Command and Control:
Captain's Personal Log:
Somehow, I knew it would be bad. There was something about the Doctor's trepidation in releasing the emitter that made me know that somehow, someway, no matter what assignments Barrows was given, that he would complain. In the back of my mind I could feel the tension build up even as I felt relief that our Chief Medical Officer had returned, whole, hearty and successful. I knew it was coming. That didn't mean I was going to like it.
"Routine duties," the Doctor exclaimed. His rant was still gathering steam. "Routine duties are what we agreed on. Assignments that would help her interactions with the crew and daily activities. Maintenance checks, activity reports. Do you know what I found her doing when I returned?"
Oh, he expected an answer. I shrugged.
"She was cleaning out the plasma conduits. Of all the reckless, menial, pointless jobs..."
I knew of course. It had been six years, they were filthy. I could tell him that normally this sort of task required a week in spacedock. He'd never understand. I let him rant for the moment, nodding as appropriate.
Barrows loved it, of course. The more demeaning the job, the more eagerly she'd throw herself into it. B'Elanna reported that she was practically humming in the tubes. I was glad, thrilled, that my Mistress was so pleased with her new pastime, even if her enthusiasm puzzled me. It was a side to her that I had never imagined, let alone glimpsed.
The Doctor had paused, waiting for me to actually say something. I assured him that nothing was being done without first evaluating the risks involved, that her current task was important but not considered a precedent. I thanked him for his input and sent him away.
I spent a pointless hour doing paperwork. The Commander provided my only respite, peeking in with the latest crew rosters. We reviewed them for a while, adjusting a few minor staff assignments, until the temptation became too much and I reached into his trousers. He ignored me for a few minutes stubbornly pretending to discuss crew rotations as I stroked him into hardness. I licked his shaft, gently but thoroughly, taking him into my mouth, then leaned back as I admired it glistening in the light. Chakotay made a few notes. The bastard wanted me to believe that he was above such wanton behavior, but his cock said otherwise. I reflected on it for a moment, the way it felt in my hand, the fullness, the soft skin, the sturdy weight.
I moved onto his lips, those marvelous lips, pressing them against mine, pausing for just a short while before he conceded, and my tongue wrapped against his. I pressed against him further, that massive wall of flesh that was his chest tightly bound to my own. There was a building intensity stirring within me, my desire blossoming as I stepped up the attack. I could feel the friction of my excited nipples as they brushed inside my uniform, turned and pulled as I moved against Chakotay's body. The Commander surrendered, tossing the padd aside, wrapping me in his powerful arms and turning me onto my back on the sofa. I never released his cock, which grew in hardness as our lovemaking increased. Our mouths were one, united in fire, battling in a war in which there could only be winners. He seized my shoulders, and with a herculean effort, pulled away from my lips. The depth of passion was too powerful to keep my dear Commander away for long, and he was drawn back to me, his lips surrounding my swollen nipple, sucking at it through the material. With my free hand I grabbed the back of his neck and pulled him closer. My other began to stroke him in earnest. After a few moments I steered him to my other breast, which he attacked with equal vigor. My top was going to be stained from his suckling. I didn't care. I whimpered and twitched. Chakotay moved lower, and his cock moved beyond my grasp. I groaned in frustration even as he nipped at my abdomen and moved towards my burning core.
With an involuntary shout I pushed him away, until his back was forced to the bulkhead. I stared at him for a moment in delirium, my hands fumbling over his chest and shoulders, not knowing what to devour first, but knowing that he must be devoured, consumed in my lust.
I returned to his member, which I swallowed whole. My hands were everywhere, stroking his shaft, gently massaging his balls. As my vigor increased I reached around and squeezed the toned muscles of his ass. Mine, mine to have, to enjoy. I squeezed harder as I tasted his length, pausing to swirl my tongue over his tip. His breathing increased. I wanted his release so much so that I felt I would pass out in anticipation. He was so agonizingly close.
Chakotay pulled away again. His face burned with passion, but also tenderness.
"No. No," he said. "Not yet."
I knew what he wanted, and I could withhold from him nothing. I turned away, swinging my legs onto the sofa. On my hands and knees before him, I canted my still clothed hips, one last temptation for a lover who needed no further encouragement. He seized the hem of my trousers and jerked them down, revealing my stained panties and dripping thighs. Then he was in me, filling me, pounding me, taking me. I blanked out for an instant, the pleasure overpowering everything, filling my very being, becoming me. I began a single moan, which originated from deep inside, and continued as he relentlessly continued to enter and withdraw, enter and withdraw. There was no other expression I was capable of, nothing I could say. I had no other thoughts than my pleasure, absolute pleasure as Chakotay took me. My moan became a cry, tears forming on my cheeks. There was nothing but the two of us, at this moment, joined in this endless cycle of pleasure and abandonment.
