Big buckets of Thanks to Beach for not killing me and Monk for having the softest red pen in town.

This piece was written in response to the Backdoor Challenge in the J7Faction. The original challenge was quite benign… but then SOMEBODY just had to tempt me…

And Glo? The only thing missing is a diner in Arkansas…

 

THE DREAMS STUFF IS MADE OF

“This could take forever.”

Harry Kim suppressed an eye roll and managed to keep his aggravation to a sigh.

“Tom, I’m doing the best I can,” he apologized.

They had been at it for hours, neither willing to throw in the towel with the annual Halloween party only two days away. They continued their pecking and tapping at the holodeck mainframe controls.

“If we can’t get this fixed-“Tom started again.

“I know! Okay? I know!” Harry was beyond tired, having worked through his day off to try and get the deck back up and running in time. Having Tom breathing down his neck wasn’t helping his concentration at all.

“I’m sorry, Harry. I know you’re doing the best you can. I just can’t believe we finally get the chance to set this up and the damned matrix gets fried. Do you have any idea how long I’ve been researching this? Finding the perfect characters, the perfect match…?”

Harry finally reached the end of his patience. Slamming down his spanner he shot back, “Look. I know exactly how long it took, okay? I was there, REMEMBER? And what’s this ‘we’ business? Don’t you mean ‘you’? This was your idea.”

“Hold on there, buddy. You’re in this just as deep. It wasn’t me who accessed the logs to begin with.”

“Oh no, you’re not pinning this on me. I was only in the core because you were stumbling around in there like a targ in a china shop. If I had left you alone you’d have had the replicators spouting poetry and turbolifts making tea. No way. Together, Tom, we are in this together.”

Their plan, which Harry had dubbed The Career Killer- Part I, had sprung to life shortly after the two had spent a long, frustrating day at the Central Core accessing Voyager’s main computer systems. Their task started out simple enough; access the Core, replicate the Starfleet Navigation Protocol matrix for installation into the Delta Flyer, then dump the whole thing into the flyer’s mainframe. Simple. Right up until personal logs started cropping up where they shouldn’t be. They were well into their thirteenth hour of reloading the mainframe from the backup when the ‘hiccup’ occurred. Harry had been scrolling through mind numbing lines of code and monitoring the data transfer when the first few stray files had appeared. At first glance he thought it was just a subroutine. As more and more bits of data flew by embedded in system files that should be sealed, he began to fear something more ominous.

“Tom, look at this. Something’s not right.”

Paris abandoned his own data flow and moved to Harry’s workstation.

“What the hell is that? It looks like some sort of subroutine embedded in the execution files. Those aren’t supposed to be there.”

Harry looked nonplussed. “No kidding. But what are they?”

Tom tapped his communicator. “Paris to Bridge. Captain? We’ve got a situation here.”

“Janeway here. What is it Tom? “

“Captain, we’ve got some files that seem to be embedded in the exec protocols.”

Janeway was instantly on her feet. “Are they malicious?”

Harry, who had been delving deeper into the questionable files answered. “No, Captain. I don’t think so. It looks like a misalignment in an encryption code rerouted a portion of data into the updates. I don’t think it’s anything to worry about, it just means it’s going to take us a little longer than expected to sort through the protocols and get them reloaded.”

“Acknowledged. Back to work, gentlemen. And keep me advised. Bridge out.”

Tom had just turned back to his workstation when he heard Harry gasp.

“What?” he had asked. Harry never answered.

“What!” Tom demanded. Harry could only point, his eyes never leaving the screen.

Tom scanned the words as they scrolled across the screen. At some point he realized that he had completely gotten lost in what he was reading. He paused the playback, the restarted it from the beginning.

This has got to stop. It’s bad enough that I dream about her now almost every night, but openly staring at her on the bridge? God help me. And the dreams! Or should I say THE dream.

It’s hot in my cabin. Rather than adjusting the temperature I just lie there and sweat. Right through my nightclothes. Off they come but I’m still hot. The bedding ends up on the floor and I’m still hot. Magically she appears at the foot of my bed, gloriously naked, just staring at me.

“You are hot, are you not?” she asks.

“Yes,” I say. She walks to the side of the bed and kneels.

“I too am experiencing an increase in my internal body temperature. Observe.”

She reaches out to my hand, pulls it close to her face while curling all but my index finger into a fist. I am trapped in her gaze as she slides my entire finger into her mouth. I feel her tongue slip up and over and around my knuckles, then her teeth rasping against the bony joints as she pulls my hand away.

“Do you see? I am hot. Wet. And I believe you are as well.”

She places her finger on my lips, parting them, rubbing her finger across the tip my tongue. Instinctively I close my mouth around it. She pulls her finger back, dragging it down my chin, my throat, between my breasts. Down my abdomen, further…until she plunges the same finger deep into my center. I momentarily seize, more from the rush rather than surprise. She leans over me, staring.

“Yes, hot. And wet.”

The next instant she is on top of me, face-to-face, breast-to-breast, hip-to-hip, and I want her in me. Now. Hard. Fast. She knows this; I can see it in her face. She knows this, but smiles and backs away. I reach for her, but she pushes my arms aside. I strain forward, trying to take a breast to my mouth, but she turns. Her smile is one of pure lust. She kisses me, a full on, open mouth, tongue clashing, teeth grinding kiss and I feel that same smile on me. I rise, pushing her up until we are both kneeling, facing each other. In an instant I have her on her back, kissing that lustful smile right back into place. Her hands are everywhere; my back, my breasts, my thighs. I fill my mouth with a taut nipple, first one then the other, back and forth, dizzy with need for every ounce of her. Every ounce; I want it all. I turn and bury my head between her legs. She is beyond wet. She is an oasis in my desert of desire. Her moan as I sink my tongue deep draws me down, my own wet center settling over her mouth. Her groan turns to a hum that buzzes through to my core, releasing a cry from deep within me that resonates back through her. Wrapping my arms around her thighs I push deeper, even as I feel her grasping my own hips and collapsing me onto her face. I lose my ability to focus on what I am doing to her; she is equally lost. The vibrations of the muffled cries and screams only serve to drive each other to the edge.

How many more times am I going to have this dream? I have accepted that my feelings for Seven are far more than platonic. And though I cannot imagine the circumstances under which I might act, it has become obvious the more time I spend with her the more difficult it becomes to ignore those feelings.

Tom wasn’t sure how long he had stood there after reading the last sentence. He wasn’t sure how long he had been sweating. What he did know was that he was incredibly uncomfortable at the moment, and that as bad a shape as he was in Harry was much, much worse. Moving quickly to the opposite side of the workstation Tom tried to regain some semblance of composure. Harry just stood there, rooted to the spot, sweat beaded on his brow and his eyes blinking rapidly. Finally, he managed to focus on Tom.

“What...? Who…?” was all he could manage.

Tom dragged his sleeve across his own brow. “It looks like a personal log.” At the wide-eyed look from Harry he gave a nervous laugh. “Okay, it’s obviously a personal log.”

Trying to match Tom’s lopsided grin Harry pointed to the entry. “But how did it get in here? This data was received directly from the stream feed. Do you think someone back home had a personal log get mixed in with the data package?” Harry began pecking at the controls again, moving the data stream forward.

“Wait,” Tom had started to say, afraid of what they might find next. But it was too late. Harry was one again gaping at the display. Tom’s curiosity got the better of him and he leaned over to view the entry.

