It was no surprise to her that she loved and desired the younger woman, but to be thinking about such things while in the middle of a mission was unacceptable to the duty-conscious woman. Pushing away her libidinous thoughts she concentrated on the off-duty rotations. As the dematerialization process began Kathryn wondered if she could schedule her own time off to coincide with Seven’s.
The comforting hum of machinery surrounded the woman, uninterrupted and peaceful as energy coursed into her body from the contact nodes located at the base of her spine. Seven of Nine didn’t lose consciousness in the typical sense of the word while regenerating. It was more like floating in limbo, aware of movement as crewmen came in and went out of the cargo bay. She was aware of their presence, but nothing more. While she did not dream neither could she rouse herself immediately from the partially conscious state. Only the termination of the regeneration cycle could do that.
She felt a new presence enter the cavernous room and knew the visitor at once. Captain Kathryn Janeway was the only individual she could accurately identify. She knew when the captain was present, but had never mentioned it. Secretly, she enjoyed the sensation that the other woman was watching over her in some way.
The captain had severed her from the collective and taken responsibility for the younger woman while she learned to embrace her humanity, again. Seven supposed that the captain was only continuing to be responsible, but it still made her feel warm inside. At times she actually felt that someone cared about her personally, not just as a member of the crew.
Captain Janeway stayed and observed her quietly for about ten minutes, as was her habit, and then left. When she was gone Seven immersed herself again in the feelings of regeneration, the energy tingling as it entered through her implants. Six point three hours after the cycle had begun the computer terminated the program.
"Regeneration cycle complete," the female voice intoned dispassionately.
Seven stepped down from the dais and approached her computer console. She wanted to get started on those new calculations for increasing sensor range immediately. If she could improve the resolution by another .0034 percent, it would give Voyager more time to prepare should they encounter another hostile Delta Quadrant species.
She discovered her console already active. A red indicator light flashed informing her that she had a personal message. The young woman rarely received a personal communique so this was a surprise indeed. She accessed the message and discovered it was from the captain.
To: Seven of Nine (Annika Hansen)
Fm: Captain Janeway (Kathryn)
Subj: My dearest Seven, although I realize you normally don’t avail yourself of general shore leave it would give me great pleasure to have your exclusive company during this much needed time off. Please make my fondest wishes come true by accepting this invitation.
Eagerly awaiting your reply,
Something was wrong, Seven thought as her cranial implant attempted to crawl off her forehead. This message couldn’t possibly be from Captain Janeway. The use of Seven’s human designation was the first clue since the captain knew of her dislike of the name. Then there was the message itself. It was so formal and flowery, not the captain’s style at all. If Captain Janeway wanted Seven’s company she came to her and demanded it.
An image from one of Tom Paris’ holo-movies flashed through her head of something called a pod person. Even as the thought crossed her mind she dismissed it as ludicrous. The bio-filters of the transporter would have screened out any harmful parasites. Perhaps the captain was trying to acquaint her with another human custom, although what that custom could be Seven had no idea. Whatever the reason she knew she could not deny her friend. With typical Borg efficiency and an uncharacteristic smile she sent her reply to the leader of Voyager.
To: Captain Janeway (Kathryn)
Fm: Seven of Nine (Tertiary Adjunct to Unimatrix Zero One)
Subj: I accept.
Kathryn was ecstatic at the reply she had received from Seven of Nine. She still wondered at the impulse of issuing the invitation, but she couldn’t argue with the results. All she knew was that seeing the planet had stirred something inside her urging her to share the natural beauty with someone dear to her. There was only one person that came to mind. In fact Kathryn couldn’t seem to think about anything or anyone else. Her mind kept conjuring romantic liaisons between the two women. Visions of sweat-slick skin, surging bodies and heart-felt moans of passion filled her head.
She seemed to have experienced a revelation of sorts. Kathryn Janeway had finally allowed the fact that she was lonely to be fully acknowledged. Along with that knowledge came the realization that she did not want to be alone for the rest of her life. Starfleet be damned!
She had always put duty first, but she knew that Starfleet protocols for interpersonal relationships had hardly been written for a crew in their present situation. If the powers that be decided to take her to task for having a personal life so be it. She would gladly face the music if they ever got home.
Glancing at the chronometer on her desk Kathryn happily noted the time. Most of the ship’s compliment would be starting shore leave rotations. Only a skeleton crew would remain on board to keep vital systems functioning. The chime to her ready room door sounded just as Kathryn was considering calling it a day and beginning her own time off. A frown of irritation flitted briefly across her features before she schooled it away.
Commander Chakotay walked in with a swagger at Kathryn’s invitation. Seeming not to notice her agitation he lowered his bear-like frame into the chair beside her desk.