His strokes became more erratic, more savage. I knew he was close and I wanted nothing more than to feel his release, even more than his constant attention to my burning wet excited core.
"Please," I mumbled. "Please. Please. Please. Please! Please! Please!"
He fought it hard. There was a twitch, a pulse, another stroke, and then with a shout he released into me, filling me even as he continued to drive home. It filled me, overwhelmed me, finally running out onto my thighs to join with my own passion.
We stayed locked that way for what seemed an eternity. It was as if the act of our joining was frozen in time, the only movement our deep panting breaths. I was still cumming. Even as he pulled out of me I cried out. When he took me in his arms I held onto him tightly, clutching his chest. He kissed my ear, and ran his hand down around my waist.
It took some time before anything could enter my brain other than the raw experience of our passion. When it finally did, I had to chuckle despite myself. Impulse control is the key to a successful Mistress.
Chakotay got the joke before I could explain it to him.
"Sometimes," he whispered in my ear. "You just got to have it."
We both smiled. It was so true. Especially lately. It wasn't just Chakotay. All of the Circle had been having visits from the Mistress, from pure passion with the Commander to feats of hellish endurance for the Ensign. I had had both Tom and B'Elanna, and left them staggering.
I craned my neck up to gaze into the Commander's eyes. "How often are we having sex?"
"On average? About three times a day."
"And how much more is that then usual?"
I could see him running the numbers in his head. "Good spells, about nine times a week. With crises a lot less... Say, around two and half times over normal. That doesn't include your other playmates, of course."
Men. Just have to keep count, don't they.
"I thought I was imagining things."
Chakotay kissed my forehead. "No, not at all. It's Barrows."
"Absolutely. Ever since she started duty shifts your libido has gone off the charts."
"Really. I think it's the fantasy."
"You mean Barrows' fantasy?"
"No yours. I think your ultimate fantasy is to be a part of Barrows ultimate fantasy. Let alone such a key part..."
I was going to say something smug. I didn't. His logic hadn't occurred
to me before. I looked down, burying my head in his chest. He held me
tighter. I was going to have to think this over.
It was not happenstance that Tonia Barrows found herself working beside Vorik on the primary flow regulators. Mistress Barrows was a creature of infinite patience, but her seduction of the young Vulcan wasn't going to happen on its own. She was always careful not to press too hard, to seem a distraction. In any given instance, she was just as likely to discuss work as she was engage in idle conversation. It had taken a while, but Vorik had grown comfortable with her observations, and even looked forward to engaging the Mistress' keen intellect.
It was all very reasonable. Starting from the logical assumption that a Vulcan in Starfleet must have a thirst for knowledge and understanding, she began to explore the distinctions between abstract and practical knowledge.
"I am not debating the need for abstract knowledge," Barrows said. "I'm just saying that between the two, practical experience and understanding is more useful."
"Certainly," Vorik agreed.
"Then it just occurs to me that there appears to be a gap in Vulcan education."
"In what way?"
"The understanding of emotion and its impact on other species."
"Pyschology is a field available for study."
Barrows had an odd thought. A Vulcan ship's counselor. 'Your irrational attraction to high heels is developing towards a deeper psychosis. You must curb your desires.' Just add a Klingon medic and a Pakled engineer and you'd win the Triple Crown. "Vulcan's understanding in such matters are purely theoretical. It would be like reading texts on flight mechanics and then trying to fly a starship through an asteroid field. One first needs practice."
"Vulcan culture has functioned successfully for centuries."
"Which was fine until they started interacting with other species. Now individuals such as yourself are surrounded by less 'rational' beings for months at a time. How much difficulty have you encountered because of unexpected reactions from crewmates?"
Barrows thought he might flinch on this one. But she hadn't gotten around to sex yet so he still could pretend to be unflappable. "Several," he replied.
"Then it is clear that such understanding would have an immediate impact on your ability to function efficiently in your chosen environment."
Vorik considered for a moment. "I shall endeavor to study more of the materials available in the ship's database."
"That's not good enough."
He was surprised by the boldness of her response. "Why not?"
Barrows shook her head. "It's all still theory. For true understanding you must experience what other beings do. You must have empathy."
"It is a common misconception that Vulcans do not experience emotions."
"Anyone who's seen you eat would know that."
