The Course Home
This story is the result of The 2nd Annual Backdoor Challenge on the Janeway/Seven Faction Forum. Seven of Nine comes back to save the day instead of Captain Janeway.
(2378- Voyager’s 7th year in the Delta Quadrant)
Seven of Nine stepped onto the bridge and strode purposely for the aft science station. Commander Chakotay followed behind her and headed directly to the command center. The yellow alert automatically ordered all hands to emergency stations. Seven, already on the turbolift, had encountered the first officer when it stopped at deck three. He had smiled at her in such a friendly manner that she forgot to ask what he was doing in his quarters in the middle of the alpha shift. Now she was too busy to care.
"What is it?" Commander Chakotay asked.
The captain raised a brow at his tardiness but answered in an even voice. "Judging from the tachyon emissions, some sort of temporal rift."
"How is it being generated?"
Seven didn’t realize she had spoken out of turn until the captain turned toward her. Janeway seemed to understand that finding forty-seven Borg cubes hidden inside a nebula only three light years away caused the crew to act out of character.
"That’s what we’re trying to figure out."
"I’m detecting nadion discharges on the other side of the rift," Tuvok reported.
Seven stared at Chakotay. Didn’t he realize nadion emissions would open a corridor inside the rift? It was far more likely an object was about to emerge.
"It’s possible," the security officer allowed, though he too looked doubtful. "The signature appears to be Klingon."
Captain Janeway sat up straight in her chair and pulled down her tunic as she spoke. Seven was familiar with the gesture and the word that came to mind was ‘determined’.
"There is a vessel coming through the rift."
"Klingon?" Chakotay questioned again.
"No." Tuvok looked at the screen, clearly not believing the information streaming across his board. "Federation."
Shock washed across the bridge like a wave. Directly ahead on the viewscreen the temporal rift began to glow. Blue and purple energy beams streamed from it. Seven thought at another time it would have been quite…aesthetically pleasing. Then a craft flew out of the event horizon. Seven blinked at the unexpected sight. It was a Federation shuttlecraft but many small components on the vessel were a mystery.
"We’re being hailed." Kim’s voice almost squeaked with excitement.
Rising from her command chair as she ordered "On Screen", Janeway felt her breath catch. Something epic was about to happen and they all sensed it, but no one expected what was revealed a second later.
The woman was identical to Seven of Nine.
Seven felt eyes of the bridge crew flash to her before they swung back around. The stranger sported Sven’s familiar hairstyle although strands of silver in the golden hair and the beginnings of age lines on the brow indicated she was several years older. What Seven could see of her left hand also showed that her Borg implant was slightly different. And that wasn’t the only thing out of character. She wore the command red of a Starfleet officer. The insignia on the collar proclaimed her a commodore.
"What the hell is going on?" Captain Janeway demanded.
"I've come to take Voyager home."
Commodore Annika Hansen beamed aboard Voyager and spent the next two hours trying to convince Captain Janeway of her identity and intentions. It was only after she allowed the doctor to verify her identity that the captain would listen and even then she refused to hear anything connected with the future.
They were in Janeway’s ready room when Hansen finally relented. "You don’t wish to discuss the future. Very well, let us discuss the past. Three days ago Voyager discovered a nebula. You believed it to be a way home. You were right. I’ve come to tell you to return to the nebula."
"It was crawling with Borg."
"I have brought weapons and technology designed to defeat the Borg. Have your people examine my shuttle. They will be able to verify my assertions."
Janeway rolled her eyes but didn’t respond to the claims of advanced technology. "For the sake of argument let’s say I believe everything you’ve told me. From my perspective the future looks pretty good. Voyager got home and you joined Starfleet. Now you’re a commodore. I imagine I must be at least an admiral by now. Why would I want to tamper with that?"
"To answer your question I would have to tell you more than you wish to know. Suffice it to say if you do not do this it will be another sixteen years before Voyager reaches Earth. Please, Captain. You must at least consider this."
Janeway was surprised by how deeply the plea moved her. Her own Seven of Nine could get the captain to agree to most anything by speaking that single word. Kathryn swallowed hard and focused on the situation. This woman was not Seven and Kathryn still wasn’t sure she could trust her.
"I’ll have my engineers inspect your vessel."
"I’m not promising anything," the captain stated firmly. "And until they’re ready to report their findings I’d like you to stay in the VIP quarters."
"I understand. In your place, I would do the same."
Captain Janeway called in two security officers to escort the commodore to her quarters. Just before she left the ready room, Hansen turned back to her.
"I wish to thank you for welcoming me aboard Voyager. It is good to be back."
Not knowing what to say, Kathryn only nodded. A few seconds later she was alone. Her thoughts were in turmoil. Temporal ramifications notwithstanding, it was just so unreal to have Seven return from the future to try and bring Voyager back to Earth.
She snorted softly to herself, wondering at her own surprise. It shouldn’t be so hard to imagine Seven doing such a thing. How many times in the last four years had the former drone risked her life in an effort to save the ship and crew? The fact was that Kathryn did trust Seven’s future self; implicitly. The only problem was Federation law. Janeway was Starfleet to her core. She had a hard time blatantly ignoring the Temporal Prime Directive simply for their convenience.
Janeway sat at her desk and sent a memo to B’Elanna Torres and Seven of Nine, authorizing them to utilize any of the crew or ship’s resources needed to analyze the commodore’s vessel. Her chime rang just as she finished. Commander Chakotay entered smiling cheerfully and she couldn’t help but return the small gesture.
"What can I do for you, Commander?"
"I was just wondering what Commodore Hansen had to say."
He sat when she motioned toward the chair in front of her desk. "She said we have to go back to the nebula to get home."
"What about the Collective?"
"Commodore Hansen doesn’t think they’ll be a problem."
"What do you think?" he asked worriedly.
"Quite frankly, if we can modify her technology to fit Voyager I think we have a pretty good shot at this. I’m just not comfortable breaking the TPD to do it."
"Starfleet would understand," he said quietly.
The comment was so unexpected she needed him to be clearer. "You think they’ll just say ‘oh that’s all right. The Temporal Prime Directive is really more of a guideline?"
"No," he laughed, "but bringing back weapons and armor that can defeat the Borg will go a long way toward mitigating things."
"Maybe. At any rate, if we can use this technology on Voyager I’ve decided we’ll try it. Are you all right with that?"
"Absolutely, you have my full support."