"Good afternoon, Kathryn," he began with a grin. "I just came to see if you were going to be taking advantage of shore leave anytime soon."
Her eyes narrowed suspiciously for a moment. Chakotay had made up the off duty schedule, he knew very well when she was scheduled to be off the ship. Then again she did have a reputation for refusing to take advantage of that privilege, she admitted, chastising herself for her misgivings about the man.
"Actually, yes," she responded with more enthusiasm than she intended. "I’ve found the most wonderful spot by a stream-fed pool that I intend to camp at for a few days." The fact that her mind immediately conjured the image of herself and Seven draped nakedly over one another by that same pool didn’t bear mentioning.
"Planning on having company?"
The question was asked in a joking tone, but Kathryn could see the intent look in her first officer’s dark brown eyes. He is definitely fishing, she thought.
"Why?" she queried in a dangerous tone.
"Whoa," he said, holding up his hands in mock surrender. "I just noticed that you requisitioned a shelter that could comfortably accommodate six people. That’s not like you. Come on, Kathryn, give. Normally, you’re lucky if you remember a shelter at all."
"Oh no you don’t, Chakotay," Kathryn laughed. "You are not getting information on the captain for the gossip circuit."
"Gossip?" The burly man seemed surprised. "Is there something to gossip about?"
Blue-gray eyes widened when Kathryn comprehended she had inadvertently let something important slip. Chakotay seemed to become aware of the same thing, his expression suddenly serious.
"Who is it, Kathryn?" he asked in a deceptively soft voice. The anger he tried so hard to conceal was easily read in his rigid posture.
"Chakotay, it’s not . . . "
"Who is it?" he repeated.
She could have ordered him out of her ready room, but for the sake of their friendship chose not to. Kathryn believed he was angry because she was the captain, not allowed the comfort of a companion. If she told him how she felt about the younger woman maybe he would understand that this was something she had to do.
"Seven of Nine," she replied in an equally soft voice.
His reaction was unexpected. He shot to his feet with his hands fisted. His face suffused darkly red.
"Seven of Nine!" he fairly shouted. "Kathryn, you can’t be serious."
Now she was starting to get mad. How dare he barge into her ready room, interrupt her plans and start lecturing her about her duty? Standing slowly, Kathryn rested her fists against the edge of her desk. "You are out of line, Commander. I am not just a rank. I am a human being."
"But, Kathryn . . . not her!"
Janeway froze as the blood thundered through her head. Suddenly it made sense. He was jealous, not angry. He wasn’t lecturing her about duty. He just didn’t want to see her with Seven of Nine. Obviously he wanted the young blonde for himself, but he wasn’t going to have her. She belonged to Kathryn.
An almost feral growl erupted from her throat, cutting Chakotay off in mid tirade. Her features seemed to shift for a moment, startling the Native American into silence. Was it his imagination or did her face look thinner, more lupine? Her voice was so low and husky, he had trouble catching the words. "She will be mine, Commander. It is meant to be and you will not stand in our way."
Chakotay decided that he didn’t know Kathryn Janeway as well as he thought he did. His reaction had been involuntary and motivated by jealousy, but it was jealousy for Kathryn not Seven. For years he had secretly harbored the hope that they would be together. He thought that if he didn’t push she would come around on her own. Now it would seem he had waited too long.
On top of that he had just been warned away from a woman by his commanding officer and was imagining her face transforming. Could this day get any better? He decided to get things back on the proper track and try apologizing before beating a retreat.
"I’m sorry, Kathryn. It just surprised me. Of course you deserve to be happy," he continued as he backed for the doorway. "Enjoy your time off."
Amused, she watched his less than graceful exit. As soon as the doors hissed closed she forgot all about him and their conversation. Quickly logging off of her console Kathryn was busy making mental plans on how to woo and win the love of her Borg Astrometrics officer.
Walking across the command center to the lift she didn’t even glance at Chakotay, her mind on other things. She refused to entertain the thought that Seven just might not be attracted to her as she directed the turbo life to take her to deck three.
The next morning Kathryn was ready. The shelter had already been transported to the surface along with more than enough supplies to last the women their allotted four days. Some of the supplies were hardly standard issue, but she had utilized captain’s privilege with a vengeance. Best of all there would be no interruptions. Kathryn had left strict orders that they were not to be disturbed for anything short of a ship-wide emergency.
The only thing that might throw a damper on her little party was if Seven had to return to the ship to regenerate. But they would cross that bridge when they came to it. Before that happened she would attempt to get Seven to try sleeping as a way of recharging. Janeway had sent down only one queen-sized bed for them to share and if she had her way she’d be teaching the young blonde more than sleep, Kathryn thought with a decidedly wicked grin.