Vorik gave her an arched eyebrow. "You watch me eat? What is gained in such an activity?"
"I'm curious about the behavior and interests of all sentient lifeforms. The nuances of their actions intrigue me. Your selection of items, the manner in which you consumed them. I've yet to meet a Vulcan gourmand, but it clearly goes beyond the mere intake of nutrients."
"I appear to be suffering from a misconception. I thought you were trained as an engineer."
About a great many things, Barrow thought to herself. "Everybody needs a hobby."
"Your argument is not without its merits. I shall have to meditate on it further before I can respond."
"Hey, take your time."
Inwardly, Barrows relished in her victory. She had brought him to the edge. All she had to do now was get him to step off. B'Elanna approached the two.
"May I have a word with you, Crewman?"
"Certainly, Lieutenant." Barrows and B'Elanna moved away from the Vulcan to talk privately.
"This is suppose to be a duty shift. That means working on duty assignments. You want to make small talk, wait until your shift is over."
"I see I didn't add enough Starfleet protocols when you were programmed."
B'Elanna looked at Barrows carefully, then glanced back at Vorik. "What, are you trying to pick him up? You're trying to pick up a Vulcan?"
Barrows did not answer.
"You are, aren't you. You're trying to get Vorik. You're insatiable. Fucking Seven every day for lunch isn't enough?" She demanded in hush tones.
Barrows looked her square in the eyes. "Begging the Lieutenant's pardon, but personal affairs of individual crew members are not your concern."
"It's not my concern that one of my staff is off fucking a Borg every day?"
The tone in Barrows voice never changed. "I apologize if I am causing
any inconvenience, but as I stated before, every crew member has a right
to a personal life. And as for Seven, she appreciates the distinction
between duty and pleasure."
Captain's Personal Log:
I knew it would be bad. I had hoped it wouldn't happen at all. But here was the Lieutenant, standing before my desk ranting about Barrows 'unreasonable behavior.' Frankly, I felt that the Mistress was showing remarkable restraint. Her reputation for inspiration had me half convinced that the entire engineering staff would be having orgies by the warp core. In fact, none of her behavior on duty was beyond normal Starfleet parameters.
"And her 'lunches' with Seven?" B'Elanna asked pointedly.
I smiled from a warm reminiscence. "Ah, nooners. I remember an Ensign Runyon from my first year out of the Academy. He and I gave new meaning to the term dining in for almost six months. You and Tom should try it."
"So you're saying it is appropriate for Barrows to spend her time seducing the entire crew while on duty."
"She is allowed to have a personal life. As long as it doesn't interfere with her work. I don't understand why you're having such a difficult time grasping it, Lieutenant."
"I just want to understand. I don't know what the boundaries are. What special compensations you want Barrows to have..."
There was a padd on my desk. I grasped it firmly and smacked it back down loudly. B'Elanna saw my expression and immediately dropped to her knees. I marched around to her in a most deliberate manner, and gently grasping her chin, firmly turned her face to mine.
"I will not repeat this again. While she is on duty, Barrows is to be treated the same as any other crew member, no more and no less. You are clearly having difficulty accepting this. Get over it."
I returned to my chair. "Furthermore, a key component of any superior subordinate relationship, whether by benefit of rank or the lash requires trust. You must trust me. You must believe that when I say that no favoritism is being shown that none is so. Do you understand."
B'Elanna was shaken. "Yes..." She didn't know what to call me.
"Captain or Mistress, in this instance, either will do."
Good choice. There was hope for her yet. Still, I was about to kick her out when the lights went dark. For a moment my head went dizzy and I felt my stomach leap into my chest. The emergency lights came on as my equilibrium returned.
"Captain," Tom called over the intercom. "We've just dropped out of warp."
B'Elanna and I rushed to the Bridge. Harry and Tom were desperately trying to restore systems. B'Elanna went to work as well.
Harry was first. "We had a spike in the power fluctuations in the port nacelle. The warp core scrammed automatically. We're on emergency power."
B'Elanna was right behind him. 'I'm still reading fluctuations within the nacelle. The warp core won't go into auto restart."
I looked at Tom. He looked back at me. "If you're wondering, no we didn't run over anything."
"B'Elanna, how long to stabilize the nacelle?"
"The computer's not accepting any of my adjustments. I think the hardware may be damaged. A while."
"Well, the damaged systems will have to be found and replaced before we can re-balance the engine."
Harry was incredulous. "Inside the nacelle?"
I knew where this was going.