"Good. Any idea how all of this is affecting Seven? It must be unsettling to have your future self onboard the same vessel."
Chakotay smiled and Kathryn could see genuine pleasure in it. "Not yet, but I’ll ask her in a little while. We’re having lunch on the holodeck."
Kathryn struggled to keep her expression neutral. She knew she shouldn’t be so hurt that the first officer was dating Seven. Anyone would be honored to be the recipient of the young woman’s interest. Kathryn only wished Seven had wanted her.
At one time being captain would have meant not even considering such a thing but circumstances had changed. Seeing her first officer so happy with Seven left Kathryn feeling empty. She realized she had missed out on something infinitely precious because she had let duty stand in the way.
"Let me know if there’s anything I can do."
"I will, thanks."
Chakotay stood and walked out. Kathryn was so caught up in her own misery she didn’t see his countenance shift from open and friendly to closed and furtive.
Commodore Annika Hansen sat motionless on the sofa in the VIP quarters, holding a cup of Tuvok’s herbal tea. Having discovered the technology aboard the SC-4 shuttle was compatible with Voyager; members of the crew were now outside on the hull installing the armor generators. She had been watching their progress, but her thoughts weren’t on the refit or the now cold tea.
Annika took a shaky breath, allowing the painful memories she had suppressed for so long to run loose.
"You have to do it, Seven. There isn’t much time."
Captain Kathryn Janeway coughed and Seven felt tremors rack the small frame. Implants were bursting out all over the captain’s face and hands. Thick clumps of auburn hair were falling to the deck and her flesh was turning pale and mottled.
Seven found it ironic that sixteen years ago Voyager had turned away from a Borg-occupied nebula only to encounter them on the verge of the alpha quadrant. Janeway had tried to infect the Collective with a neurolytic pathogen but it hadn’t worked, at least not completely. The Queen’s control link to the transwarp hub’s manifolds and to the Collective had been interrupted and the single exit aperture had imploded, but Janeway was lost.
"Please don’t ask me to do this." Seven’s voice was a whisper as she blinked back tears.
"Voyager needs that tactical date. Seven, please, we can’t let the Borg take over the alpha quadrant."
"No! The Borg will not be a threat for years now. You will give us the information when you recover."
Janeway reached up to press her fingers against Seven’s lips. They hadn’t been close in sixteen years, Chakotay’s deception had seen to that. But it suddenly didn’t matter anymore.
"Seven, I’m dying."
The former Borg closed her eyes and pulled Kathryn tightly against her. Painfully, Kathryn eased her head back until her lips were against Seven’s ear. "I’m sorry, for all the time we’ve spent not speaking."
"The fault was mine…"
"Let me finish."
Seven was quiet as Janeway touched her cheek, unmindful of any watchers. "I love you. I have for so very long. Now do it."
Tears streamed down Seven’s face, blurring the vision in her human eye. It had been a lifetime since she had violated another sentient being and making it an order didn’t really help. She gathered her courage and held her left hand near Janeway’s neck. The tubules shot out and pierced tender flesh. Information that would save millions was downloaded in seconds.
Seven watched Janeway’s eyes flutter open one last time. "Take me home, my love. Bury me in Indiana."
Commodore Hansen threw the tea mug across the room. The ceramic shattered impressively against the bulkhead but did little to alleviate the ache in her heart. For ten years she had carried the grief of assimilating the captain, but for almost thirty years she had lived with the pain caused by Commander Chakotay. If not for him, Seven might have had years of happiness with Kathryn. Now she was here with a chance to make everything right. She was pleased Captain Janeway was going along with her plan. There was still a chance the captain would change her mind, but regardless how things played out she would make sure her plan worked. Even if she had to sell her soul to the Borg to do it.
Captain’s personal log, Stardate 54973.4. We’ve begun outfitting Voyager with Commodore Hansen’s upgrades. As soon as the major modifications are complete we’ll reverse course and head back to the nebula. Now I’ve had some strange experiences in my career, but nothing quite compares to the sight of Seven of Nine’s future self briefing my officers on technology that hasn’t been invented yet.
Captain Janeway paced across the bridge watching Hansen, Chakotay and Tuvok work. From a point of casual observation the commodore didn’t seem to harbor any particular interest toward the first officer. Janeway couldn’t predict what might have happened between the two in the course of almost thirty years, but something didn’t seem right. She forced herself to focus on the matter at hand rather than her officers’ personal lives. It was getting late and she sensed they were almost finished. Kathryn had already coordinated with the commodore and agreed on a plan of attack. Now she stood and waited while the woman from the future fine-tuned the details with the others. If only she could figure out what Hansen wasn’t saying.
Kathryn rubbed the back of her neck in frustration. Part of it was her own fault for insisting on not hearing about the future. Then there was Seven. Chakotay hadn’t said anything further about her state of mind and Janeway was worried. It had only been a few hours since their conversation and while the commander didn’t owe her any explanations, Janeway was accustomed to being kept in the loop where Seven was concerned. A twinge of jealousy scrambled through her and made her think of checking on her Astrometrics officer.
Just as quickly she changed her mind. Seven would be regenerating and as much appeal as the idea of watching her was, she didn’t have the right. Chakotay had seen to that.
Seven of Nine was having no particular thoughts concerning either Captain Janeway or Commander Chakotay. At that moment she was tired and wanted nothing more than to regenerate. Tapping the cycle start sequence into the computer and stepping onto the dais, Seven backed into the contact nodes and slipped into a nightmare.
"Seven of Nine, Tertiary Adjunct of Unimatrix Zero One."
Seven’s eyes flew open, fear hammering through her. Standing only a few feet away was the one individual in the entire galaxy that she had hoped never again to see. The Borg Queen.
"What do you want?"
The Queen smiled, a gesture meant to convey warmth and desire. It only made Seven angry.
"Do I need a reason to visit a friend?"
"We are not friends!"
"No," the Queen took a step closer, standing just at the foot of the dais. "We’re more than that. We’re family. While we’re on the subject of old friends I see that Voyager has a visitor, and she’s come from the future. Tell me why."
Seven looked at her in disbelief. The Queen couldn’t possibly expect her to comply. "You may be able to communicate with me while I’m regenerating but I’m no longer a drone. I don’t answer to you."
A flash of irritation crossed the cybernetic being’s face and Seven felt a surge of satisfaction. It was short-lived as the Queen turned her back only to face her again a moment later and try a different tactic.