Now that Kathryn was finished she began to feel the throbbing in her groin more strongly. As long as she was busy she could ignore the ache, but now it made itself known. As she sat at the edge of her sofa Kathryn could feel the damp material of her undergarments sliding exquisitely along her inflamed genitals. She lay back against the cushions and closed her eyes, imagining full pink lips caressing her own. In her mind those lips drifted slowly over her face and down her body. Kathryn’s hand began mimicking the actions of the imaginary lips, drifting down between her legs.
Suddenly realizing what she was doing Kathryn stood and stalked to the replicator, ordering a cup of steaming coffee. She had wanted to alleviate the ache, almost compulsively needed to, but there was a larger part that wanted to save that passion for Seven. As if reading her mind the admittance chime rang, announcing the former drone’s presence.
"Oh, thank God," Kathryn mumbled before granting admittance.
Seven of Nine stalked into the room with her normal aloof air. Dressed in her plum colored bio-suit, she stopped in front of Janeway and placed her hands behind her back. The posture, so habitual for the Borg, suddenly took Kathryn’s breath away. Didn’t Seven realize how that pose thrust her breasts out even farther, Kathryn wondered? Her mouth began salivating at the thought of chewing on the sensitive tips and she took a healthy gulp of her beverage trying to buy some time to get her thoughts under control.
The other woman didn’t seem to notice anything unusual. "Captain," Seven began, "your message did not state what activities we will be engaging in therefore I have not been able to prepare any supplies."
Kathryn gratefully took the offered way out. "I thought you might like to try camping, Seven. I took the liberty of arranging a private location for us near a lovely little spring, in case you wanted to try swimming as well."
Kathryn led the way over to her sofa and sat, indicating that she wanted Seven to sit, too. When the younger woman had settled on the edge of the cushions she looked at Janeway uncomfortably.
"I do not believe I know how to swim, Captain," she admitted.
A small hand rested on Seven’s thigh. Kathryn had meant the gesture to comfort, but couldn’t resist lightly caressing the muscled leg. "That’s all right, Seven. I’ll teach you how if you want."
The last part was said in a low smoky tone and combined with the captain’s hand on her leg Seven wondered if they were still talking about swimming. It was suddenly harder to process oxygen and she noticed that her heartbeat had increased 2.5 percent. If she didn’t know Janeway so well she would think the woman was attempting to initiate a romantic encounter.
"I...I fear I lack the necessary attire for such activities," Seven admitted quietly, distressed at the trembling in her voice.
"I’ve already taken care of everything," Janeway assured her. "Our supplies have already been sent down. Now if you’re ready, darling?"
Kathryn sat her cup on the coffee table and gently grasped Seven’s hand, tugging the woman toward the doorway. She let go of Seven’s hand as they left her quarters and led the way to the transporter room.
Seven’s mouth was too dry to speak. The captain had called her ‘darling’ and was she mistaken or had Janeway’s pupils been extremely dilated? Seven suddenly had the impression that she was the prey and Janeway was stalking her.
Kathryn could have kicked herself. She hadn’t meant to pounce on Seven in her quarters. She wanted to initiate a relationship with the curvaceous blonde, not frighten her away! She tried to use the time during the short walk to their camp to calm her libido, but being on the planet seemed to heighten her awareness of Seven even more, if that was possible.
Allowing Seven to precede her on the trail Kathryn took a moment to enjoy the view. The lanky woman’s hips swayed from side to side, a silent invitation to Kathryn’s passion drugged senses. When the object of her affection stepped into the clearing and suddenly stopped she was hard pressed to avoid running into her.
Seven arched her brow when she saw the size of their shelter. It was far larger than the two women needed. The captain had said they would be spending time together exclusively, but perhaps she had changed her mind. Stopping beside the tent Seven turned toward her companion and placed her hands behind her back. "Are other members of Voyager’s crew to be joining us?"
Captain Janeway stepped up close to Seven, so close their bodies were a mere breath apart. Seven was used to the captain invading her personal space, but somehow this was different. Unaccountably, her palms began to sweat and she fought the urge to back up.
"No, it’ll just be the two of us. Is that all right?" Kathryn asked gently, looking at the Borg with an expression that Seven could not remember seeing before.
Kathryn Janeway, captain of the Intrepid Starship Voyager, usually radiated a controlled command presence at all times . . . usually. Right now was not one of those times she realized as she stared in frustrated anger at the bubble of blood on the pad of her thumb.
The M-class planet had seemed like such a stroke of good fortune when they had discovered it on long range sensors. Scans had shown no airborne pathogens, predators or even life-signs from anything larger than a house cat. The foliage was lush and green with birds singing and the sun shining. A crystal clear stream gurgled merrily nearby.