I believe that I would be a suitable companion to the captain. We share a strong intellect and are both efficient individuals who enjoy scientific and philosophical discussions. I find her aesthetically pleasing, and based upon observed physiological responses I believe that she finds me attractive as well. I now understand my physical and emotional reactions to her indicate I also require a physical relationship. However, my research indicates that it would be unwise to move directly from companionship to copulation as this apparently is both a social taboo and a personal choice held by few individuals of the captain’s moral caliber. Therefore I have determined that my next step is to gain her sense of trust as a confidant. This should instill a sense of trust and intimacy that will be the next logical step towards the advancement of our relationship.

Tom had been fairly sure he knew the identity of the owner of the first log- and this second entry merely confirmed his suspicions. Harry, on the other hand, looked like someone had just dropped a box of hammers on his foot.

“That’s, that’s…that’s SEVEN! That’s Seven, and the first one is—oh, man. Oh, man.” Harry would have sunk to the deck had Tom not grabbed a stool and shoved it beneath him. “Oh, man. Oh, man,” was all he could seem to say.

Tom took a seat himself, shaking his head with a smile. “Wow. I can’t believe it—well, I guess I can believe, I mean, there has always been something going on between them.”

That got Harry’s attention. “What? What do you mean? How long has been going on?”

“Whoa, you saw the same logs I did. There isn’t anything going on, yet. It looks like both of them have been thinking about pursuing it, or at least Seven has. The captain must have been considering it on some level because she’s,” pointing to the display, “well, dreaming that dream!”

“Oh, man,” Harry was back to that. “We shouldn’t be reading these. We have to tell her. We have to tell them…”

“Tell them what? ‘Hey, Captain, we know you’ve got it bad for Seven, and don’t look now but it looks like she’s gunning for you, too’? We can’t do that. Somebody would either die from embarrassment or spend the next fifty years in the brig. I say we get the logs out of the general database and back where they belong. It looks like they both used an Omega encryption code. No one else seems to use that. It probably just triggered an overlay with the data packet. Let’s get the logs back in the right files and forget we ever saw them. End of story. Besides, it doesn’t look like the captain has any intention of moving forward with this. She has been alone out here a long time. It’s probably just a dream that needs to work its way out of her system.”

Harry seemed ready to agree. “You’re probably right. But we are going to have to go through the entire packet to make sure nothing else was compromised. “

It wasn’t long before another log revealed itself.

I’ve had low points in my life, but this was beyond anything I could have ever imagined. What was so wrong with me that I would even allow my subconscious to create such a nightmare?

At first I didn’t even realize I was dreaming. I woke up and decided to take stroll through the ship. The next thing I knew I was dressed: black pants, black leather knee boots polished to a glassy shine, black tunic, rough to the touch and belt, dagger to the side. It was midway through the Gamma shift. Ship’s lighting was at one third and the passageways were empty. I made my way to Astrometrics without encountering any other member of the crew.

The doors open silently at my approach. The Lab is dark, the ambient light from the stellar projections and workstation tell tales providing most of the illumination. Seven stands in silhouette, her back to me as she manipulates the star field above.

“Captain,” she says, greeting me as usual without turning in acknowledgment. I wordlessly move to stand behind her. My silence makes her curious. “Captain?”

“Do not turn around,” I command. “Do you understand?”

“Yes, Captain,” she replies.

I jerk her backwards and against me. Her body stiffens but she does not pull away; she continues to key her controls. “You will allow me to touch you. You will not attempt to touch me in any manner other than how I direct you. You will not resist. Do you understand?” My voice is terse, my hands in firm possession of her hips.

“All right, Captain, as you wish.”

Roughly I begin to move my hands about her body. I scratch my fingers up either side of her thighs, digging my nails into the fullness of her buttocks. I raise one hand to jerk the clip that holds her hair twist in place and then rake my fingers through the unbound locks. Her head jerks as my hand snags. “You can cry out if this causes you pain,” I hiss in her ear.

“Unnecessary, Captain. I’m in no discomfort; you may continue.” The star field above us changes as she continues her work.

My fist closes around a handful of her blonde tresses and I pull her head back against my shoulders. Hungry for the taste of her I bite at her neck, sucking viciously at the steady pulse that beats just below the skin. My other hand has captured her breast and is kneading it without mercy.

“Captain? I find it difficult to view the work station from this position.”

“SILENCE!” Another jerk of her hair and her lips are at mine. I grind my mouth against hers then pull away, releasing my grip on her hair. She straightens and continues to manipulate her display.

“Thank you, Captain. This is much more efficient.”

“Oh, you’ll thank me, all right. You’ll thank me plenty,” I growl.

As Seven plots our current trajectory I release the closure on her biosuit. With one clean jerk I have it to her ankles. Pressing myself flat against her back I reach around and grab her breasts.

“Hmm, baby. That feels good, doesn’t it?” I snarl.

“It is acceptable. Captain, did you wish me to reroute our path to include the binary system Ensign Kim spoke of? It will add approximately three point four weeks to our projected journey.”

“The only place we’re going is here,” My left hand shoots to the juncture of her legs while my right continues to grope her bosom.

“I’ll take that as a no,” she says succinctly.

My left hand moves to her crease, the warm folds engulfing my fingers as I begin to thrust. My firm pressure to her back bends her over the console; the glow from the input keys give a devilish glint to her facial implant as she begins to align the long range sensors.

“Captain, please…”

“That’s right baby. Beg me. Show me. Tell me. I’ll get you there. I’ll get you there, baby. I am the little engine that can and you are gonna be the little tunnel that came. Say it baby, say it. I’m the train. Say I’m the fucking train.”

“I am never going to be able to play my mother’s favorite song for her ever again. Ever.”

Tom gave Harry a bewildered look. “What? Why?”

“Big Band era. Early 20th Century. Benny Goodman.”

Tom sat for a moment, trying to place the reference. “Shit,” he said quietly as it dawned on him. “Chattanooga Choo Choo?”

Harry nodded, too stunned for words, and continued to scroll the entry.

“You’re the train, Captain. You’re the train. I believe the sensor logs should be updated before I finalize these coordinates. Be the train. Be the fucking train.”

Who in their right mind has domination dreams with an ambivalent partner? This is totally humiliating and completely unacceptable, even for a dream. I would never treat her like that! I admit—it was arousing, in a demeaning, abuse of power sort of way. But why would I be having dreams like this? I cannot imagine being so aggressive, so overpowering, so, so—so chauvinistic. Of course, I’ve never been involved with a woman before… could this be my subconscious way of trying to work through this?

What am I saying…? I’m acting like I’ve already begun a relationship with her. A relationship. Is that what I want? Really? Hell, who am I ? I would jump at the chance. If she even showed me the slightest interest I would probably melt right there on the spot. My God. This is ridiculous; I feel like a teenager, which is pretty accurate, now that I think about it. The last few times Seven and I have been together she has been distant, rather evasive, and obviously uncomfortable. I hate the idea of my life becoming one giant regret…

“Wow,” Tom finally said, “Looks to me like she’s got it bad.” The two men sat, each pondering the loneliness their captain struggled with so quietly throughout their long voyage home.

Harry began scrolling through the data feed again. “Looks like Seven’s been floundering as well.”