"I’ve extrapolated Voyager’s trajectory. I know that you’re returning to the nebula. I suggest you alter course."
"You are not known for offering friendly advice. Why should we comply?"
The Borg Queen stepped up onto the dais, inches away. She was so close Seven could feel breath ghost across her face. Disgust made her shiver. Glittering silver eyes studied her features intently and Seven froze when a hand reached out to stroke her cheek.
"You’ve always been my favorite, Seven of Nine." Now the fingers of both hands caressed her face. Seven wanted to back away but in the alcove there was no place to go.
"In spite of their obvious imperfections, I know how much you care for the Voyager crew." The hands touched her shoulders and trailed down Seven’s arms until they rested on her waist, the touch of a lover. "So I’ve left them alone. Imagine how you’d feel if I were forced to assimilate them."
"Voyager is no threat to the Collective. We simply want to return to the Alpha Quadrant."
"I’ve no objection to that," the tone was quiet, intimate. "But if you try to enter my nebula again, I’ll destroy you."
The alcove suddenly shorted, sparks flying from the interface. Seven collapsed onto the dais. Just before she lost consciousness she heard the computer warning of an incomplete regeneration cycle.
She awakened in sickbay to find that the Queen had exposed her cortical node to a low level EM surge. The experience had been painful, but could have been much worse. Commodore Hansen and Captain Janeway had both rushed to sickbay when they discovered what happened and were on hand when Seven explained about her visit from the Queen.
A brief argument ensued when Captain Janeway almost reversed course on the spot. Commodore Hansen managed to convince her not give up so easily and eventually the captain capitulated but she wasn’t happy about it. Once Janeway had gone, Seven had been cleared to leave sickbay. Commodore Hansen followed her and Seven wondered nervously what the woman had to say that she hadn’t been able to say in front of the captain.
"Seven, I need you to make sure Captain Janeway doesn’t change her mind. Voyager must enter that nebula or you will not get home for another sixteen years."
"So you have said. However, I will not try to convince the captain to do something she doesn’t feel is right."
Hansen frowned and finally came to a stop; intent on revealing something Seven was convinced she didn’t want to hear.
"Captain Janeway is going to die."
"What?" Seven actually stumbled and put a hand against the bulkhead to regain her footing.
"Sixteen years from now she will get Voyager home but will have to face the Borg Queen to do it. The Borg will be on the verge of invading the alpha quadrant and Captain Janeway will allow herself to be assimilated in order to introduce a neurolytic pathogen to the Collective. The virus will be only partially effective. She will die in your arms moments after you beam her back to the ship, but not before she tells you the truth."
"That she is in love with you."
Seven felt lightheaded. The doctor had indicated she could only find a mate among the male members of the crew; it was why she had designed the Chakotay hologram. The fact that Janeway might love her was astonishing and the thought of it delighted her. Still, there were other details Commodore Hansen had failed to take into account.
"Her own death will not be enough to convince the captain. She would willingly sacrifice herself to get her crew home."
"But there is no need," Hansen argued. "If Voyager makes it through the transwarp hub now the alpha quadrant will have twenty-six years to prepare for Borg incursion and she will not have to die."
"Twenty-six years? You said the Borg will be on the verge of invading the alpha quadrant in sixteen."
Hansen lowered her head and admitted, "Captain Janeway’s sacrifice will interrupt the Collective’s neural links. It will also implode the exit aperture in the Alpha Quadrant so that they will have to find another route. And trust me they will." Hansen looked up and met her gaze squarely. "In twenty-six years the Borg will be prepared to conquer the Federation and the Alpha Quadrant."
"Conquer? You mean assimilate."
"Yes. I am the Fleet Commander for Starfleet’s Borg Defense Armada. The technology I brought was developed to help defeat them, but it hasn’t been enough. I need you to convince her to go through with this, not just for Voyager but for the entire Federation."
Seven was quiet, thinking of all the ramifications of what she was being told. She still wasn’t convinced Hansen was telling her the complete truth, but couldn’t understand why she would lie.
"Then there’s Commander Tuvok."
"What about him?"
"He has a neurological condition he hasn’t told anyone but the doctor about. There’s a cure in the Alpha Quadrant, but unless he gets there soon it won’t matter."
Seven knew how close the captain and Tuvok were. It would devastate Janeway if something happened to her oldest friend, especially if she did nothing to help him. Seven was also worried. She considered Tuvok family.
"I’ll speak to the captain, but I make you no promises."
"That is all I ask. I know she’ll listen to you."
Seven didn’t like knowing she was being manipulated, but there was nothing else she could do. "I must first return to Astrometrics. I will speak with Captain Janeway after I am ready to update her on our status."
Commodore Hansen nodded and walked away.
Returning to the Astrometrics lab, Seven ran scans of the region and was relieved to see no traces of Borg activity. Whatever they were doing seemed strictly confined to the nebula. She was about to leave to speak with the captain when the doors to Astrometrics opened and Chakotay entered.
"I heard about what happened. Are you all right?"
Seven was taken aback. It was rare that the first officer inquired as to her health and she didn’t understand why he was smiling at her in such a manner.
"Because if you need time to rest I am in charge of the duty roster."
"It would be inappropriate to allow a minor incident to affect your staff decisions."
Chakotay paused, but he didn’t stop grinning at her. "You’re right. Well, I just wanted to check on you."
"Your concern is noted, Commander, however I must report to the captain."
"Very well." He looked like he wanted to say something else, but finally just turned and left.
As she traveled to the bridge, Seven considered that Commander Chakotay had been acting out of character for the last several days. She knew he had never wanted her on board and frequently recommended that the captain put her off the ship. She couldn’t fathom the reason for his sudden lack of animosity.
Captain Janeway invited Seven to enter as soon as she pressed the chime to the ready room. Still lost in thought about the first officer and what Commodore Hansen had told her, the former drone wasn’t paying close attention to her surroundings. Suddenly she noticed that Captain Janeway wasn’t seated behind her desk but was standing a few feet away. Seven realized she must have been pacing. She looked directly into the captain’s eyes and Commodore Hansen’s words rushed through her head.
"…she is in love with you."
She looked into Captain Janeway’s eyes and saw the truth reflected back at her. How could she have missed it before? Walking slowly to give the captain time to retreat if she needed to, Seven stepped well within her personal space. She could feel the heat emanating from the small form, smell her delicate scent and hear her heart begin to pound.
"Seven," Kathryn gasped, "What are you…?"