It was a young planet, too young for sentient life to have evolved yet and Kathryn thought this is what Earth might have looked like several million years ago.
Since everything seemed so quiet and beautiful that she had wanted to be among the first to set foot on the planet so she had beamed down with the initial away team. With the sensor readings so benign, even Tuvok had refrained from recommending a security detail.
Yeah, really benign, Kathryn thought, sticking her wounded thumb in her mouth and sucking on the throbbing digit. "Except for the damn thorns!" she mumbled.
There were thorns everywhere. The undergrowth was so dense with them that there was practically no way through without ripping yourself open on the inch long, razor-like slivers.
"Sorry about that," Kathryn said, addressing the disappointed away team. "Maybe, the southern continent will be more hospitable."
After a few disgruntled mumbles Captain Janeway had the transporter chief beam them to an alternate location on the southern continent. The area proved to be just as lovely as the other, but with much less vegetation and no thorns. White sandy beaches went on for miles and Kathryn knew they had found the perfect spot for a much needed break. There were even some caves nearby that she was looking forward to exploring and a quiet pool she intended to claim for herself. Sometimes it was good to be captain.
As they were preparing to beam back to Voyager Kathryn felt suddenly dizzy. The sensation lasted only for a moment, but as it faded another one took its place. The image of her blonde Astrometrics officer filled her mind and Kathryn felt an answering tingle start in the pit of her stomach. The sensation built steadily to a slow burn.
Seven was confused by the physical sensations that flooded her body at the captain’s expression, a tingling warmth that left her short of breath. Feeling the need for a distraction Seven stepped away from the smaller woman and entered their tent without answering. The captain had been acting uncharacteristically all day, although it was hard for Seven to be sure. When she saw the solitary queen-sized bed occupying the far wall of the structure she became sure. The blonde stopped a few steps inside the doorway. She felt the heat from her companion’s body as Janeway stopped only a breath away from her back.
"Cap . . . Captain," Seven stammered, "are you attempting to seduce me?"
Her heart began hammering in her chest when Janeway’s slender arms gently encircled her waist. She could feel the small breasts pressed against her back and breath whispered against the side of her neck.
Kathryn brushed her lips across Seven’s scapula before replying. "Would you like me to?"
The small hairs on the back of Seven’s neck stood at attention. The idea of copulating with Kathryn Janeway was intriguing and for a moment the young woman was tempted. But this couldn’t be allowed. Swallowing the lump in her throat Seven stepped away from the warm embrace and turned around.
"My understanding of Starfleet protocols is that the captain is prohibited from engaging in romantic relationships with members of the crew. You are the captain."
If Kathryn hadn’t heard the misery in the quietly stated words she would have screamed in frustration. Instead she settled for running an elegant hand over her face.
"Let’s talk," Kathryn finally said, motioning for Seven to sit at the small camp table.
Taking a moment to control the inferno between her legs Kathryn sat next to the nervous woman. These feelings were getting harder to control. All Kathryn could think about was getting between those clean sheets with six feet of naked blonde Borg. But as crazed as she was the physical relationship had to be genuine. She wanted the woman to want her, too.
"You’re right, Seven. I am the captain. I know all about Starfleet protocols and I believe in them. At least I always have before, but I am also a human being. I have emotions and . . . needs . . . just like anyone else."
Kathryn was resisting the urge to capture the blonde’s hand in her own. She clasped her own hands together and placed them in her lap hoping Seven wouldn’t see them shake. Taking a deep breath she looked into indigo eyes and continued. "I can’t ignore my feelings anymore, Seven. My love for you is so strong it consumes me. Please, tell me you feel something for me."
The blonde couldn’t ignore the desperation in the husky voice, but she didn’t know how to respond either. She had never been one to subscribe completely to protocol so had no problem with that. What she did have a problem with was the captain’s uncharacteristic behavior.
"Kathryn," Janeway interjected, "When we’re alone together, please call me Kathryn."
After a beat, Seven went on. "Very well, Kathryn. Your love for me appears to be rather sudden. Are you sure that you have not been infected by something making you believe you care for me?"
She had a valid point, Kathryn realized. While her feelings for Seven were hardly new this out of control hormonal surge every time she was around the other woman was. Still, that wasn’t the question. At the moment Kathryn didn’t really care about the explanation for the sexual response. Turning in her seat Kathryn gave in to her impulses and clasped Seven’s hand. She brought the hand to her face and pressed a soft kiss against the palm. The blonde’s shiver was not lost on her.
"Seven, it is important that you understand this. I was fascinated by you the moment I found you on a Borg cube. That fascination turned to love a long time ago. When exactly I’m not sure, but I do know that I have loved you for as long as I can remember. The only question is, do you think you could love me, too?"