These emotions are unacceptable. This situation is unacceptable. My ability to meet the captain’s needs as a suitable mate is unacceptable. I have availed myself to her on numerous occasions in my attempt to encourage her to confide in me. I express interest in those areas I know she enjoys but all she does is discuss philosophy and art. She has yet to press me into maintaining a secretive knowledge of a specific piece of information. I place myself in close proximity to her during our discussions, but find my heart rate and internal body temperature rising at such an alarming rate that I’m concerned she will interpret these reactions as illness and insist I report to Sickbay. It has occurred to me that she has had previous lovers; while I have the memories of countless species and individual acts of copulation I have no experience of my own. Failure appears certain. I have no clear course of action to rectify the situation. I am displeased. I feel—unhappy.

“How could we have missed all this?” Harry winced. “We see them every day. We work with them every day. How could two people be so miserable and no one see it?”

Touched by the young man’s empathy Tom reached out and patted Harry’s shoulder. “We all have our own problems, Harry. We all see what we want. We want- hell, we need Captain Janeway to be The Captain—to be the strong leading figurehead that’s going to get us home. And Seven? Please. Half the crew still is iffy about having a former Borg on board. The fact that she is gorgeous and smarter than damn near all of us just makes her more intimidating. No one wants to imagine her with feelings, let alone having a crush on the captain. And let’s face it; neither of them exactly wears their heart on their sleeve. It looks to me like they’ve just gotten good at hiding their feelings.”

“Yeah, well it looks to me like they’ve gotten too good. They’re miserable. And they don’t even realize how the other one feels! I’d do anything for the captain. Anything. You know why? Because she’d do anything for me. The thought of her being so lonely and unhappy… it’s not right, Tom. And yeah, I had a crush on Seven, but that’s long gone. I’ve gotten to know her and she really is okay. She has a sense of humor, though not everyone sees it right off, and she’s incredibly smart, and there is not one person more loyal to the captain than Seven. Why shouldn’t they be together?”

Tom sat, contemplating what Harry had just said. Why shouldn’t they be together? Seven was technically outside the chain of command, so there should be no real problem there. The crew not only respected Janeway, they loved her. How could they not want her to be happy? He and B’Elanna had been reticent lovers at first and managed to survive the pains of a burgeoning romance in a very closed, very tight society. And if you wanted to get down to brass tacks, it really wasn’t anybody’s business but their own. “So why not,” he finally said out loud.

“Why not what?” Harry had remained working quietly throughout Tom’s silence. He glanced up to find that look set firmly in place. “Oh, God. What? What are you thinking?”

Tom draped an arm around Harry’s shoulders. “Harry? How’d you like to help me plan a party?”

 

 

***

“Got it. Try it now.”

Tom gingerly keyed in the parameters, fighting the urge to cross his fingers as he keyed the final stroke.

“All right! Great work Harry. I knew you could do it!”

A hooded glare as he gathered up his tools and PADDS was Harry’s only acknowledgement. Tom tweaked the program codes one last time and Harry felt the queasiness returning in the pit of his stomach. “Tom, are you sure this is a good idea?”

“Come on Harry, we’ve talked this to death. You said it yourself, ‘Why not?’ This is gonna be great! I’ve got all the costumes programmed. You’ve got the band matrix loaded. You do, don’t you?” Harry gave an exasperated nod as he continued. “They just need a little push. That’s all this is, a little push. And I promise; you’ve got a totally great costume. He was an amazing character. You are going to love it.”

Somehow Tom had managed to talk the captain into letting him organize the party as well as deciding the costume theme.

“Characters of 20th century entertainment. I know everyone is busy so I’ll even pick out the perfect costumes for the senior staff. Please Captain, this is right up my alley. And I promise everything will be tasteful.”

Against her better judgment Janeway had agreed. “But you’ll have to convince the senior staff about the costumes on your own,” she had told him.

Several days and endless hours of cajoling later Tom had managed to secure permission from the entire senior staff. Promising each a detailed description of both the character and their roles meant he was spending hours doing research, leaving B’Elanna to wonder about his obsessive behavior. After nearly two weeks of lame excuses he was finally forced to reveal what he and Harry had discovered.

“Are you insane? Have you totally lost your mind? Do you have any idea how idiotic this is?”

Tom stood motionless, waiting for her to take a breath; it looked like it might be a while.

“First you hack into their personal log, FROM THE CENTRAL CORE NO LESS, you read not one, not two, but what… four?” Tom started to remind her that they had in fact not hacked into the logs, merely stumbled upon them, but wisely chose to keep his mouth shut as she continued. “Now you’ve sucked Harry into this insane scheme… I don’t know what to say! You’ve lost it. You have totally, completely, FINALLY lost it!”

“If it’s my turn,” he started hesitantly, “I’d like to mention that you yourself have indicated on more than one occasion that you felt there was something between the captain and Seven.” B’Elanna opened her mouth to speak only to be silenced by Tom. “Ah, hold on. I think we all have recognized at one point or another that the captain has a special relationship with Seven, even if it is not a romantic one. Yet.” Tom reached out and took his wife’s hands. “You know what she’s feeling, B’Elanna. You told me you had been in love with me long before you ever let yourself say it. We both know what it feels like to be near someone day in and day out and not be able, or even willing to tell them how we feel. She’s hurting, B’Elanna. They both are. And Harry, well, Harry is like a kid trying to get his parents back together. He wants this for them as much as I do, and as much as I think you do too.

B’Elanna’s chin dropped to her chest with a reticent sigh. “Fine. But if you think you are going to get conjugal visits in the brig you can just toss that idea right out the nearest airlock.” Tom swept her into a hug, giddy with relief.

“This is gonna work, I promise. But you have to help me. I need you to help Seven get ready.”

“What? Wait a minute. Just because I said okay,” B’Elanna pulled away from the embrace.

“All I need is someone to help her get dressed! I’ve already got her talked in to the character, and I’ve got her costume all picked out. Look,” he said, handing her a PADD.

“ARE YOU KIDDING ME? I get stuck wearing a bathrobe and sticky buns on my head and she gets to wear THIS?”

“No, wait! Honey, look, your character had a major role in, like, three motion pictures, not to mention the books! She was great; I told you all of this already. She was a princess, a warrior, a rebel, a totally hot babe…” Tom moved closer, rubbing his hands lightly up and down B’Elanna’s arms. “She was you. I can’t imagine anyone else who would be a better fit.” He leaned in for a kiss.

“Yeah, well this Lena chick--”

“Leia,” Tom corrected.

Leia has a pretty dumpy wardrobe, okay? Especially when compared to Seven’s. Who the hell is she, anyway?”

“Hopefully she’s the one that will be able to breach the captain’s shields.” Tom answered as his lips finally reached hers.

***

The party was in full swing by the time Captain Janeway got to the holodeck. Standing outside the sensor range of the doors she took a deep breath and adjusted her costume one last time. What on earth had possessed her to let Tom pick this it out? When she had returned to her quarters to get ready and found the neatly folded garments waiting on her workstation she had immediately contacted Paris.

“Janeway to Paris.”

“Paris here. Did you find your costume Captain?”

“Indeed. Would you like to explain this now, or later from the comfort of the brig?”

“You don’t like it? Seriously?”

Janeway felt the beginnings of a headache coming on. “Tom, honestly. A pirate? It’s been done to death.”

“Captain, this is not just any pirate, remember? You read the bio, right? This was no ordinary pirate; this was Captain Jack Sparrow. You know, THE Captain Jack Sparrow?”

There was nothing but silence from his communicator.

“Captain, come on. Don’t you ever get tired of being the good guy? Don’t you ever want to be a little, well, bad? Not that this guy was bad, at least not all the time. He just sort of worked outside the normal channels when it came to getting things done. Besides, Pirates of the Caribbean is a classic. How could you not like it?”