Seven didn’t let her to finish. Gathering her courage, she leaned down and pressed her lips to the captain’s. Janeway froze and Seven wondered if her analysis had been incorrect. Then Kathryn’s body relaxed and strong hands came up to cup the back of her head. Seven deepened the kiss eagerly and almost melted when Janeway’s tongue reached out to stroke her own. A few moments later, she pulled away and looked into blue-gray eyes.
"What about Chakotay?" Janeway asked in a shaky voice.
"Chakotay? I thought you understood it was only a hologram. I deleted the program shortly after you and I discussed the matter."
"He told me you were having lunch today in the holodeck. In fact he’s mentioned that the two of you have had several dates."
"Captain, that is not true. I admit I created the hologram, but only because the doctor led me to believe I could choose only among the male members of the crew. I realized quickly that I do not harbor those kinds of feelings for the commander."
Seven’s look of confusion got through to her and Kathryn began to understand. "Darling, first of all, I think you should call me Kathryn when we’re alone like this and second…" A look of determination came over her features. "We need to get to the bottom of this. I have no idea why Chakotay would lead me to believe you were involved, but I intend to find out."
"How would you propose to begin?"
"The holodeck. Let’s find out what he’s really been doing in there."
"Captain…Kathryn. I too would like to know why Commander Chakotay has been acting so strangely of late, but isn’t the current situation with the Borg more pressing?"
"Definitely, but it’ll be several hours before we get back to the nebula and if he’s doing something inappropriate regarding a fellow crewmember we need to know. Are you coming with me?"
Kathryn stepped back and held a hand out. Seven gladly took it, but Janeway let go as soon as they reached the exit. She didn’t mind. It was enough that Kathryn had returned her kiss. All the way to the holodeck they kept exchanging warm looks. Seven discovered for the first time how it felt to truly care for someone and have that emotion returned.
The holodeck was empty and Janeway went directly to the computer interface. They discovered that the commander had been in the holodeck for lunch, but there was a more recent entry. Out of curiosity the captain ordered the computer to play back the most recent images.
Both were surprised when the Astrometrics lab appeared, complete with Seven of Nine working her console. Then the doors opened and Commander Chakotay appeared. He had a huge smile on his face that reminded Seven of the previous incident where he had come to inquire about her health.
"I heard about what happened. Are you all right?"
This scene had in fact occurred, but Seven had not smiled at the commander as she did in this scenario. In fact, her holographic self looked extremely pleased to see him. "I’m fine." Her voice was soft and intimate.
"If you need to rest I am in charge of the duty assignments." Chakotay held out a padd and waggled it playfully.
"It would be inappropriate to allow a minor incident to affect your staff decisions."
"You’re right." Chakotay reached out and put an arm around her waist, before looking to the Astrometrics display. "Report."
"Okay," Captain Janeway said. "That’s enough of that. Computer end simulation. Play previous recording, time index twelve hundred hours."
"Computer, halt playback. Kathryn,please. I cannot watch anymore. This incident did occur, but not as it has been represented here."
Janeway hesitated only a moment. "I believe you. But why would he do this? It doesn’t make any sense. For days he’s been implying that you were getting serious about each other and it was all what? Some sort of fantasy?"
"I believe there is a way to find out."
"What do you mean?"
"I believe Commodore Hansen would be able to shed light on this situation."
Captain Janeway balked at the idea and suppressed her initial reaction. Chakotay’s behavior had nothing to do with facing the Borg and if he was using a member of the crew to fulfill his puerile fantasies then she had to take action.
She tapped her combadge. "Captain Janeway to Commodore Hansen."
"Commodore, would you be so kind as to join myself and Seven of Nine in holodeck one?"
There was a momentary pause and Kathryn just knew the other woman had guessed exactly what this was about.
"I will be there momentarily."
Kathryn terminated the link and noticed how embarrassed Seven looked. The young woman’s face was flushed and she wouldn’t meet Janeway’s eyes. "Seven, I can’t imagine what possible justification Chakotay could have had for doing this, but we will get to the bottom of it. None of this is your fault."
"I am very angry."
"And you have every right to be. But no matter what, we’ll get through this."
"Captain, I was wondering."
"Kathryn, remember? What is it?"
"When I kissed you, I did not expect you to so easily…."
"Give in? You expected me to run away?"
Kathryn grinned and took Seven’s hand. "As I said, Chakotay has been telling me of your involvement for days. Quite frankly it’s left me feeling miserable, jealous. I’ve been so unhappy that Chakotay had the nerve to make a play for you and I never did."
She stepped closer and cupped Seven’s face between her hands. "When you kissed me, I was surprised. But it only took a second for me to realize it was my chance to tell you how I truly feel."
"How do you feel, Kathryn?"
The soft look in Seven’s eyes made Janeway ask, "Why do I think the commodore has already told you?"
"I would rather hear it from you."
Long arms slipped around her waist, pulling Kathryn against Seven’s chest. The feeling was more than she could ever have dreamed and Kathryn felt like her heart would burst in happiness.
"Seven, I lo…."
The doors to the holodeck opened and Commodore Hansen walked in. One look was enough for her brow to rise significantly. "I see you acted on the information I gave you. Good."
Janeway pulled away and frowned at the older woman. "Something tells me I’m going to be hearing more from you than I want. For starters, can you explain why Chakotay is using holograms of Seven playing housewife?"
It was Commodore Hansen’s turn to frown and she looked extremely angry. For a moment the captain was tempted to think she didn’t know anything about it. "He began his research now?"
"Research?" Seven’s voice indicated outrage at the use of the word.
"From your point of reference I did not discover his duplicity until three months from now. It never occurred to me that he had been engaging in these activities for so long."
"But why is he doing it?" Janeway asked.
Hansen walked around the console until she could place her hands atop the interface, facing the other two women.
"I cannot answer your question without mentioning details of the future. The events are too intricately woven."
"Fine," the captain stated. "The hell with the Temporal Prime Directive. I want to know why one of my senior officers is using a holographic member of my crew as a sexual surrogate."
Hansen flinched and Janeway wondered what she had said. "Chakotay was trying to gauge how best to influence Seven, how to coerce her into engaging in a physical relationship."
"You still haven’t explained why."
"He deduced how you felt about her and he wanted to make sure you never had the opportunity to tell Seven."
"Why would he do such a thing?" Seven wanted to know.
"I will begin from the beginning. Hopefully I will answer all of your questions."