The words so plainly asked, spoke directly to Seven’s heart. For so long she had understood that Kathryn Janeway was the center of her world. She made Seven feel so many things; safe, amused, angry and most of all warm. She understood that Kathryn was the only one to make her feel these things and now she understood why.
"I believe I could," Seven responded, leaning cautiously toward the dynamic woman. What if she changed her mind?
Kathryn felt her nipples harden as the gorgeous woman drew closer to her. Finally their lips met and fire surged through Kathryn’s veins. She arched into Seven’s body, a moan dragged out on her breath. Her hands came up to cup the golden head, fingers sliding through silken strands to hold the younger woman closer. Kathryn began kissing harder. Their mouths were open and tongues tangling sweetly. She needed more, needed to be closer. Rising from her chair without losing contact with the full lips Kathryn straddled Seven’s legs and pressed against her stomach. She twined her arms around the long neck and deepened the kiss.
Seven pulled away breathing hard. Janeway’s eyes were dark and wild as she made a low throaty sound, needing the Borg’s lips back on her own. "Kathryn, we must slow down."
She was overwhelmed by their kisses, having never felt anything like it before. She wanted to copulate with the captain, but wasn’t sure she could. Kathryn was so frantic that she was scaring Seven. The young woman had no practical experience and was afraid of disappointing this woman.
"Please," Janeway begged, desperately trying to pin the woman’s lips, "I don’t want to stop."
Holding the woman close, Seven pressed their cheeks together and rubbed her hands comfortingly on Kathryn’s back in an attempt to calm her.
"Kathryn," Seven said softly, forcing Janeway to quiet to be able to hear her, "Kathryn, I am not saying ‘no’. I merely wish to slow down. I am new at this form of expression."
Taking several deep breaths Kathryn reached for control. Her pulse still throbbed and she couldn’t resist grinding the wet place between her legs against Seven’s pelvis. Groaning in wild frustration she eventually stilled her motion and forced herself to stand away from her companion.
"I’m sorry," she said brokenly, "I didn’t mean to push you into something you aren’t ready for."
Seven stood and cupped Janeway’s cheek tenderly. "As I said, Kathryn, I merely wished to slow the experience, not end it. But you are damaged and must be treated."
"Damaged?" Kathryn asked uncomprehendingly.
Then she felt the slight sting of a split lip. They had been kissing so feverishly, her skin had separated. Seven leaned toward her and gently licked away a small smear of blood. The action was so erotic Kathryn shivered and her nipples hardened almost painfully. Pulling away Kathryn said in a shaky voice, "If you don’t want to continue this in the middle of that queen-sized bed you better let me go now."
Grinning slightly Seven released the smaller woman.
"What else would you like to do?" she asked gently.
Raising a shaky hand to her brow Kathryn thought for a moment. She definitely didn’t want to go swimming. It reminded her too much of other wet things. Oh boy, she thought, she definitely needed to get her mind out of the gutter.
"How about cave exploring?" she suggested. "There’s a very interesting cave formation not far from here."
"Acceptable," Seven responded. "But I do not believe my current attire would be conducive to such an activity."
Glancing at the high heels the young woman sported Kathryn had to agree. She directed Seven to the clothing she had replicated and helped her choose something more appropriate. A short time later they were ready for their outing. Kathryn thought Seven looked absolutely adorable in her khaki shirt and shorts. The outfit was completed by ankle high boots with thick treads. The expanse of bare leg was an added bonus, Janeway thought.
A short time later Seven was bringing up the rear as Kathryn led the way through a narrow passageway. The internal structures of the underground chambers were quite impressive, but Seven couldn’t seem to look at anything but her companion’s retreating form.
Seven had been feeling the burn of desire for Kathryn since their first kiss. It was as though consuming a small amount of Kathryn’s blood had lit a fire in her own. As time went by in exploring the caverns the urge to consummate their union had been growing in her. She had long since lost any curiosity in examining the caves and wanted only to return to their camp.
Kathryn had been fighting her own urges, not wanting to force Seven but rapidly losing control of her desires. Finally she called for a rest in a small chamber. The ceiling was low and had many fractures marring the surface. A large flat boulder took up much of the space and Kathryn gratefully sat on it.
Seven decided that a rest stop was a perfect excuse to practice kissing Kathryn. Sitting beside the auburn-haired woman Seven slid her arms around the narrow shoulders and gently pulled the form to her. Kathryn went willingly, needing the press of Seven’s lips.
A small pleading sound issued from her lips as Seven pulled her forward. When their lips connected she felt as though a starburst had gone off in her head. Now they were clawing at each other, frantically trying to gain as much contact as possible.
"We cannot remove our clothing," Seven panted, "The surfaces would injure you."