The Doctor objected. Frankly, I blew him off. This was the real thing, dangerous for her if she went, dangerous for us if she didn't. Chakotay was beside me as I watched the final preparations in Engineering. B'Elanna and Barrows reviewed the systems and made one last check over the data. Seven and Lt. Carey were finishing up the replacement components.
"Now keep in mind," B'Elanna explained to Barrows. "The first trip inside is just to check out the systems. We don't actually know how bad things are in there, so we want you to take a look around. Otherwise you could put in new components just to have them blow all over again."
Carey gave her a last pat on the back and she headed for the access hatch to the nacelle. Barrows could pass through solid objects but the emitter would not; she was going to have to examine the damaged systems the same way a crew in dry dock would.
We monitored her progress from Main Engineering. I gripped the railing so tightly I thought it might break in my hand as I heard my Mistress report from inside the radioactive hell of the main drive. Her reports were regular and routine. I found myself counting the time between them, growing more anxious every time she was even a few seconds late calling in.
Chakotay gripped my shoulder. "Are you okay?" He asked gently.
"You want to leave?"
Barrows cleared the Jefferies Tube and entered the main nacelle housing. "Engineering schematics don't do this justice," she said. "It's huge in here."
B'Elanna was assigned to communicate with her. "Do you see the pulse regulator yet?"
"Just a minute, it's on the other side of this coolant ring. Just a minute. Whoops."
"Whoops?" B'Elanna asked.
"It's nothing," Barrows replied. "I just know not to do that again."
"What? What does she know not to do again?" The Doctor asked in a panic.
I was angry. "Doctor, shut up or get out." Chakotay squeezed my shoulder again. I suddenly realized the awful risk he was taking, after all of the work we had gone through to distract the crew from our relationship.
"I'll be alright," I told him. "We're all professionals here."
He took the hint and let go, but stayed close.
"Found it," Barrows chimed out.
"How does it look?" B'Elanna asked.
"Just a minute." There was an interminably long pause. "Looks okay. Just out of whack. These connections haven't been cleaned since she was built. Give me a minute."
I counted. One one thousand. Two one thousand. Three one thousand.
I was up to thirty eight when lights began blinking and systems began humming all over Engineering.
"That get it?"
B'Elanna was impressed. "Auto restart sequence engaged. Core restart in ten minutes. All systems nominal."
"Lieutenant, if you don't mind, I 'd like to look around a little and check the rest of the nacelle. It would be a pity if we had to do this all over again in an hour."
B'Elanna looked to me. My heart sank. I wanted her out now, immediately, but I knew that tone and I knew B'Elanna's look. Barrows was right. She should stay and check the other systems. I nodded.
B'Elanna reported back. "You are clear to inspect the nacelle, Crewman."
"I'm on it. Do me a favor though."
"Ask Lt. Paris not to go to warp until I'm done."
"I think we can manage that."
It took another 40 long minutes for Barrows to finish her sweep and get back to Engineering. I wanted to hug her, kneel at her feet, anything. The crew greeted her with cheers. Lt. Carey and B'Elanna got there first and kept the rest of us back.
"I'm sorry Captain, but we have to check if the emitter has suffered any lasting radioactive contamination," B'Elanna said.
The Doctor was getting on my last nerve. "You will do a full diagnostic, won't you?"
"Yes," B'Elanna replied wearily. "Crewman, I suggest that we download you from the emitter so that you aren't damaged during decontamination."
"Certainly, Lieutenant. If I may be excused, Captain."
I managed to keep my voice even. "Dismissed."
Barrows vanished, and B'Elanna and Carey began to work on the emitter. I was exhausted. I took my leave and headed straight for the Holodeck. I called for Barrows but she wouldn't appear. I did however, find a handwritten note:
Of late, Chakotay had been taking his meals on the Bridge, but it didn't take much to convince him to join me in my quarters. I greeted him with a smile and a handful of rope.
He looked at me sideways. "That's not for me, is it?"
I hugged him. "Nope. Sometimes a girl's just got to give up control."
"That's really not necessary."
I kissed him. He hesitated, then kissed back, gently, possessively, but patiently. As my mind exploded under his touch I wrapped myself around his strong, unyielding form. I felt his beautifully defined back with my hands, caressed his wonderful behind with my legs. Chakotay stood there like a statue, never breaking the kiss, but otherwise immobile. It was maddening. When did I loose the desire for foreplay?
Thus, it was I who finally stepped away, stripping off my uniform with sensual abandon. Chakotay considered me as I removed my tunic, boots and pants. I flung the last article of clothing aside and paused, my hands outstretched, the rope draped over my wrists as I heard them land on the coffee table. Chakotay didn't move.