"Approximately one month from now Voyager will be in a quiet sector of space. Commander Chakotay will begin to woo you, but it will not be out of love. He has become bitter after being so long in the delta quadrant and blames Kathryn for not trying to use the transwarp hub. He will attempt to take Seven from you, but only so you will not have her. I didn’t know that and began dating him, but it lasted only a few months."
"I can’t believe he would do such a thing," Janeway interrupted.
"Even if the evidence is right in front of you?" Hansen indicated the holodeck.
"Please, Commodore. Continue," Seven requested.
"A few months after that I discovered his activities, but it quickly became meaningless."
"Meaningless," Janeway asked, astonished. "How could any of this become meaningless?"
"There was an accident. Icheb and I were working on One’s advanced Borg systems, trying to adapt his shield technology for use on Voyager. A random power surge rendered me unconscious and when I awakened I had been partially re-assimilated."
Kathryn flinched in sympathy, but said nothing.
"Icheb?" Seven asked.
"He was unharmed. He no longer had a cortical node for the nanoprobes to target."
She lifted the left sleeve of her uniform and showed them the changes that had been made to her Borg implant. It was much thicker than Seven’s and boasted multi-colored blinking lights.
"One’s personal transporter," Seven said quietly.
"Yes. I acquired his transport capabilities as well as the personal shield emitter. Not twenty-four hours had passed before I also learned of Chakotay’s holodeck activities. I discontinued our affiliation and informed Captain Janeway."
"Why do I get the feeling I didn’t react very well?" Kathryn could see the hurt in the commodore’s eyes and kept her voice gentle.
"You told me that anyone who utilized another member of the crew as a sexual surrogate was utterly despicable and would be dealt with in the harshest terms."
Janeway closed her eyes, feeling her heart clench. "You thought I was speaking about you too, because of the Chakotay hologram."
Hansen nodded, but forced herself to continue. "It was only later as you lay dying that I knew you did not mean it."
"Seven will explain it to you." Hansen smiled gently. "After the accident I could pretend that I had lost my emotional connection to members of the crew and shut myself off. For the next sixteen years no one asked me to be their friend. You and I stopped speaking and I was truly alone."
"I’m so sorry," Kathryn said. "I would never have wanted you to be cast adrift like that."
"I know. It is part of the reason I returned. If my actions save your life and prevent you both from experiencing the pain I have known, it was worth it. I believe that will have answered all of your questions. If you want to know the rest; how you died and the reason it’s so important for you to use the transwarp hub, Seven can tell you."
"I wouldn’t listen so you told her everything?"
Janeway was angry, but Hansen smiled in the annoying way she had. "It seemed…efficient. I will leave you two to talk."
Neither of them knew what to say after the commodore left and finally Kathryn felt compelled to reassure her companion. "It’s all changed now, Seven. You don’t have to worry about Chakotay anymore. I’ll take care of him as soon as all this is over."
"No, Kathryn. I will deal with the commander in my own way."
"All right, but we apparently still have a lot to talk about."
"Yes, but do you mind if we converse elsewhere?"
Kathryn looked around the cold lines of the holodeck and at the Chakotay hologram still standing in the same spot. "Computer, end simulation. No, I don’t mind at all. My quarters?"
Seven followed Kathryn to her quarters. Both were quiet, feeling the weight of unspoken words. Kathryn was nervous. She knew there were more important things to focus on, but her love life seemed to be crazily mixed into the equation.
Seven was confident. The future confrontation with the Borg was inevitable. They would either prevail or they would die. She believed they would succeed. Her concerns at the moment had to do with Kathryn Janeway. Seven had never thought Kathryn could return her love and had been willing to settle for a lesser choice. Chakotay would have taken advantage of that. Things had not turned out as he anticipated and suddenly Seven found her relationship with Kathryn had become romantic. She felt her mouth go dry as she followed the captain into her quarters.
"Would you like something to drink?" Suddenly the incomparable, larger than life Captain Janeway seemed unsure.
Seven felt warmth and tenderness rise up strong inside. She stepped forward and slipped her arms around Kathryn’s waist, pulling her close. Kathryn’s hands cupped the back of her neck as the captain leaned into the embrace.
"I am not thirsty." Seven kissed her forehead. "I want only to hold you."
"That sounds wonderful."
For precious moments they held each other, content just to be together. Eventually, though, Kathryn pulled away.
"I would love to continue this but we have a lot to talk about. Then I still have to speak with Commodore Hansen and see if this affects our plans for dealing with the Borg tomorrow."
"Perhaps later we can pick up where we left off?"
Kathryn smiled at the gentle flirting. "Count on it."
Janeway retrieved a cup of coffee before settling on the sofa and inviting Seven to join her. The younger woman sat close and took Kathryn’s free hand. The captain looked down at their intertwined fingers.
"I still can’t believe we’re here together, like this. It seems like a dream."
"A good dream, I hope."
Seven leaned down and kissed Kathryn gently. Then she pulled away, ready to give the captain information she needed but didn’t necessarily want to hear.
"I assume you’re going to tell me everything, regardless of the Temporal Prime Directive?"
"It is necessary."
Kathryn sipped her coffee, a delaying tactic. "I figured you’d say that. You’d best get on with it then."
Seven took a moment to organize her thoughts before she began. Then she told Kathryn everything she had learned; from the initial encounter in the delta quadrant, Janeway’s death from using the neurolytic pathogen and Voyager’s triumphant return home. She explained how, in Commodore Hansen’s time, the Borg had returned. The transwarp hub had not been destroyed and the alpha quadrant was fighting a losing battle.
Throughout the entire narrative Kathryn sat quietly sipping from her mug, listening and weighing options. Eventually Seven finished and sat waiting.
"So we really don’t have a choice. That hub has to be destroyed."
"That would seem to be the logical conclusion."
Kathryn returned her empty mug to the replicator. She obviously had a lot to think about and it was several minutes before she turned around.
"I had planned to deploy the neurolytic pathogen. She was right about that."
Seven knew how much the captain hated having her options dictated. "I do not believe it would be effective."
Janeway snickered and relaxed a little. "No, I don’t suppose it would. Well, I guess I’d better see the commodore. Maybe she’ll have a better idea."
"I should return to Astrometrics and run continuous scans for the Borg." She closed the distance between them, touched when Janeway rested her hands on Seven’s chest.
"It’ll probably be late when we finish, but I wonder if you’d have dinner with me."
"In the mess hall?"