There was another long moment of silence. “Fine. But do I seriously need all this eyeliner?”

“Captain, will you please just look over the info I sent? Please? You’ll look great. I promise.”

There was an exasperated sigh followed by “Janeway out.”

As she fidgeted once more with her complicated headwear the doors to the holodeck opened as Tuvok exited.

“Captain,” he said with a cordial nod of his head.

“Tu—I’m sorry. I don’t mean to stare. Who…” Janeway fell silent, completely at a loss for words.

Tuvok was wearing black ankle boots with high chunky heels, tan trousers made of some sort of slick material and a white shirt with an enormously oversized collar that was unbuttoned halfway down his chest. At least three gold chains hung at various lengths around his neck, and a fitted black leather jacket topped off his outfit. But by far, the most eye-popping feature was his hair. Tuvok was sporting the largest afro-styled hairdo that Kathryn had ever seen. Anywhere.

“Tuvok,” she said, finding her voice again, “Who exactly are you supposed to be?”

“I am Shaft,” he stated. “Mr. Paris informed me that he was a 20th century figure who embodied the moral and ethical standards of security and criminal apprehension. He was apparently also considered a bad mother fu—“

“SHUT the door!” someone yelled from the holodeck just as Tom ducked out. “Hey, Tuvok. Leaving so soon? The party’s just getting started.”

“I am to relieve Commander Chakotay of bridge duty so that he may also attend your function.” Turning to the captain he nodded his head. “Captain, have a pleasant evening. And your costume is intriguing. You look rather roguish. It is quite fitting.”

Roguish. Now there was an angle to which she hadn’t given much thought. Maybe this wouldn’t be so bad.

Janeway entered the holodeck and was immediately impressed and a little bit homesick. Tom had obviously put an enormous amount of effort into both the programming and planning. She found herself standing just outside of a huge barn, the doors of which were swung wide open to reveal a cavernous interior decorated with streamers, garlands of autumn leaves, pumpkins, cornstalks and the requisite jack-o-lanterns. Awash in the smells of fresh hay, cut grass and sweet late summer blooms she hadn’t realized she had closed her eyes until she heard Tom beside her.

“Captain? Captain, what do you think?” He was fishing for his a well-deserved compliment.

“Oh, Tom. This is perfect. This is wonderful. It’s almost like being back home…” her eyes started to moisten and she immediately reigned in the tears. “A lovely job, Mr. Paris. Well done.” Taking a moment to examine his outfit she questioned, “Who are you supposed to be?”

Tom stepped back and extended his arms wide to either side. He was dressed in dark leggings, knee high boots, a simple top belted at the waist under a vest, and carried some sort of short stick attached to his belt. “I,” he announced grandly, “am Han Solo. Jedi knight. Warrior in the way of the Force. Love slave to the lovely Princess Leia!” he finished, gesturing towards the approaching Lieutenant Torres. B’Elanna did not look quite as pleased with her outfit as her husband was with his.

“Shut up, Tom,” she grumbled as she elbowed him in the side. Her long, white hooded cape covered a beige ankle-length gown, also belted at the waist. And while her general appearance implied elegance, the tightly braided buns either side of her head gave an air of impatient efficiency. Oddly enough, she too wore a short stick device at her waist. She smiled widely at Janeway. “You look great, Captain! Oooh, I love the eyeliner; gives you an air of mystery. I like it.”

“Thank you, B’Elanna,” Janeway laughed. “I was a little apprehensive letting Mr. Paris here decide our fate, but it looks like he has done a wonderful job.” The crew seemed to be enjoying themselves. A long buffet ran along one entire side of the barn, tables and chairs and bales of hay provided more than enough seating and a makeshift stage was centered near the back of the structure. “A stage, Tom? Will we be having entertainment?”

“Not just entertainment, Captain. A real live, old fashioned talent show.”

“You’ve outdone yourself Mr. Paris. This promises to be a memorable evening,” Janeway laughed, clapping her helmsman on the shoulder as she moved towards the crowd.

“At least for one of us, I hope,” he muttered under his breath. Janeway hadn’t heard him, but B’Elanna did as plain as day.

“Tom…” she warned.

“Don’t worry,” he whispered. “I have a good feeling about this.” The couple followed Janeway inside.

Waves of nostalgia washed over the captain as she moved through the crowd. She could easily imagine herself standing in a barn back home, so accurate was the atmosphere and surroundings. The building was filled with the happy sounds of laughing, the clinking of glassware and dishes and the rhythmic thump of a small band set up in one corner. A few couples danced while a larger group gathered near the food. Janeway moved toward the center of the crowd just as a shout rose up. Neelix was just pulling his head from a tub of water, an apple trapped firmly between his teeth. His usually wild hair lay plastered against his head with water dripping down the front of his tuxedo. Crewmen patted him on the back and congratulated him as he relinquished his apple and moved towards her.

“Oh my, you do look marvelous Captain Janeway. Truly marvelous. What are you?” A puddle formed at his feet.

“A pirate, Neelix. I am a pirate. Captain Sparrow, specifically. A fictional pirate in an old earth tale called—“

“The Pirates of the Caribbean!” Neelix finished. “Yes, of course! Tom told me about it. I thought it would be a wonderful character for you. Finally get to be a bit of a rogue, eh?” Neelix began shaking the water out of his hair and patting dry his outfit.

“And who are you dressed as, Neelix?” Janeway inquired.

“Oh, a wonderful character Tom picked especially for me. I must say it wasn’t exactly what I had expected, but once I read the bio he sent everything made perfect sense.” Neelix straightened himself to his full, yet still rather humble height. “The name is Neelix. Just Neelix. I’m a spy! A secret agent.” He leaned in conspiratorially, “Apparently, I even have a license to kill. Well, that is, my character does. I would never… well, you know. But the whole suave, debonair, refined persona? Oh, just wonderful. Mr. Paris did such a fine job matching characters to our personalities, don’t you agree?”

Standing there, dressed as an imaginary pirate captain who had lost his ship not once, not even twice, but upon at least three occasions left Janeway feeling not quite as in sync with her cinematic persona, thankfully, but she understood her helmsman’s intent. Still, she couldn’t for the life of her figure out why Tom would put Neelix in such an outfit.

“Oh look, here comes our wonderful Hans Silo now!” Neelix called, interrupting her confused musings.

“It’s ‘Solo’ Neelix, Hans Solo, “corrected Tom, not for the first time. “Has anyone seen Harry?”

Neelix looked around. “Last time I saw Mr. Kim he was talking to the holographic band members.”

“Figures,” said Tom, rolling his eyes. Catching the look from Janeway he continued. “Harry is a little mad at me. No big deal,” he said casually while motioning surreptitiously towards Neelix with his head. “Just a little costume mix up. We’re fine.”

The Captain turned to look at the band. She didn’t spot Harry among the band at first. It wasn’t until he looked up in her direction that she realized it was him. The look of combined embarrassment and resignation was obvious, even from a distance. Neelix waved him over.

“Harry! Is everything set? Maybe I should check and see if anyone needs help before we begin. You look great, by the way!” Neelix bustled off, leaving a very irked ensign in his wake.

“You said I was going to be Bond,” he stated flatly to Tom. “You said you had the perfect costume, and that I was going to be Bond. Instead,” he gestured at his torn jeans, faded t-shirt, ratty tennis shoes and outrageously spiked hairdo, “I get this. I don’t even know what this is. What is this?”