Kathryn grunted in response and pulled away enough to say, "I need to touch you. I want to unbutton your shirt."
Not waiting for a response, she reclaimed the full mouth and began trying to open the offending garment. When that proved too much for her excited mind she simply ripped it open. Buttons popped off and scattered in the dirt. Seven didn’t notice as her hands avidly mapped the contours of Janeway’s body. Reclining, she pulled Kathryn on top of her and groaned in pleasure at the added contact.
Seven’s own hands quested beneath Kathryn’s shirt, sliding under the bra and gently cupping the smaller breasts. When Kathryn gasped at the contact of Seven’s thumbs on her nipples the younger woman increased her touch. She began squeezing the delicate nubs between her thumb and forefinger, delighted when Kathryn moaned and arched into the touch. They explored each other’s mouths hungrily, pulling away briefly to nip a neck or shoulder only to return to open mouths a moment later.
Nimble fingers unbuttoned Kathryn’s shirt then she found herself being rolled over and her bra shoved up, freeing her breasts. Seven’s eyes focused on the rosy tips before her mouth closed over them. Kathryn moaned her delight and sank her fingers into the blonde locks, pulling the younger woman closer.
Long fingers slipped between them and found the fastening of Kathryn’s shorts, opening them to the cool air before slipping inside to explore the swollen flesh.
Kathryn reached down to open the other woman’s clothing, she wanted to feel Seven’s pleasure at the same time that the young woman was touching her.
Seven rose up, weight supported on her hands. "Kathryn, I wish to taste you," she said in a voice almost unrecognizable with passion.
Then Seven was pulling her shorts down and sliding them off of her altogether. Considerately, she placed the clothing under Kathryn’s bare bottom to protect her from the rock. Then Seven was parting her thighs with her hands and trailing kisses down her belly. When she reached the juncture of her legs Seven inhaled deeply. Suddenly urgent, she leaned forward and licked at the swollen bundle of nerves repeatedly causing Kathryn to jerk in her arms. Seven pushed forward and impaled Kathryn as deeply as she could with her tongue.
Kathryn cried out at the penetration, wanting more. "Seven," she panted, "go inside me, Darling."
Seven slid two fingers into the soaked crease, curling up to caress inside the surging body. Kathryn cried out again and began thrusting strongly. The pressure built steadily and her hips pounded until she roared out her pleasure. Clinging to Seven, Kathryn sobbed as she kissed the beautiful woman’s face.
The young woman settled over Kathryn’s thin yet muscled thigh and felt slender digits slip inside her shorts. Kathryn braced her hand against her leg, encouraging Seven. Seven braced her feet against a column of stone, thrusting strongly against her lover. The granite gave an ominous groan under the Borg’s feet, but no one heard it. Kathryn grasped Seven’s hip with her free hand and assisted the woman’s pounding rhythm until she finally cried out in release.
With her weight resting on her hands Seven took a deep shuddering breath. Finally, she lowered herself to lie next to Kathryn. Gentle kisses were pressed to her face while she recovered. After a moment Kathryn began getting chilled.
"I need to get dressed," she said unenthusiastically.
"I will assist you," Seven decided, rising up to her knees.
She helped Kathryn put on her underwear and shorts, but there was little they could do about the missing buttons on Seven’s shirt. Seven was still on her knees and attempted to scoot back a little to give her lover some room. Her foot impacted with the rock wall where she had weakened it during their lovemaking. There was only a brief, loud crack before the entire ceiling collapsed on them.
Kathryn groaned in pain when she opened her eyes. An immense weight was pressing down on her and she instinctively tried to push it away. When her hand encountered soft flesh she abruptly remembered what had happened.
"Seven," she croaked and began coughing against a dry throat. The coughing didn’t help her headache any and Kathryn groaned again.
The spasms eventually receded and she swallowed repeatedly in an effort to moisten her throat. The cave was significantly darker than when they had arrived and she realized that night was coming on. Unfortunately that really didn’t mean anything since no one would be looking for them. Their only hope was if Kathryn could reach her combadge and call for help. She realized exactly how heavy Seven’s implants made her when she couldn’t budge the young woman or move her arm from underneath her. The effort of trying to move her young love caused her head to swim and she lost the fight to stay conscious.
When Kathryn regained consciousness a few hours later she instantly knew that a few things had changed. The first was that it was now completely dark, the second was that Seven was awake and the third was the overwhelming sexual urge of the last few days had disappeared.
The younger woman was attempting to lift herself from Kathryn and groaning softly.
"Seven," she whispered roughly, "Darling, are you all right?"
Despite the absurdity of the question Seven readily answered. "No, Kathryn, I do not believe so. I am experiencing a blurring of my vision," pause, "and am having," pause, "difficulty in breathing."