"No," Kathryn smiled at the gentle teasing. "I’d rather keep you to myself, if that’s all right?"
"That is very ‘all right’."
"Good. Now kiss me before I leave."
Dinner in Kathryn Janeway’s quarters was a quiet affair. Neither of the women was hungry and after only a few bites Seven stood and held her hand out to her soon-to-be-lover.
"Please, Kathryn. I do not believe food to be the sustenance we currently require."
Kathryn was unable to resist. Quietly she pushed away from the table and stood to take Seven’s hand. All she had ever wanted was to be here with Seven and now that it was happening, it felt surreal. Regardless of the dream-like quality, tomorrow they would be facing the Borg. If they were meant to die, she wanted one night with the woman she loved. She wanted the chance not just to tell Seven how she felt; she wanted to show her in ways that words never could.
Janeway slid into Seven’s embrace, closing her eyes as she felt long arms gently encircle her shoulders. For long moments they just stood there. Kathryn could hear Seven’s heart pounding and her own beating in tandem. She leaned away just enough to look up and was immobilized by the look of sharp desire on the younger woman’s face. She wondered how she could have missed the love that was so obvious; that she could ever have thought Seven wanted Chakotay.
Seven’s lips parted and her tongue darted out to moisten her lips. Kathryn looked into Seven’s eyes to see them heavy-lidded with desire. She cupped her face gently and pulled her close. Kathryn met her halfway and her eyes slid closed at the feel of their lips pressed together. The kiss didn’t last long, only brief seconds before Janeway leaned back slightly. Seven was panting through parted lips as she looked down at Kathryn, but she hesitated only a moment before she pulled Janeway back into her arms and kissed her again. This time the kiss was just as gentle, but more exploratory. It went on until the need to breathe forced them apart.
All of this had been building for so long in Kathryn’s heart that the outcome seemed inevitable. Wordlessly, she stepped back and took Seven’s hand. Janeway led her into the bedroom, until they were just at the edge of the mattress. Clothing was quickly discarded, interspersed with soft touches and murmurs of appreciation. Kathryn urged Seven to recline on the soft sheets and then lay next to her, the feel of warm flesh causing her to gasp aloud.
Seven, caught up in the new sensations, held Kathryn to her and rolled over until the smaller woman lay beneath her.
Desire tugged at Kathryn insistently when she felt Seven’s full breasts press down on her. She felt so warm and loved and completely in love. She reached for her beloved and this time it was not a dream as it had been so many times before. This time the lips kissing her had substance, texture. The breath was sweet and fire coursed through her as she hugged Seven with her entire body. Her arms slid around Seven’s neck and one hand went up to unclasp the golden mane. Blonde hair fell around them like a curtain and Kathryn entwined her legs with Seven’s.
Seven gasped and rose up as her leg pressed against Kathryn’s center. Kathryn’s hands roamed her back, stroking softly from shoulders to hips as she molded herself against her partner. Emboldened by Janeway’s caresses Seven slid a hand over a soft breast. Janeway arched up into the contact and moaned.
"Feels so good."
Seven began to swirl her fingertips over the hard bump that formed. Kathryn’s arms tightened as she tried to catch her breath, but Seven wasn’t content to stop there. She touched the hardened nipple that pebbled even as she watched.
Kathryn grasped both sides of her face and pulled Seven toward her. Seven heard Kathryn’s breath grow heavier as she leaned in close and nuzzled behind her ear. The hoarse whisper of "Use your mouth," caused Seven’s stomach to clench.
Nipples hardened in response to the naked need in Kathryn’s voice. Moving in answer to her lover’s plea she dipped her head and took one the soft flesh into her mouth.
Kathryn was moaning constantly and her head rolled back and forth against the pillows while Seven suckled at her breast. She used her Borg enhanced hand to gently tweak the other nipple until Kathryn’s cries began to drive her to distraction. Just when she thought she would explode from desire she felt Kathryn grab her human hand and guide it down between her legs.
"I can’t… take anymore. Please darling, I need you. Touch me, Seven, please!"
Seven pressed her fingers down into auburn curls and whimpered at the sensation of heat and moisture. Kathryn’s hips began to move as she transferred the moisture up to swirl over the hardened knot of flesh at the top of her crease.
"Oh God, you feel so good!"
Kathryn’s hips began to move faster and Seven responded by quickening her movements. She dipped her head again to take a turgid nipple into her mouth, flicking it with her tongue. Kathryn’s arms tightened around her shoulders and her movements became more insistent. Seven moved her fingers faster, increasing her pace until Kathryn was crying out and shuddering convulsively. When it was finally over she fell back against the pillows, sated and boneless.
Seven was overwhelmed by the sensations coursing through her. In addition to the raging desire her heart felt ready to burst from her love for Kathryn. There seemed only one way to relieve the intense emotions and Seven couldn’t refrain from saying, "I love you, Kathryn."
"Oh Seven." Kathryn’s voice was full of tears as she looked up at the beautiful young woman. "I’ve loved you from the first day, even aboard that Borg cube."
The burning sensations in Seven’s body made her press against Kathryn’s thigh. "I need you to touch me, Kathryn."
Kathryn kissed her and turned over until Seven lay beneath her. Seven felt her pulse race out of control. Then Kathryn moved away from her mouth and began to kiss and nip her way down Seven’s body. When she reached the full breasts she took a soft pink tip into her mouth and began to suck gently. Seven suddenly understood the other woman’s previous reaction as she arched into the heat and wetness of Kathryn’s mouth.
The hand that was resting on her stomach began to move in a circular motion and eased toward the juncture of her legs. Seven instinctively parted them and cried out again as she felt strong fingers start to lovingly explore the sensitive, warm and very wet region. Her chest heaved as she struggled to draw air and then Kathryn released her breast and began to nuzzle down over her stomach until she was between Seven’s legs. She positioned herself between them and leaned forward to lightly run her tongue along the wet crease.
Seven reached down to touch Kathryn’s hair and the oral caresses became stronger. She felt her lover concentrate on the small bundle of nerves at the apex of her sex, drawing it into her mouth and sucking tenderly on the sensitive nodule. Seven’s hips moved instinctively, rocking against the pressure of Kathryn’s lips and tongue as she felt the pressure inside her start to build. Strong yet slender arms pinned her hips in place as Kathryn concentrated on Seven’s pleasure. A low, keening cry escaped her as she flew over the edge into her first orgasm. Kathryn continued until Seven’s body was stretched upward in a tight bow. She came a second time and her strangled cry ended in a passionate sob.