Captain Janeway covered her mouth to hide her grin while Tom tried to pacify his friend. “Look, it’s not so bad, really. Garth was an amazing musical character from the late 20th century television era. They even put his character in a couple of movies. He really was a musical genius, not to mention a total monster with the babes. Uh, er, ladies, Captain. Sorry. I planned on giving the character to Neelix because of the hair! I got the replicator codes mixed up. I’m sorry, honestly.”

“I think you look fine, Harry,” B’Elanna threw in. “At least you don’t have to walk around in a sheet with these on your head!” The braids had been a point of contention all night, it seemed.

Tom looked around as his wife continued to grouse about her costume. He spotted Ensign Wildman coming through the door with Commander Chakotay following behind.

“Hey, why is Chakotay carrying Bigfoot’s baby?” Harry asked, spotting the Commander’s entry as well.

“That’s Naomi,” Tom chided. “And she’s not Bigfoot’s baby. She’s an Ewok. I told her she could come as a Star Wars character too.” At the raised eyebrow from B’Elanna he continued. “She’s only going to be here for a few minutes; she just wanted to show off her costume. She’s still a little stuffed up so Samantha is going to take her back to their quarters as soon as she eats.”

“That was sweet of you to include her, Tom,” Janeway said, patting his arm. “She doesn’t always get a chance to interact with the ship’s holiday functions. I’m going to go say hello to my Assistant.”

As the Captain went to chat with Naomi both Harry and Tom turned to B’Elanna.

“Where is she?” Harry whispered loudly, only to be immediately shushed. “She should be here by now!”

Tom turned to his wife. “You’ve got to go check on her. Get her in here…quick! Chakotay looks like he’s giving the captain the eye!” Tom shooed B’Elanna off to find Seven then turned to keep an eye on Janeway and her first officer. Chakotay was definitely feeling his oats.

At the captain’s approach Commander Chakotay placed Naomi on her feet. He turned to greet her, tugging his starched white uniform tunic into place and straightening his service cap.
“Captain,” he said with a toothy smile.

“And I suppose it is ‘Captain’ for you this evening as well,” Janeway replied while taking in his solid white uniform. “Did Tom pick this out for you, or are you giving me a not-so-subtle hint you want my job?”

“Oh no. It’s a one-time deal. And yes, Tom suggested this.” Standing smartly at attention he declared, “I am Captain Merrill Stubing, of the USS Pacific Prince S., circa late 20th century. As I understand it there was a series of documentaries that detailed the ship’s activities in the Pacific. From what Tom tells me Captain Stubing had quite a number of engagements.”

Janeway was no expert in the field of earth’s naval histories, but she was no novice either. She just couldn’t place the name.

“That’s quite interesting. I look forward to doing a little research into your Captain Stubing.”

From across the room Tom was nearly in tears, his silent laughter threatening to drag Harry down with him. Having spent countless hours with Tom in the holodeck Harry knew exactly who Captain Stubing was.

“You told him to come as Captain Stubing? We are already looking at serious brig time for our little foray into the Core and you go and have the commander dress up as the captain of the Love Boat?”

“Come on, Harry. It’s funny. And harmless,” The chirrup of his communicator rescued him from Harry’s rebuke. “Paris here.”

“Tom? We’re almost ready.”

“How’s she—I mean, is everything, uh, in place?”

There was full five seconds of silence.

“Everything is… where it should be. And Tom? You and I are going to have a little talk later.”

The link went silent. Tom grabbed Harry and quickly asked Neelix, who was serving as the Master of Ceremonies, to get everyone settled. First to perform were two of B’Elanna’s engineering staff with their juggling act. They managed pretty well with the rings and knives, and would have been home free with the torches if that bale of hay hadn’t been on stage. Without the tuxedo Harry had refused to perform, so next would be what the Doctor promised was a short soliloquy from Hamlet. B’Elanna was to bring Seven in for her vocal number last.

In the hallway outside the holodeck B’Elanna turned to Seven.

“Are you ready?”

Seven hesitated, then inhaled as deeply as her attire would allow. “I am—apprehensive, but I believe I am adequately prepared. I wish to thank you for assisting me in securing my dress. I was uncertain as to how it would maintain its positioning without your suggestion of an adhesive agent.” Seven looked down momentarily before raising her eyes to B’Elanna’s. The usual harsh stare was gone; instead was a shy, questioning glance. “Do I look acceptable?” she asked timidly.

“Seven, you look amazing. Beyond amazing. I mean that. I’m glad you let us help you get ready for this party. And I also think you are going to knock ‘em dead.”

“Why would you assume I’m going to inflict lethal wounds?”

B’Elanna shook her head. “No, Seven. That’s just an old saying. I’m not really sure where it came from, but it just means that you are going to impress your audience. Are you ready?

“Almost,” B’Elanna was surprised when Seven took her arm. “Lieutenant Torres, B’Elanna, are you sure this song is an appropriate choice? I believe I understand the representation of the costume relative to the character Tom suggested, but I don’t believe she sang this particular song. Why would Lieutenant Paris believe this to be a better choice?”

B’Elanna bit her lip gently, trying to find the words to nudge Seven in the right direction.

“Seven, you know how sometimes when we are in a staff meeting and the captain wants to make a particular point to one specific person, but not make it seem like she is picking on them or trying to single them out?”

“Yes. I find it inefficient.”

B’Elanna waved her off. “Yeah, yeah. But the point is she’s trying convey something to just a single person without embarrassing them in front of their friends and crewmates. She always finds a way to reach that one person and let them know that she knows what’s going on with them.”

Seven appeared somewhat lost. “I don’t understand the correlation between reprimanding a crewmember and singing this song…”

“Wait. I’m getting to that. What I’m trying to say is that people can convey their emotions to a specific person even in a crowded room and do it in such a way that it doesn’t obviously embarrass or single out that one person. Seven, you can use this song and that costume to say something very personal to anyone in that holodeck. If you want,” she quickly added.

Seven’s whole demeanor transformed as she processed B’Elanna’s meaning; she stood up straighter, if that was even possible, her body seemed to radiate an allure and the corner of her mouth turned up just enough to insinuate a smile. She tilted her head, arched her eyebrow and released B’Elanna’s arm.

“I’m ready,” she stated.

B’Elanna surprised her with a knowing grin then checked the exterior monitor for her prearranged cue. Inside Neelix was finally getting the Doctor off stage.

“And now my friends, a special treat. Our very own Seven of Nine, or tonight I should say ‘Jessica Rabbit’ will perform the song Fever.”

As Neelix began to encourage the applause B’Elanna keyed the door and Seven of Nine entered the holodeck.

Entered may have been too sedate a term. Seven didn’t walk; she didn’t even glide. She oozed. From the barn doors to the stage area she floated by members of the crew, leaving a trail of slack jaws and gasps in her wake. As she climbed the steps to the stage the audience was treated to a rare glimpse of her naked shoulders and lower back, the tight spots glinting off a single starburst implant on her left shoulder blade. Upon reaching the center of the stage she turned, giving the audience nearly a full thirty seconds to take in her appearance before beginning her performance. Her hair was a shower of gold, flowing locks that draped a peek a boo curtain across her right eye and encircled her bare shoulders. Her arms were clad in full-length silk gloves of the faintest shade of lavender. Her dress was fire engine red; an engineering marvel arched in a tight fit over each of her full breasts, the sides immediately falling away only to fit snugly just above the swell of her hips. The hemline trailed along the floor while the skirt bore slits on either side clear up to her thighs, revealing her endless legs in five-inch stiletto heels. In the audience, Voyager’s commanding officer sat paralyzed, waiting for her Astrometrics Officer to begin her song.

