cabin and set a course for holodeck 1, at warp 9.
* * * * * *
Kathryn knelt on the blanket and gazed lovingly at Seven, whose limbs were tangled among the cast-off garments. She had watched her regenerate many times before, but never had she witnessed this natural repose � a sweet half-smile curled the young woman�s lips and her eyes flickered randomly below their lids. Her Seven, who was real, would never be easy, could never be controlled and whose love she knew, to the depths of her heart, would never be a mistake. Janeway bent to touch her lips to the silky, smooth forehead, then applied the hypospray to Seven�s neck.
Seven�s eyelids fluttered open, her mind completely clear, but disoriented by the changes that had taken place around her. The last she remembered she was�oh no, having a drink � no, two drinks � with Annika � and talking about copulating with the captain...now she was lying�nude?�in a picnic grove with Captain Janeway... who should be furious with her!
"Captain." She sat up in some alarm as these memories resurfaced, but created greater embarrassment for herself by shedding the skirt which had been loosely shielding her breasts. As she fumbled with the fabric to attempt to cover herself, Janeway stayed her hand. Seven looked up and was fascinated by the goofy lopsided grin and sparkling eyes that graced the captain�s face. She�d never seen an expression quite like it.
"No � please call me Kathryn." She paused, considering her next move - then took the plunge. "Annika delivered me a message from you," purred Kathryn. "I want to make sure I got it right." And with that, she shocked the hell out of Seven by leaning across the narrow space that separated them and kissing her, slowly and sensuously. Having witnessed, but never been the object of such a ministration, Seven melted under the hot sparks that radiated through her body at the captain�s touch. Kathryn, ever the explorer, dropped down to her chin, then her throat, tongue and lips swirling in exotic patterns. Seven leaned back on her elbows, in an effort to support her body, which was rapidly being overcome by the novel sensations. Kathryn was aware that Seven was inexperienced and forced herself to slow things down. With difficulty, she pulled her mouth away from the velvet skin and rested her head on the younger woman�s shoulder.
Seven, heart pounding and breath quickened, managed, "Annika gave you that message?" She certainly had many questions for Annika, once she had a chance to reactivate the precocious hologram. Obviously, some interesting incidents had transpired during her unconscious state, of which she could only speculate. However, Seven wisely decided to quell her curiosity for now and simply accept this miraculous state of affairs.
A rich, throaty chuckle greeted her, "Well, not quite - I did expand on it a bit. Did I get the idea right, though?"
"Yes, I believe you did," sighed Seven, who ventured to run her hand through the auburn tresses as she had so often dreamed of doing. She bowed her head slightly to nuzzle that beloved crown, breathing in the sweet fragrance of � whiskey? She frowned, "You are inebriated."
Another laugh, deeper this time, thinking �and the pot calls the kettle black.� She said, "A little. I probably wouldn�t have ended up here otherwise. You�re lucky Annika caught me in a mood to break rules."
Seven reached for the hypospray and shot the last bit of medicine into�Kathryn�s (using that designation would take some getting used to)�neck.
"Why did you do that?" protested Kathryn, now thoroughly sober.
"If we are to initiate a romantic relationship, I want it to be with your full comprehension."
"Fair enough." Kathryn bestowed a brilliant smile on Seven and captured the younger woman�s eyes in her sterling gaze. �If that�s what she wants�� Janeway gingerly pushed her back onto the blanket and drew away the tumbled garments - breath catching as she filled her eyes with the exquisite body that lay at her side. Perhaps the Borg were perfect, after all. The creamy, silken skin, contrasted by stark lines of mesh, produced an exotic effect. Kathryn marveled at the delicate platinum hairs that dotted the Borg�s legs and underarms, glittering in the sunlight. Simply unheard of. At puberty, girls on Earth routinely submitted to the simple procedure for its removal. The Doctor hadn�t bothered. Now, Kathryn was intrigued by the unique combination of primitive physiology and technical marvel that was Seven. She sensed her love�s discomfit under her scrutiny.
"Kathryn � am I adequate?" Seven asked hesitantly. She was uncertain how she would survive if the answer was negative.
"Oh darling, so much more than adequate. You are the most beautiful creature in the universe to me. Never doubt it," murmured Kathryn in reassurance. And it was time to show her just how precious she was. She drew one leg up between Seven�s, pressing her thigh firmly against the downy, amber mass. Seven�s eyelids slid shut as she attended to the deliciously unexpected sensation of Kathryn�s firm leg rhythmically massaging her clitoris.
Kathryn then proceeded to deliver an endless series of searing kisses on her. Her lips, those deliciously full lips, warm with the heat of passion stirring within her. Her face, moving across the delicate cheek, gently teasing the tender earlobe, smiling at the gasp that action elicited. Down to the elegant neck, so sensitive under such competent treatment. Kathryn felt the subtle vibration of Seven�s moan in her mouth as it passed over the Borg�s throat. She involuntarily answered with one of her own.
Kathryn�s lips followed the contour of Seven�s clavicle to her chest, now slowing her pace provocatively in anticipation. And finally, dropping lower to concentrate full attention on her eager breasts. Starting from center, Kathryn ran her tongue under the voluptuous right breast first, then around to the top. She slowly spiraled toward the impatient center, teasing both the giver and the recipient. She was hopelessly aroused by the pressure of Seven�s trembling body rising up to encourage her - the sound of Seven�s jagged breath and the low moans and whimpers that escaped unbidden. And she thought the sensation of Seven�s nipple pebbling within her mouth was the most erotic act she had ever engaged in (prior lovers being all male). Kathryn then shifted to give equal privilege to the needy left. She delighted in the tremors that coursed through Seven as she nipped and suckled the tender tips.
With her tongue, Kathryn moved down to explore the series of narrow metallic bands that striped Seven�s abdomen. The flesh bordering each band was sensitive and Kathryn�s sensual treatment caused a rush of slick fluid to baptize her own leg. Seven�s arms encircled Kathryn and her hands rubbed chaotic, hurried circles over the woman�s back and sides, movements increasingly erratic as her excitement built. Kathryn slowly pulled back, supporting herself on an elbow. She grinned down at Seven�s rather feverish face, and declared, "That was with my full comprehension. So, what do you think?"
"Acceptable," gulped Seven, who was totally overcome.
Kathryn laughed at the understatement, then rolled away from Seven and rose shakily to her feet. She tossed Seven the biomesh suit Annika had taken from her, eyes raking the aroused body displayed before her. "You�d better get dressed now." Kathryn said softly. "I think your holodeck time is almost over."
"I will seal the door with a Borg encryption code. We will finish this," Seven demanded.
Kathryn smiled down at her flushed partner. God, she knew how she felt. "We will, Seven, but not here, not now. I want to romance you. I want to have us take all the time in the world, not rushing with angry people waiting on the other side of the door. Can you understand that?"
As much as she hated to admit it, Seven knew Kathryn was right. She slowly began to pull on the unitard and issued the command, "Computer, end program." The two new lovers were left standing in the empty holodeck, all bare beams and cold metal plates, lending an unreal quality to the events of the day. Kathryn broke the silence by kissing Seven softly on the cheek and whispering, "Tonight, my love. My quarters, dinner, 1900 hours." Then she abruptly turned on her heel and exited the holodeck, leaving Seven reeling on her own.
* * * * * *
Two days later, a glowing Captain Kathryn Janeway stepped smartly onto the bridge, rejuvenated, energized and ready for duty. Her senior officers marveled at the change in their leader and all agreed that the Doctor had indeed been wise to order her leave. Janeway smiled at the compliments she received. Mini-Kathryn merely winked.