"Please," I added.
Chakotay mulled it over. "No," he announced.
"Please, Chakotay," I repeated.
"No, Kathryn. You're out of control."
"Put me in control."
"I'll make love to you any time you want. But this... abandon. It's not like you Kathryn."
I ran my hands to my chest, letting the rope play over my breasts. "Then make love to me."
"I'll come back when you've gotten some rest."
I was heartbroken. I wanted him so badly. It wasn't fair, how could he deny me? Then I noticed two things. One was that he had yet to make a move for the door. The other was the massive erection in his pants. I sauntered over to his side.
"Take me Chakotay."
I turned my back to him and ran my bare ass against his crotch. His firm cock felt so good between my cheeks even through the material.
"No, won't do it. Not going to do it. Wouldn't be prudent."
I bent over and rubbed my damp bush against him. "Take it, its yours."
"Not very ladylike, Kathryn."
"I don't want to be your lady. I want to be your slut."
He took me by the arms and pulled me upright. "I prefer the lady," he whispered in my ear. "But the slut will do."
This time his kiss was savage, devouring. I moaned into his mouth, my legs collapsing, my weight supported only by his strong arms. My hands were everywhere. I didn't explore his body, I just grasped about blindly. I needed to feel him.
He took the rope from me and tossed it aside.
"No! Please! I want it!"
"Want what?" He asked.
"I want it!"
"Want what?" He repeated calmly. "Say it."
He was such a bastard. I was there in his arms, naked, his hot breath on my throat, my body at his command, and it was not enough. It was not enough for me, and it was not enough for him to oblige. He was going to make me beg. So sure that was what I wanted. He was always so sure. I screamed and pounded his chest. He ignored it.
"Fuck me!" I shouted.
He gripped me tighter. "Say it. Say why you brought the rope."
I collapsed against him sobbing. "Tie me up. Tie me up and fuck me. Please Chakotay, please. Please!"
He gathered me in my arms and carried me to the bed. He placed me gently on the mattress, then went back for the rope. My heart was pounding. My chest was heaving. My thighs felt slick. Chakotay came back slowly, untangling the rope as he did so. When he had it recoiled to his satisfaction, he leaned over and gently kissed me on the forehead.
"Thank you," I gasped. "Thank you."
He took his time with the rope, going around my back, over and under and through. He wound it about my arms and legs and between my breasts. As I lay there being turned by his powerful hands this way and that, I dimly remembered what I had originally intended. I had intended that he tie me firmly to the bed, ankles and wrists, spread wide for his pleasure and mine. Chakotay apparently had other, more elaborate plans. This was more along the lines of classic Oriental rope bondage. He was wrapping me like a present. I was completely powerless, unable to move, unable to do anything more than breathe. As a few lines passed between my legs I began to wonder if I would even be able to have sex. Eventually I began to relax and give myself over. I was nothing except the object of Chakotay's attention. And for the moment, that was enough.
He finally ran out of rope, and with the last of it, he hogtied me. My breathing had slowed, and Chakotay gently stroked my hair.
"Better?" He asked.
"A bit. Thank you. Now if you don't mind, I have a favor to ask."
"And that is?"
"Would you please get out of those clothes and fuck me?"
He kissed me again. "Anything for my Kathryn."
Of course he had to make a big deal of getting undressed. Now I imagined how exasperating it must be for poor Harry or Tom. Chakotay removed each article one at a time, then carefully folded it and laid it aside. He crept up to the bed and climbed in next to me. He fondled my bound nipples, and idly played with my dripping pussy. I quivered to his touch; it was the only thing I could do. He worked his way down my abdomen and latched onto my throbbing clit. It was wonderous. But it wasn't what I wanted.
"Please, what?" He murmured between mouthfuls of me.
"You're going to make me beg, aren't you?"
"You made the rules."
I exhaled. "Please fuck me."
"That's doesn't sound very convincing.'
"Please, Chakotay, please."
His response was to lick my thighs. I asked, I begged, I pleaded and I finally screamed for him to have me. He kissed his way up my body until our tongues met.
It took some maneuvering on both our parts. I knew I was going to have a backache for a week. I was wrapped so tight that I thought I would burst when he entered me. The first stroke put me over the edge. It took a few moments for Chakotay to work out the right combination of balance and rhythm. Then he drove into me with vigor. He held me by the ropes as he slammed into me. I lost all perception of time. All I could feel was pleasure and light. As the intensity of his pounding increased, the pleasure was overwhelming and I finally passed out.