"Then stop moving," Janeway ordered, distressed that the other woman was intentionally inflicting pain on herself by attempting to rise.
"I ... am too heavy for you," Seven insisted breathlessly.
Trying again Kathryn said in a soft voice, "Darling, please. You could be seriously injured. I couldn’t bear it if you injured yourself further by trying to make me comfortable. If you can just shift enough for me to free my hand..."
Understanding the implications of that statement Seven lifted her torso ignoring the pain lancing through her chest.
Kathryn moved her arm and tried to ignore the soreness of a limb stretched too far for a long period of time. Relief flooded her at the chirp of an open com-channel. "Janeway to Chakotay," she croaked hoarsely.
For a moment Voyager’s first officer thought he was dreaming. Then he heard it again.
"Janeway to Chakotay."
The captain’s voice sounded heavy with sleep and he wondered what was so important that she was calling him at this hour. The crew had enjoyed a major blow-out party the night before, from which the captain and Seven had been noticeably absent, and his impending hangover didn’t do much for his mood.
Still, she was the captain. He sat up on his cot and reached for the tunic lying next to him. Pressing the combadge he leaned back on one elbow. "Chakotay here," he said in irritation.
"Chakotay," the relief in her voice was apparent and he felt goose flesh break out on his arm.
When nothing else was forthcoming he became worried and immediately began getting dressed. "Captain, please respond. Are you all right?"
"Chakotay . . . help."
"Kathryn, if you can hear me, I’m on the way. Hang in there."
Chakotay dressed quickly and called for a transport to the bridge before he had even finished pulling on his boots. He materialized on the almost deserted bridge, startling a few crewmembers and began barking orders to scan for the captain and Seven.
He felt his blood run cold when he heard the words, "Found them, Commander. It looks like they were inside some underground structures that collapsed."
"Collapsed?" he gasped. "Get a lock on them! Beam them out of there!"
A few seconds elapsed before the frightened crewman responded. "I can’t, sir. There seems to be some interference from something lining the cave walls."
"Damn!" Chakotay muttered, the wheels in his mind spinning rapidly. "Chakotay to Torres," he barked in the next breath. He was getting ready to ask the computer to track her down when a sleepy engineer responded.
"This had better be good, Chakotay. I’m on shore leave, remember?"
"You’re still on the ship though, right?" he asked knowing that she hadn’t planned to beam to the planet until the morning. "The captain and Seven of Nine have been in a cave-in. We’re having trouble pulling them out with transporters. I need you and a rescue team to get them out."
Only a brief pause before a wide-awake half Klingon responded. "I’m on it, sir. Have Tuvok meet me in the transporter room."
"Belay that," he ordered quickly, "You’re going to need the resources of a shuttle; I don’t know what you’ll find. I’ll have Tuvok meet you in the hanger bay."
Sinking heavily into his command chair Chakotay prayed that the rescue team would get there fast enough.
An hour later the call came. "Torres to Voyager."
Although Tuvok was the senior officer this was more of an engineering job. The Vulcan was simply lending his superior strength to the mission and had no interest in taking over.
"Chakotay here, B’Elanna, go ahead."
"We’ve found them, Commander. There’s some kind of gamacite interfering with the shuttle transporters so we’re going to have to cut our way through." Even as she spoke the words Chakotay could hear laser cutting torches through the open link.
"Be careful, Torres. I don’t want you to start another collapse."
"Understood, we’ll be careful. They’re cutting through now. I’ll leave the com-signal open while we try to find them."
Chakotay rubbed his tattoo with his thumb in an unconscious gesture of worry while he tried to make sense of the sounds he was hearing. The whine of the torches, then the sudden thud of stone hitting dirt. There was a brief moment of silence before he heard, "Kahless! There’s so much blood!"
An agonizing eternity passed as he listened to the sounds of the rescue efforts. When his patience had finally reached its limits and he was about to shout at Torres to update him the com-channel came to life.
"Torres to Chakotay."
"We’ve got them, Commander. They’re both pretty banged up, but it looked worse than it was. Head injuries do tend to bleed a lot."
He suspected her gore fascinated imagination enjoyed supplying that bit of information and impatiently waited for her to continue.
"They’re both semiconscious, but we’ll transport them to sickbay as soon as the shuttle is in range."
"Good work, B’Elanna. I’ll meet them there."
Kathryn Janeway was having trouble meeting the azure gaze of her Astrometrics officer.
"I discovered the virus while scanning your injuries." the holographic doctor continued. "It was significantly stronger in your bloodstream, Captain, than in Seven’s although I can’t imagine how you both contracted it."
Reluctantly she told him of pricking her thumb on the thorn during the preliminary surveillance of the planet.