Kathryn Janeway was quite sure everyone in the surrounding quadrant could hear her heart thundering in her chest. Heat radiated from every pore and she was shaking so badly she feared she’d slide right off her seat. She was so utterly out of control she was terrified she would do the unthinkable right there in her chair the moment the former Borg opened her mouth.

Captain Janeway, on the other hand, took a long, steadying breath, dropped her command mask firmly into place and prayed that no one saw what was happening to Kathryn.

The band members began with a simple snap of the fingers.

Snap. Snap. Snap. Snap.

The base player joined in, followed by the drummer and his brushes.

Snap. Snap. Snap. Snap.

Seven began to sing.

“Never know how much I love you,

Never know how much I care.

When you put your arms around me

I get a fever that’s so hard to bear.”

Her voice washed over Kathryn like a good scotch whiskey; warm, inviting, with a wickedly hot kick at the end. The captain held firm to her illusion of control.

“You give me fever-

When you kiss me,

Fever when you hold me tight-

Fever! In the morning

Fever all through the night”.

From his vantage point at the back of the audience Tom was pretty sure he saw the captain’s head snap back slightly at the base drum’s double rim shot.

The captain knew Seven was still singing, but she was having trouble making out the exact words. Her attention was riveted to the tall blonde’s eyes, which had been locked with her own ever since Seven took the stage. She wasn’t so much hearing the song as she was feeling it; she felt its molten tones slide down her shoulders and arms, weaving itself between each of her fingers and tickling her palms. She inhaled the smoky nuances of the rhythm as it worked its way into her deepest, most inner recesses. She could almost taste the salty backwash of the beat that constantly countered her own pounding heart. Oh lord. She’s singing to me. The realization hit hard as she became aware of the actual words and Seven’s sultry voice. Oh my God, she’s singing to me. What had begun an instant ago as a moment of panic transformed into a jumbled rush of joy and fear and desire and apprehension—Oh, my God. She is singing to me!

“Now you’ve listened to my story,

Here’s the point that I have made-

Chicks were born to give you fever

Be it Fahrenheit or Centigrade.”

Good God this pirate outfit was hot. And why weren’t the atmospheric controls working? There was absolutely no air moving through the barn. It was amazing someone hadn’t passed out.

Captain Janeway clasped her hands in her lap while a small bead of sweat trickled down between her breasts.

“What a lovely way to burn,

What a lovely way to burn,

What a lovely way to burn,

What a lovely way to burn.”

After a moment of stunned silence the room erupted in applause. Catcalls and whistles rang out as Seven quickly lowered her head and left the stage, met by the Doctor and Neelix at the bottom of the steps.

“That was most impressive, Seven. You’ve been practicing without me I see.” The Doctor’s muted irritation at being left out of Seven’s preparations was quite apparent.

Neelix complimented her on her song while simultaneously trying to get her to eat, but Seven graciously begged off and began looking for the one person from whom she truly wanted a review. She found the captain still seated, exactly as she had been during her performance. Shyly accepting congratulations and praise from her crewmates she slowly made her way to where Janeway sat.

Kathryn had somewhat tuned out the surrounding noise and was startled by the sudden presence at her side.

“Captain? May I join you?”

A quick turn to the left and her frame of vision was filled with a red so vivid it was difficult to focus. Pulling her head back slightly she lifted her chin, her eyes following the form fitting dress all the way up and around the curves of Seven’s body until she met her gaze.

“Captain? May I?” Seven asked again.

Mentally slapping herself Kathryn gave a quick smile and said, “Of course. Please, sit. If you can,” she joked, noticing how incredibly tight Seven’s dress fit.

Seven folded herself into the chair next to the captain, her perfect poise maintained throughout the motion. She realized after a moment the captain was staring at her blankly.

“Captain?”

Janeway was mortified. “What? Oh. Oh Seven, I am so sorry. I’m just, well— I’m trying to figure out how you’re keeping that dress up, if you must know. Did Tom pick that out?”

“Indeed. And you’re correct regarding the difficulty in maintaining the proper location. However, B’Elanna was quite knowledgeable on how to correct the problem.”

“B’Elanna? Well, that makes more sense than Tom.” The captain laughed a quiet laugh, almost to herself.

“Is there something humorous about that, Captain?”

“No, not really. I was just thinking about Tom, picking out everyone’s characters and costumes and wondering just what was going on in that head of his at the time.”

“I have failed to comment on your attire as of yet, Captain. You look quite—“

“Roguish?”

“No, I was going to say endearing.”

“Endearing? I’m a pirate, Seven. Where do you get endearing?”

“Is it not true that many human children enjoy pretending to be pirates?”

“Well, yes, I guess.”

“And is endearing not a suitable term to be applied when describing the appearance and behavior of human children at play?”

“Yes, it can be.”

“Then you, Captain, are endearing. I see you in this costume and imagine what you perhaps were like as a child, pretending to be a ship’s captain, sailing into the unknown, meeting strangers and embarking upon adventures. I find that to be endearing.”

Kathryn turned in her chair so that her knees were touching the side of Seven’s leg. Resting her elbows on her knees she cupped her hands under her chin and asked, “Who are you Seven of Nine? You spent so few years living among humans and yet you manage to make a completely human observation that not one other person, including myself, managed to consider. You truly are remarkable.” At that she reached out and patted Seven’s knee, her hand lingering on the silky fabric and the firmly muscled leg beneath.

Seeing the openness in Seven’s face and remembering one of her more painful personal logs gave her the courage to ask,” Would you like to go for a walk, Seven? Come along with me while I do my ‘midnight tour’ of the ship?”

“Would it be possible to change my attire prior to this walk, Captain? I believe you generally intend these walks to be a form of relaxation; I do not believe that a pirate and a—this dress to be conducive to relaxing.”

Kathryn patted Seven’s leg again as she rose to her feet. “Of course. Why don’t we just replicate something from my quarters? All you need is something comfortable.”

“That would be acceptable, Captain.”

Janeway gently turned Seven towards her. “Please, Seven, call me Kathryn.”

Seven’s smile as she agreed was nearly as warm as the silky tone of her voice. “Yes, Kathryn.”

Tom, B’Elanna and Harry were huddled near the exit of the holodeck, partially hidden by several hay bales and two large scarecrows. They watched as the two women made their exit as nonchalantly as possible, given both their outlandish outfits and their commanding stature among the crew. The captain and Seven appeared to be the pinnacle of professional shipmates, right up until the moment the holodeck doors swooshed closed.

“Ah! Did you see that! I told you!” boasted Tom. “She took her hand! The captain took Seven’s hand when they got outside the holodeck,” he finished proudly. “I told you this would work.”

The captain had indeed taken Seven’s hand into her own as they exited the holodeck, initially to steer her clear of an incoming crewman. For some reason she just never let it go. The two walked in a companionable silence to the turbolift and waited. As much as she realized that continuing to hold Seven’s hand beyond this point would be a blatant expression of her intentions, Kathryn simply could not find it in her to let go. It feels good, she thought to herself. It fits. Remembering that hellish dream in which she had forced her desires upon Seven, Kathryn slid a surreptitious glance at the woman standing beside her. That’s not what I want with her. I want romance. I want softness. I want…

Seven was startled at the captain’s sudden release of her hand just as the turbolift doors opened. The few short moments their hands had been clasped together were sublime. Seven had felt all the warmth and energy from her captain— her Kathryn, flow into her from the simple act of pressing palm to palm.