The sensations finally crested and Seven fell back against the mattress, limp and exhausted. Kathryn wiped her mouth surreptitiously on the sheets and climbed up Seven’s body until she was lying on top of her. She planted a gentle kiss on Seven’s temple.
Seven smiled and encircled Kathryn’s shoulders as she drew up the covers and snuggled tightly against her. In seconds both of them were fast asleep in each other’s arms.
"So that, ladies and gentlemen, is it in a nutshell. Commodore Hansen will utilize the SC-4 shuttle. As soon as the Borg take the bait, which we know they will, Voyager will enter the nebula."
"You’re just going to be bait," Tom Paris asked the commodore. "Isn’t that a little dangerous? Voyager won’t be able to come to your rescue if you get in trouble."
Janeway and Seven’s future self exchanged a look before Hansen answered.
"I will not be returning."
"We can’t just let you die," Harry pointed out.
Captain Janeway was looking around the table at her people, measuring their resolve. It was good to see that even in the face of this daunting task they were concerned about Hansen’s well-being. Most of them, anyway. Chakotay was too busy trying to catch Seven’s eye. He kept shooting overly friendly looks in her direction. One night of lovemaking left Kathryn feeling more than a little territorial and she was surprised by her emotional response. Venom burned inside her each time Chakotay looked at her young love, but Seven merely ignored him.
"It must be this way. Someone has to deliver the neurolytic pathogen and I am the obvious choice."
Seven didn’t look very happy about that idea. "I understood the pathogen to be ineffective."
"I have had twenty-six years to perfect it."
Hansen and Seven locked eyes and for a moment Kathryn wondered if they were about to tangle. She was tempted to let it play out, but finally decided to step in.
"Unless you two are preparing to arm wrestle, I think that’s enough. Commodore Hansen and I both agree this is the way we’ll play it.
Even if the virus works we have to anticipate the unexpected. Commander Chakotay! Please pay attention."
His face flushed under the sudden scrutiny, but he redirected his focus to the briefing.
"We’ll need a contingency plan if a vessel comes after us."
An hour later they finished up. Kathryn was satisfied that all bases had been covered and they were prepared for every possible scenario.
"Please report directly to emergency stations. We’ll be entering the nebula in two hours and I don’t want the Borg to crash our party."
Everyone looked at her expectantly and Janeway wasn’t prepared to disappoint.
"See you all in the alpha quadrant. Dismissed."
The senior staff stood and began to file out of the ready room. All looked a little dazed and the captain couldn’t help but worry that she was sending them to their deaths. Commander Chakotay fell in behind Seven, but it wasn’t until they were nearly to the door that Kathryn noticed anything out of the ordinary.
Seven suddenly turned and confronted the first officer. "Commander Chakotay, I must inform you that I have erased your hologram of me. I find your actions inexcusable and for the record, I will never be interested in a relationship with you."
B’Elanna Torres reacted to the unexpected information with a hearty Klingon laugh. Tom, equally amused, had to pull her out of the conference room before things got out of hand. The others filed out with a variety of reactions, from humor to downright shock.
Commander Chakotay was furious. He shot a look of pure hatred toward the former drone and another malevolent look at the captain before he stalked out. The doors swished closed behind him, leaving Seven and Janeway alone.
Kathryn pinched the bridge of her nose in an effort to stave off her headache.
"Did you have to do it that way?"
Seven considered the question for all of a nanosecond. "Yes."
"Why? From what Commodore Hansen said he’s already holding on by a thread."
"To his anger," Seven pointed out. "He was still apparently capable of controlling himself for the next sixteen years, also according to the commodore."
"That was before you embarrassed him in front of the entire senior staff." Kathryn was surprised that Seven didn’t realize how much more of a problem the first officer would be if their plan failed. She didn’t want to deal with him another sixteen years not knowing what he would do to get even.
"Irrelevant. By the end of the alpha shift we will be in the alpha quadrant and he will no longer be our concern."
"You seem pretty sure of that."
A slow smile began to creep across Kathryn’s face. "One thing’s for sure, life with you will never be boring."
"Does that mean you intend to make a lifetime commitment to this relationship?" Seven asked playfully.
Janeway rested her hands on Seven’s waist and stood on her toes until she was very close. "I was kind of hoping for that, since I’m crazy in love with you."
Seven leaned forward the few inches it required to kiss Kathryn. The taste, the warmth, the sheer heat that flashed through her veins convinced Seven that she wanted nothing the same. She ended the kiss and whispered across Kathryn’s lips, "I have always loved you. There has never been another."
The shy, slightly embarrassed smile meant more to Seven than she could ever have said. "Really?"
"Kathryn," Seven was suddenly serious, "never doubt my love for you."
"All right, I won’t. Now, crewman, report to your station."
"Aye, Captain." Seven’s eyes shone with the happiness caused by Kathryn’s playfulness.
Seven walked away, hiding her smile when she heard the captain mumble, "I’ll deal with Commander Chakotay, somehow."
After Seven left Janeway hesitated a fraction of a second before she called Commander Chakotay into her ready room. Seven may have felt that embarrassing him in front of the senior staff would be enough to curtail this behavior but the captain was of a different mind-set. When she finished with him, he would never even think of using a crewmember for such a purpose again.
(2 Hours Later)
"That’s the signal, Captain." Harry Kim was clearly nervous and Seven wondered that he didn’t perspire all over his console.
"Take us in, Mister Paris."
They entered the purple and blue swirls of the nebula. From the aft science station, Seven thought Captain Janeway looked relaxed and composed. She was the picture of command.
"Deploy armor," the captain said as Voyager entered the gaseous expanse.
The sound of the ablative armor deploying over the hull was clear and the bridge crew seemed more at ease. Twenty minutes into the nebula Voyager began taking fire from a Borg cube and two spheres.
"Armor holding at ninety percent."
The transwarp hub came into view on long range sensors and Kathryn fervently hoped Commodore Hansen was successful.
The Borg had no idea she was there. Annika’s shuttle was cloaked and she sat right under their noses, less than twenty-thousand kilometers off their bow. She was terrified and took a deep breath to steady herself. This was the only thing they could do but that didn’t mean she wanted to die.
"Remain focused," she said aloud. "My death is unimportant. Kathryn will live. Voyager will return home and the alpha quadrant will be safe."