"And you are just now telling me about this?" he asked in justifiable outrage.
"I didn’t think anything of it," she responded. "Pricking my thumb on a thorn was hardly a life-altering event."
Well, maybe it was in this case, she silently conceded glancing at Seven from the corner of her eye.
"Humph," he continued, "I’ll have to check the rest of that away team and make sure no one else pricked themselves."
"Doctor, can you explain exactly what the effects of the virus were?" Kathryn asked, afraid to know the answer.
He responded with a shrug, "Increased hormonal levels, possibly creating a strong need to mate. I suspect it is this world’s way of assuring procreation." Obviously not considering that to mean a lot in this case he returned to his original train of thought. "But that still doesn’t explain Seven’s condition. She wasn’t on the original team. I’m afraid I’ll have to quarantine you both until I can discover if the pathogen is airborne."
Kathryn’s faced flamed an interesting shade of red and she turned away from the doctor to hide her embarrassment.
Fortunately, Seven came to the rescue and answered for her. "The virus is not airborne," she stated with certainty.
The young woman got off her own bio-bed and walked over next to her commanding officer. She knew Kathryn would not wish to touch her now, but still wanted to convey support in some way. Adopting her natural pose she met the doctor’s eyes squarely, drawing his attention away from the uncomfortable smaller woman.
"How can you know that, Seven? It had to get into your bloodstream somehow . . . "
"I kissed her," she interrupted.
Kathryn wished fervently that the ground could just swallow her whole at that moment.
"Oh," was the surprised reply. The look on the doctor’s face said more than words. It was no secret that he had harbored feelings for the former drone for a very long time.
"Well," he said, getting his bearings, "I’m afraid a kiss wouldn’t do it. As far as I can tell the virus cannot be transmitted through saliva. There would have to be a more intimate exchange of . . . bodily fluids."
If it were possible for a hologram to be pale the doctor was positively ghostly at the moment. Seven searched her eidetic memory for the moment when the pathogen would have been passed. "There was an exchange of . . . blood," she said surprising the doctor and Kathryn both with her answer.
"The captain had a small cut on her lower lip. When I kissed her, I must have ingested her blood and the virus at that moment."
Kathryn felt relieved at the woman’s answer. She had forgotten all about that and wasn’t about to tell the doctor about the other bodily fluids they had later exchanged!
"How positively Dracula of you, Seven," the balding doctor finally said in a disgusted tone. "Well, I guess everything is taken care of. Your injuries have been healed and the pathogen has been neutralized. All I can suggest now is rest," he finished weakly with none of his usual bravado.
Dispiritedly, the doctor walked away to log the results in the permanent record. Janeway and Seven quietly left the sickbay together and walked toward the turbolift. Tension between the two was palpable and Kathryn could tell Seven was upset, but she didn’t know what to say. She had been under the influence of an alien virus.
Gathering her courage she finally said, "Seven, I know the doctor ordered us to rest, but would you mind coming to my cabin first. I think we need to talk."
Seven realized this was necessary. The captain would now tell her that she regretted her actions and would explain that their relationship could not continue. Knowing the captain was not at fault for her actions the heartbroken woman determined to make it as easy for Kathryn as she could. She acknowledged the captain with a dip of her head and they climbed onto the lift.
With a heavy heart Seven followed the captain into her quarters and waited while the woman acquired a cup of her favorite drink. She did not think to offer one to Seven, but the former drone would have refused. Her throat was so tight she couldn’t think of drinking anything.
Finally settling next to the captain because she knew Kathryn preferred it, Seven steeled herself to listen to the painful words. After a moment of tense silence she couldn’t wait any longer and began the conversation herself.
"Kath . . . Captain, I realize we were not ourselves on the planet. We were under the influence of a virus. I will not make this difficult for you. You need not fear that I will expect a relationship from you or speak of this with anyone . . . "
Kathryn stopped the outpouring of words by placing a finger gently across Seven’s lips.
"There’s only one thing wrong with your theory," she said gently, "You hadn’t been exposed until after the first time we kissed."
"But," Seven attempted to protest.
"I appreciate what you’re trying to do and I’ll admit I was being extremely affected by the virus when I initiated first contact, but I meant everything I said to you. I do love you, Seven."
Seven was being distracted by the digit lightly stroking along her lower lip, but she thought she had just heard Kathryn say she meant everything.
"I couldn’t possibly regret making love to you," Kathryn continued, "and I hope you don’t regret it, either."
"I do not!" Seven insisted.
Kathryn chuckled at the younger woman’s exuberance. "Then please do what only you can do, Darling. Kiss me and make my blood go to warp."
Seven happily wrapped the smaller woman in her arms, claiming the soft lips passionately.