When I came to I was still bound, with Chakotay curled about me. We just lay there, his body massed around my immobile one. Time was no longer important.
Eventually Chakotay began to stir.
"So, do I untie you or just leave you like this?"
I sighed. "Well, if the situation were different, you'd leave me like this until your shift ended. Unfortunately, I don't have that luxury."
He straightened himself out and began to consider the knots. "I hope I can remember how this all fits together."
"Your kidding, right?"
Then the lights went out, and I felt a sickeningly familiar sensation of vertigo.
"Not again," I moaned.
Chakotay leaped from the bed, and dug out his com badge. Tom quickly confirmed that we were again incapacitated. Chakotay began pulling on his uniform.
"Ahem," I said.
Somewhere Chakotay found a sharp knife and cut me loose. He massaged
my wrists and ankle and helped me pull on my clothes. He made me pause
at the door and checked my hair. I checked his. Now suitable for presentation,
we hurried out.
"It's the exact same problem," B'Elanna said. "Same spike, same subsystem, same nacelle."
No one could figure out why, although B'Elanna had a guess. "Clearly, she didn't fix it the last time."
Barrows was not in the Briefing Room. Her rank wasn't high enough to make her appearance required. Still, I regretted that no one could defend her. I did what I could.
"Do we know what caused it the first time? If it's an external influence, than the system could be re-effected."
Tuvok was straight forward. "So far, sensor data has indicated nothing that might cause the malfunction. While it is possible that an external phenomena may be the underlying cause, the difficulty remains. As well trained in theoretical physics and engineering as Barrows is, there remains the stronger possibility that she has missed something."
"Do you have a better alternative than our waiting until we can be towed to the nearest friendly spacedock?"
"I do," B'Elanna replied. "The VR interface. I could fix the engine."
Personal interactions were being pushed aside. I had to prioritize. "Seven, is the interface ready?"
Seven nodded. "There are some minor adjustments, but nothing that wouldn't be required while acclimating a specific operator."
Logic can be harsh. "Make it so."
The interface was small, a tiny round disk worn behind the ear. The heart of the system was several terraquads of memory space in the main computer. We gathered in the Holodeck. Seven monitored the interface. I monitored Engineering. Lt. Carey helped Barrows to the Jefferies Tube. Seven rolled out a chair loaded with restraints. She calmly checked the clamps, then held out a blindfold.
"We have ascertained that it is better to deprive the subject of mobility while using the system." We were shocked. She could tell. "It, as well as the blindfold, keeps one from being confused by unnecessary stimuli."
Later, I was going to ask her how they worked all that out. In the meantime, B'Elanna put on the blindfold and was strapped in. "The Equinox never needed one of these," she muttered.
"Barrows assured me it was essential," Seven answered.
B'Elanna sighed. "Let's get do it."
The interface was activated and B'Elanna twitched. She didn't appear to be in any pain, but it was clearly disorienting. "Sorry, Lieutenant. Got a little dizzy."
There was a pause. "Yeah, I needed it."
Events unfolded much as they had before. Seven assured me that Barrows reached the module and replaced it outright. An even more thorough diagnostic followed which uncovered nothing.
I was nervous, but not as before. I don't know if it was that the uncertainties of the previous mission were now past or a growing anxiety that some deeper problem lay underneath.
Power was restored and Barrows returned to Engineering. Seven deactivated the system and we both helped B'Elanna out of the chair.
"Wow," she said.
"What was it like?" I asked.
"Strange. I don't know if I can really describe it at all. You had to be there."
"How is the nacelle?" Seven asked.
"Fine. I can't find anything else wrong. Even the module. I replaced it so we could examine it. I couldn't see anything wrong. Carey should be working on it now."
The lights went out.
"Fuck!" B'Elanna shouted.
"I don't know if that would be appropriate given the circumstances," Seven replied.
This was getting us nowhere. "Engineering, report."
Carey responded. "We're oh for three, Captain."
We spent an hour going over the reports. An examination of the module produced nothing. B'Elanna was very quiet.
"Until we can find the root cause, repair is pointless."
B'Elanna was at her wits end. "We've examined everything."
"Units don't just fail, Lieutenant. Somewhere there's a cause, and we're going to have to find out what it is."
"Captain?" It was Barrows, on the intercom.
"I have an idea..."
"I don't know how to describe it exactly," she said. "But there is something about the fluctuations. I think they are the key. I request permission to investigate further."
We were gathered in Engineering. "Investigate how? With the emitter?"
"No, I think this requires the direct approach. I plan to abandon the holographic interface entirely and download myself directly into the affected system."