I have offended her, Seven thought to herself.

As they moved into the turbolift both turned and spoke.

“Seven-”

“Captain-“

Their words collided as their bodies moved apart.

“Please, Seven, please let me say this,” Janeway started.

“I apologize for offending you,” Seven quickly interjected. “My intent was never to embarrass you.”

“I have to say—what? What makes you think you offended me? Why would I be embarrassed?” Janeway’s initial reaction, which was to apologize herself for being so forward, was lost as Seven struggled to find her voice.

“Captain,”

“Please, Seven. Please call me Kathryn.”

Seven began again. “Kathryn, I didn’t mean to be so forward. Actually, that is not true. I did purposefully direct my performance at you, especially once Lieutenant Torres explained the effects such an action might have on my targe- I mean the person I directed the song towards.” The young woman shook her head softly, frustrated at her inability to better articulate her emotion. “This is much harder than I’d anticipated.”

“What is, Seven?” Janeway’s mind was becoming muddied by the swirl of emotions.

“Expressing my feelings.”

Feeling somewhat back on familiar ground Kathryn reached out again for Seven’s hand. “You don’t have to try and get it perfect with me. I understand that a lot of emotional responses are still new to you. Just try and say what you feel. What do you feel, Seven?”

“I feel— I feel warm when I am with you. I feel cold when we are apart. I feel light when you smile at me; I feel lost in a shadow when I cause you to become angry with me. I feel this,” gesturing towards their clasped hand, “even when we are not touching. Just being in your presence makes my skin tingle and my breathing shallow and my heart race. I feel joy, contentment, and if I understand it correctly, I feel love. The love that generates passion and desire. But I also feel sadness and pain that I will never be able to provide those feelings for you in return.”

The turbolift slowed and then stopped; the doors opening to deck three. Kathryn was still stunned by Seven’s admission. The outpouring of emotion was not what she had expected at all. She realized that they were tying up the ‘lift and motioned for Seven to exit leading the way in silence to her quarters.

Upon their entry the captain immediately called for both lights and a scotch. As she retrieved her glass from the replicator she pulled off her hat and wig then took a hefty swig before turning to face Seven.

“I really think we should sit down, but you don’t look very comfortable in that dress and I’m certainly not going to have this discussion dressed like this,” her offhanded swagger while waving her glass the best impression of her character that anyone had done all night. It was a shame Seven been the only one there to appreciate it.

Seven moved to the replicator. “Computer, Seven of Nine apparel, gamma –zero-one.” A set of neatly folded clothes appeared.

“You can change out here…will you need help with that?” Kathryn prayed not.

“I believe it will be much easier to remove than it was to put on.”

“Good. You change out here. I need to get this eyeliner off and grab something else to wear.” The captain retreated to her bedroom leaving a slightly confused Seven to decide on the most efficient method of extrication.

Frustration finally won over critical analysis and Seven simply grabbed the bodice with her Borg-enhanced hand and pulled. She was quickly attired in her more casual clothes and was in the process of standing back up straight and flipping her hair back into place when Kathryn came out of the bedroom.

“Damn it!” She cringed, grabbing at her shin. The sight of Seven’s hair flinging up and over, not to mention the pull of the thin shirt and her obvious lack of an undergarment had totally derailed Kathryn, causing her to stumble into her own coffee table. She hopped about until she could land on the couch.

“Captain! Are you all right? I mean, Kathryn?”

Kathryn was glad Seven still chose to address her as she had requested; hopefully that meant the situation was still salvageable.

“Oooh. I’m fine. Just barked my shin. It’ll be fine.” Seven was kneeling in front of her, holding her foot while Kathryn rubbed at her shin. As she pulled her foot away she lightly placed her hands on Seven’s. “Please, sit with me. I’d like to talk.”

Seven moved to sit next to Kathryn, but not very close. “What do you wish to discuss?” she asked stiffly.

Realizing that the moment was slipping away Kathryn closed the distance between them. “I’d like to talk about what you said in the ‘lift. About how you feel. How you feel about me. You said you could never provide those feelings for me. What does that mean? That you don’t think I could ever reciprocate those feelings?” She still held Seven’s hands, and now pulled them close to her chest. “Do you really think I am incapable of having those types of feelings for you?”

Seven’s answer was a hushed, barely audible whisper. “No, Kathryn. I believe that I am incapable of giving you a reason to have those feelings.”

Suddenly Seven’s erratic behavior over the last few months fell into place. She hadn’t been looking for a mentor. She was trying to find a connection, a thread from which to weave a relationship, and apparently, a romance. And some part of Kathryn must have realized this. Why else would she have such bizarre dreams of trying to overpower someone to whom power was already relinquished? And indeed it was. That much she had already admitted to herself, but it was time to admit it to the person who wielded that power. It was time to tell Seven the truth.

Releasing Seven’s hands Kathryn gently took the younger woman’s face, forcing her to look at her captain. Kathryn held her there for a moment, smiling, before tracing a finger from Seven’s facial implant to her chin.

“You are capable of that and so much more, Seven. You make me feel alive. You make me feel interesting. When you challenge me you make me feel like a giant. You make me feel— Seven, and that’s something I have not allowed myself to do in a long, long time. Not for myself.” She could feel the tears beginning to fall but did not move to wipe them away. It had taken too much for her to forge this connection; she would not break it now. “Seven, I don’t know exactly what you want or what you expect from me. I don’t even know how much of me I can give. But what I feel for you is deep and strong and—, “she hesitated.

“Is it desire, Kathryn? Is what you feel desire?” At the look of startled recognition Seven pressed her point home. “Because I would very much like it to be. I desire you Kathryn. I want to hold you, kiss you and make love to you.” The last words were said as she took Kathryn’s hands from her face and pressed them to her lips.

Kathryn Janeway was stunned. Not only by the sheer act of confession on both their parts but also by how quickly she moved from uncertainty to desire. The fact that Seven had used the phrase ‘make love’ rather than ‘copulation’ set off all kinds of bells and whistles in her brain; Seven knew exactly what she wanted. For a brief moment she was back to feeling like a teenager.

“Uh, did you mean now?”

Seven continued to kiss her fingers, caress her hands and generally make her feel like she had been played like a cheap piano.

“Would you like to check your schedule and see when would be convenient? I believe I have thirty-five minutes between the sensor realignment and the impulse engine overhaul three days from now. Should I ‘pencil you in’?”

At that Kathryn threw back her head and laughed: a full-throated, lung-stretching laugh that ended abruptly when her head came forward and she slammed into Seven’s mouth.

“Sonuvabitch!” she yelped, grabbing her forehead.

Seven sat stoically trying not to wince in pain.

“Gods, Seven, are you okay? Are you bleeding?”

“I had heard that relationships could be painful in the beginning stages,” she grumbled as she rubbed the feeling back into her lip.

Kathryn moved Seven’s hand away. “It’s not split; it doesn’t even look like it’s going to swell.”

Seven reached up to rub a bit more, only to have Kathryn intercept her hand.

“I think I know a better way,” she murmured.

Their lips met softly, Kathryn hesitant at causing more pain. “Is this okay?” she whispered between feathering her lips across Seven’s mouth.

“Much more than adequate, Kathryn.” Apparently Seven’s pain was receding. Her arms moved to encircle Kathryn’s shoulders, pulling her into a deeper embrace and moving to lay her back on the sofa.