Besides, she thought, Seven and the captain would be together. She would remember that life and none of what had gone before would matter. When she was ready, Annika pulled back her left sleeve and transported directly into the Queen’s chambers.
The Queen started, visibly surprised. "What are you doing here?"
"Do I need a reason to visit a friend?" Annika consciously mimicked the words the Queen had used with Seven of Nine.
"What do you want?" the Queen asked, calm now and curious what the former drone wanted.
"Captain Janeway thinks I’m here to help destroy your transwarp network."
"That is beyond your ability."
The commodore paced a few steps away and then turned around. "I know that and I attempted to explain this to her, but she wouldn’t listen. She is determined to bring down the hub."
"Yes, but she has weapons that I brought from the future. I believe you’re familiar with them."
"Transphasic torpedoes," the Borg spat in disgust. "We will adapt."
"Eventually, but not before Voyager does a great deal of damage. I am willing to tell you how to adapt those weapons now."
"In exchange… for what?"
"Send a cube to tractor Voyager and drag them back to the Alpha Quadrant." For a split second, Hansen hoped the cybernetic being would do as she asked. She wouldn’t have to use the virus and maybe there would be a way to escape. Living out her life in the delta quadrant was better than dying.
"You wish me to believe you would so willingly betray your crew?"
Clearly she wasn’t buying it and Annika would have to try harder. "Not betray. I wish to save them. I want nothing more than to see they get back to their families safely."
"You wish to insure the well-being of your collective. I can appreciate that. I’ll help you, but it will cost more than you’re offering."
"What do you want?"
"You." Annika hadn’t been prepared for that request and felt a shudder of revulsion. "I wish for you to return to me willingly, as my consort."
Commodore Hansen forced a smile she didn’t feel. "I knew when I set out that I would not return to Earth. Although I wish Voyager a safe return, all I have every truly desired is to be with you again."
The Borg Queen reached out to caress her cheek. "Welcome home, my love."
The piercing pain of the assimilation tubules was almost unexpected. Annika gasped and stumbled against a pillar. The virus had been successfully distributed to the Collective and her vital signs simultaneously transmitted to Voyager. Now all she had to do was buy some time.
Overhead she heard the generic voice of the Borg Collective. "Voyager has entered aperture 823, access transwarp corridor zero nine."
The Queen paced away, smiling as new implants erupted over Annika’s flesh.
"Redirect vessels to intercept at sub-juncture…" There was a short as the link was interrupted. Annika smiled. She had known the queen would renege on their agreement, but it didn’t matter now. They were infected and the pathogen was working.
"Must have been something you assimilated."
The constant Borg bombardment was beginning to have an effect but they were nearing their goal.
"Port armor integrity down to fifty percent…forty percent."
Janeway waited another few seconds. "Mister Paris…attack pattern alpha one. Target the lead cube and fire transphasic torpedoes."
The weapons proved more than effective. Two cubes exploded, throwing debris for half a light year. The other Borg vessels promptly retreated, leaving the path to the network open.
"Aft armor is down to six percent," Tuvok reported.
Harry followed up quickly. "Hull breaches on decks six through twelve."
Captain Janeway didn’t respond. Directly ahead was the transwarp corridor they had chosen and she watched as Paris expertly steered them into the chute.
"Borg vessel directly aft, distance closing. Ten thousand kilometers, five thousand…"
"Steady as she goes, Tom."
The tension seemed to finally get to the first officer and he stood, walking around to the aft science station. For the moment he appeared to have forgotten his difficulties with Seven. "Where’s the nearest aperture?"
"Approximately thirty seconds ahead, but it leads back to the delta quadrant."
Conduits exploded behind and Kathryn barely heard her tactical officer over the shorting systems. "Aft armor is failing."
"Mister Paris, prepare to adjust your heading," the captain said quietly.
The sphere opened behind them, preparing to draw them inside for the assimilation process. Paris slowed Voyager until they were inside the vessel. It was all part of their plan since the shielding on the Borg sphere would protect them from any gravimetric forces inside the corridor.
For several tense moments they rode the rapids inside the sphere until Janeway asked, "Mister Paris, what’s our position?"
"Right where we expected to be."
"Captain," Seven said, "the transwarp network has been obliterated."
"We’ll celebrate later. Mister Tuvok?"
The Vulcan was waiting for the command and instantly fired a single transphasic torpedo directly into the Borg sphere. As expected, the vessel was no match for the advanced weaponry and exploded in a fireball. Voyager flew out of the debris and came to a halt with a Starfleet armada surrounding them.
Silence reigned on the bridge as the crew looked around in disbelief. Chief among them was Captain Janeway.
"We did it."
"W…we’re being hailed," Harry stuttered.
Kathryn swallowed and stepped forward, directly in front of the main viewer. "On screen."
The forward viewer flared to life, showing the equally surprised faces of Admiral Owen Paris and Lieutenant Reginald Barclay. Janeway was thrilled to see her former mentor and friend and struggled to keep the emotion out of her voice.
"Sorry to surprise you. Next time we’ll call ahead."
"Welcome back," Admiral Paris said, smiling as he looked at the faces before him on Voyager’s bridge.
"It’s good to be here."
"How did you…?"
Janeway cut him off, unprepared for an extended discussion in the face of the rushing emotions. "It’ll all be in my report, sir."
Paris nodded in understanding. "I look forward to it."
The screen went dark and all that was left was the final leg of the journey. Janeway started to walk to her command chair when a hail came over the bridge’s communications system.
"Doctor to Lieutenant Paris." The distinct sounds of a baby cooing came over the con and Kathryn felt a smile tugging at her lips.
"There’s someone here who’d like to say hello."
Tom looked even more shocked than when they’d suddenly emerged into the alpha quadrant. For a second Kathryn wondered if he knew what to do.
"You’d better get down there, Tom."
Captain Janeway looked at her first officer doing a quick evaluation. Although he’d crashed every shuttle he had ever flown, surely he could get them down to San Francisco in one piece. "Mister Chakotay, the helm."
He stepped toward the navigation controls while Kathryn held a hand out to Seven. Normally she wouldn’t be open to public displays of affection, but if there was ever the time for it that time was now. Soon she wouldn’t be Seven’s captain and she didn’t care if everyone knew how she felt about the former drone.
Seven took her hand and Janeway maintained the hold as she sat in her command chair. Facing forward with her beloved next to her, she looked out the forward viewer into whatever their future would hold.
"Set a course…for home."