B'Elanna was stunned. "You can do that?"
"You'd be surprised where I can go on this ship." She read my concern. "It's more efficient than tramping around the nacelle with that damn emitter."
"You think it'll work?" I asked.
"Call it an instinct."
B'Elanna shrugged. "I don't know what else to try."
"No. It's too dangerous."
"That's an order, Crewman. I'm not putting you at risk over a hunch. B'Elanna. I want you and Seven to start giving me alternatives. If the nacelle won't work, maybe we can bypass it and find a way to run on half power until a solution is found."
Chakotay intercepted me in a turbolift.
"It's not fair you know."
"I don't want to hear it." I didn't.
Chakotay stopped the lift. "I know what she means to you. It would be like me asking you to go in there. But your over protective desires are putting an unnecessary burden on this ship."
"We'll get over it."
"What do you mean?"
Chakotay was blunt. "This isn't fair to Barrows. She asked to be treated like any other crew member. You're holding back for personal reasons and she's going to resent it."
"Not anymore so than what she was doing earlier. B'Elanna thinks it might even be safer."
"It's my prerogative. Computer, resume lift."
"I feel I must remind the Captain of something she stated when this all began. If one cannot handle the requirements of the job, one doesn't deserve the title."
It hurt. It hurt a lot. Not because he was insubordinate. Because he was right. The lift doors opened onto the Bridge. I wiped my eyes and stepped out.
"Alright. She goes."
You wouldn't believe how I spent my afternoon. Dear Kathryn was holding it back, but I could see that it hurt. She needn't have torn herself apart so. I was perfectly honest. You'd be surprised where I've been on this ship. During the Kyrian raid on Voyager, I beat a hasty retreat and hid out in the replicator system.
In fact, most of my experiences in my non corporeal state have been spent thus. Voyager is a vast world unto itself, full of terrain and surprises that have no conventional explanation. I moved onto the nacelle and then into the subsystem itself.
I did not attempt to fix the system, but merely understand it. The module was still active, still fluctuating in an unacceptable manner. I paused and listened. I waited, slowly adjusting my own programming to mimic that of the module. In some sense, I became the engine.
The pulsing unit was part of me now, and I was part of it.
And I was not alone.
It took a while to spot them, and it was more than one, so perfectly blended were they to the energy patterns of the main drive. Playing in the anti-matter stream, giggling at the splashes they made. Then they spotted me.
They stared, but didn't respond. How did they communicate? Did they communicate?
They were unafraid. They were not aggressive. They were puzzled. They seemed to be in contact with each other. And they seemed to say, 'what is it?'
I reached out to them, out meaning within as well as without. Don't try and understand it, it'll only make you go cross-eyed. I made contact. I learned a lot, and life got a lot more complicated.
One thing was clear. I was out of my depth.
Barrows says the entities are called Us. That being the closest equivalent to a name they have for themselves. Since they seem unaware of lifeforms of any kind, they have no real name for their own species. Pan-dimensional entities, they have encountered our warp signature and found it compelling.
After consultation with my staff, I used the VR interface to link up with the EEH and then follow it into the drive system.
I cannot adequately express what this experience is like. The interface with Barrows was much like being in a holoprogram, only different. Never having possessed someone before, I can only say that based on the writings of those that have that the effect is similar.
But there are no words to describe the journey into Voyager itself. Many computer systems have been described as vast landscapes or rooms. All have used analogies of conventional modes to convey an understanding. Even the Q Continuum, which was specifically beyond human understanding still manifested itself in a number of 'normal,' although admittedly surreal, environments.
None of which does any good here. I was highly disoriented, and it was only with the aid of the Emergency Engineering Holoprogram that I was able to continue.
As Barrows had explained, actual contact took some time, since they were beings so alien that even understanding their existence was difficult. It was like staring into an optical illusion until the deeper pattern emerges.
Barrows spotted them first. As far as could be determined, it was the same individuals as before.
"What are you?" They seemed to ask.
Formal titles were meaningless. Proving our existence involved some rather esoteric philosophy. Negotiations were simple. Once they accepted that there were forms of life other than their own, they readily agreed to leave us alone. They had no interest in further contact.
Power was restored and did not again fail. After navigating our
way back to the relative normality of the Holodeck, the interface was cut.
No lasting effects seem to have been felt by either myself or the EEH.
Captain's Personal Log:
But there were short term effects. I was speechless. This had been a greater degree of intimacy than I had ever known with my Mistress. She just smiled at me.
"Are you alright?" She finally asked.
"Yes, I think so. Thank you, Mistress for that wonderful opportunity."