“Ouch,” the captain winced as her shin racked against the table a second time. “You. Weren’t. Kidding,” she said between kisses. “About. The pain.” Pulling her legs out from under the table she turned and slid back against the cushions. “Come over here,” she purred, tugging at Seven’s lip with her own.

Soon the two were wrapped in each other’s embrace, flush with the warmth of their newfound passion.

“Oh, Seven,” Kathryn moaned between kisses. “You feel so good.” Kathryn had been kneading Seven’s back and shoulders while Seven ravished kisses up and down her throat. “Hmm. I want to feel more,” she growled, slipping her hand under the thin top that separated her from Seven’s taut nipples. Her hands roamed up and over the firm mounds, her fingers… her fingers… her fingers were stuck. Tight.

“Hmm, Seven? Darling?”

“Oh yes, Kathryn. That feels wonderful. Don’t stop,” Seven begged, taking Kathryn’s delicate earlobe between her teeth.

“Uh, S-s-ev-hooohh yeah,” She tried to pull her fingers away but only succeeded in making Seven’s breast bounce against her hand. The tongue in her ear also made it difficult to focus on the dilemma at hand, so to speak. “S-s-s-Seven?” she tried again. “Seven!” more forcefully this time.

Something must have cut through the fog of passion because Seven abruptly stopped her ministrations and sat back.

“Kathryn, why do you continue to hold my breast in such a manner?” She reached out and grasped Kathryn’s breasts with both hands. “Do you wish me to touch you in this way as well? I’m sorry if I am performing inadequately, I can try—,”

“SEVEN! I’m stuck. My hand is stuck. My hand is stuck to your breast, okay? You’re doing fine. Wonderfully fine. TREMEDOUSLY fine. I, however, cannot get my hand off your boob. What the hell have you got on there?”

Nodding in understanding Seven explained, “That would be the adhesive agent B’Elanna suggested to ensure my dress remained in place during my performance. Did you enjoy my performance?”

Kathryn was busy trying to pull Seven’s shirt up with her other hand so she could get a look at what she had gotten herself into. Seeing her intention Seven grasped the hem of her top and pulled it clear of her head and Janeway got her first full look at Seven’s naked chest, up close and personal.

“Whoa!” She tried to avert eyes, which upon second thought seemed ridiculous considering where her hand was stuck, but still felt that some semblance of decorum should be attempted. “Uh, Seven? Before we even try anything answer me this; have you got this stuff on you anywhere else?”

“No, Kathryn. My right breast seemed to be the fulcrum for keeping the dress aligned. I apologize for failing to completely remove the adhesive when I was changing.”

“That’s, that’s okay. You do have the solvent, right?” The blank stare told her otherwise. “Right. Here we go, then.”

The two women hoisted themselves off the couch so the captain could retrieve her communicator.

“Janeway to Torres. NOW.”

“Torres here. Is there a problem, Captain?”

“Would you please send the solvent for the adhesive agent you used with Seven’s dress to the replicator in my quarters? Immediately?”

“Uhm, sure Captain. Is everything all right?”

“I have everything well in hand. Just do it, now please. Janeway out.”

Moments later a small bottle appeared in the replicator tray. Kathryn stretched her free arm to retrieve it and Seven flipped open the top. Kathryn poured several ounces above her fingertips and let the solvent run around her hand where it had melded to Seven’s skin.

“Is it cold, Seven?” smiled Janeway, well aware of the answer. After a few moments she began to flex her fingers and soon her hand slipped free. “You’d better go wash the rest of that off before something else gets stuck.”

Seven retreated to the bathroom while Kathryn retrieved her shirt. A short while later Seven stood in the doorway between Kathryn’s bedroom and the living area. “Shall I add to or take away?” she inquired upon seeing the captain standing there, holding her shirt tentatively in front of her.

“I don’t really know, Seven. I’d like to continue, but quite frankly I’m getting a little jumpy. If this keeps up we may need the Doctor.”

“Or Maintenance,” Seven quipped.

The sight of Seven standing so close to her bed, nude from the waist up, began to sway Kathryn in her decision. “Maybe we could just try once more…”

Kathryn moved into Seven’s arms, pressing herself into the warm flesh. She nuzzled the crook of Seven’s neck before dipping her head down to take a quick swipe across her now unsticky nipple with her tongue. The short intake of breath spurred her on and soon she was suckling wantonly upon the breast, her hands roaming intently around the bare skin of Seven’s back. Slowly she began to move Seven in the direction of the bed until she felt their legs bump up against the edge. As she released one breast from her lips she slipped her hands inside Seven’s trousers, sliding them down as she pushed the tall blonde back onto the bed. The woman of her dreams, now fully nude and hot with desire, was in her bed. It just didn’t get any better than this. Quickly she stripped off her own clothes and crawled up Seven’s sultry body. Her hands began to caress the curves and dips and dimples, touching metal and flesh equally and as one. Seven was soon trembling with need.

Being a quick study, it wasn’t long before Seven had Kathryn’s body begging for release; her smaller frame being surrounded by the sensation of flesh she had so long been without. Matching Kathryn’s movements, Seven traced her fingers lightly up and down the captain’s thighs, occasionally straying across the thatch of hair to stroke the other leg.

“Kathryn, I have wanted this for so long. I can’t seem to find the words to express how I feel,” Seven was nearly in tears as Kathryn lightly drew her finger ever nearer the throbbing center of her mound.

“Shh. It’s okay. I know. I know, my darling,” Kathryn showered her face with kisses in prelude to the moment yet to come. “Please, I want you to tell me if I hurt you in anyway. Okay? Please?” She barely remembered this moment in her own life; she damn sure didn’t want to ruin it for Seven. “Are you ready?”

“I’m—,”

“SECURITY TO THE CAPTAIN. CAPTAIN, PLEASE RESPOND!”

“Oh, for the love of God!” Kathryn swung her fist in a wide arc and smacked the communicator on her nightstand. “WHAT?”

“Sorry, Captain, but we’ve got Commander Chakotay down here in the brig. Seems he was chasing Lieutenant Paris through the passageway on deck five and trampled a couple of people. They want to press charges! They said he was off his rocker, screaming something about being a ground hog or a gopher or something, and now Lieutenant Torres is in here yelling at us to take Lieutenant Paris as well, but he’s helping out in Sickbay because Mr. Neelix was trying to show everybody his,” yelling off to the side, “What was it? A smoke bomb?”

“Ensign? ENSIGN!”

“Yes Ma’am. I’m mean, Captain!”

“Do me a favor, will you? Contact Commander Tuvok. Tell him I said this looks like a job for Shaft. Janeway out.”

Kathryn heaved a heavy sigh and rolled back over towards her new beloved. Seven was smiling rather coyly and had pulled the sheets just above her breasts. I’m a lucky woman, she thought. I almost missed this.

“Kathryn? You said Shaft?”

“Yes, dear. John Shaft.”

“Hmm. I hear he’s a bad mother fu—,”

“Shut up and kiss me, Seven.”

 

 

Note: The Character of Jessica Rabbit was originally created to be a representation of Kathleen Turner’s speaking voice, Betty Grable’s legs, Marilyn Monroe’s torso, Jayne Mansfield’s breasts, Rita Hayworth’s red hair, Marlene Dietrich’s eyes, and a Judy Garland-like singing voice. Can I get an “AMEN?”

The Character of Merrill Stubing was just some poor slob who had no idea what was really going on aboard his ship. Feel free to hum the theme song.