"Think nothing of it. Believe me, the pleasure was all mine."
Barrows felt she could get use to all this adulation. Indeed, it seemed that cheering was the order of the day every time she finished the most menial task.
"Perhaps," she thought to herself. "I should see what happens if I mop the floor."
Vorik's arrival added to her day.
"Your insights today proved invaluable."
"Thank you, Vorik. It's what they pay me for."
"I thought you were Starfleet property."
"It's a joke."
Barrows thought he was almost smiling.
"Tell me," he continued. "How did you know they were there?"
Barrows shrugged. "Instinct. Intuition. Imagination. Any word starting with an I works."
"That too. Logic dictated that if the problem had no answer, that we were asking the wrong question."
"Thank you. Without your actions Voyager might have been forced to remain in the Delta Quadrant."
"You're welcome. But I thought such pleasantries were irrelevant to Vulcans."
"I have decided to take your advice. Clearly, when in the company of emotional beings, emotional insight is a key skill."
"But I thought I was only Starfleet Property."
"You are clearly more than that. Barrows, you have exceeded your program."
"Please, call me Tonia."
"As you wish, Tonia..."
Further conversation was interrupted by the arrival of Lt. Torres. Once more, Barrows was taken aside, and scolded for unnecessary fraternization. This time, however, Barrows noticed something in her eyes. It was a challenge, one mixed with desire.
"Permission to speak freely, Lieutenant."
"Go ahead, Crewman."
"You want it, you got it. Tonight, Engineering, upper deck. Be there and clear the compartment."
"You think that'll be enough?"
"What do you think?"
Their stares were a contest of wills in itself. Torres blinked.
She left Barrows alone to contemplate her latest victory, as well as the
inevitability of the victory that night.
B'Elanna Torres arrived at the appointed hour, and found an adequate excuse to relieve the night shift. She waited, pacing the room, idly checking the same systems for the twentieth time. She wore her uniform. But she had taken the time to shower and change. She had selected her under garments with the greatest care. She had considered leather, lace or nothing at all. In the end she chose something skimpy and deep purple. It matched her skin tone and had a slightly frilly detailing that would be unexpected.
B'Elanna realized that her only chance was to be unexpected. It was the only real weapon at her command. It never occurred to her that by accepting Barrows challenge she had already lost, that indeed she accepted it only because she would lose, that she deeply desired to lose, fully and completely to her.
It was almost an hour later when Barrows finally appeared. When she did she immediately crushed what little resistance Torres could mount.
"Wearing my favorite purple thong I see," she announced upon first glimpsing the still fully clothed Lieutenant.
"Mi.. Mistress..." She was trembling as she found herself standing at attention.
"Boots, pet, boots."
Torres stood and stared for a moment, unable to know what to do. She took a step towards Mistress Barrows and was immediately corrected.
"That's not the way to do it."
Torres paused again then dropped to her knees and crawled across the deck to Barrows' feet. Barrows had not changed at all. She wore nothing special for the occasion. She had none of the trappings of her lifestyle. Her boots were standard Starfleet issue, unremarkable in any way. The Lieutenant found it insane, yet could not resist as she found herself leaning down to the deck and lapping the synthetic leather. She tongued the right boot, then with Barrows encouragement the left. Her movements became more sensual as she ran her mouth across the surface, alternately lapping and sucking the boot.
"That's it pet. Polish them well. I want to be able to see my face in them."
She licked and lapped and sucked until she was forced away by the Mistress' strong hand.
"Now, I suppose," Barrows yawned. "We'll get to the pain thing. Harry?"
Torres was shocked to see Kim enter carrying a large bag. "But, I thought..."
"That it was just going to be the two of us? My dear sweet thing, I told you to clear the compartment, I didn't say I wouldn't fill it up again." Barrows turned her attention to Mr. Kim. "Now then, this is B'Elanna's special session. She's been a little difficult lately and needs some fine tuning. It may get a little rough, but remember, this is all for B'Elanna's benefit. Do you understand?"
"Yes Mistress," Kim replied.
"Good. Now hoist her up."
Mr. Kim gently took Torres in his arms and began to tie her to the compartment railing. As he finished, the Mistress removed a large bullwhip from the bag. "Thank you, Harry. Have a seat. I do so love an audience."
Barrows uncoiled the bullwhip's full length. Torres' breathing raced.
"I didn't expect this. Not this."
Barrows paused. She moved to Torres' side and whispered in her ear. "If you think it's too much just say so. This is all for your benefit. We can stop this any time you ask."
She waited for a reply. It would never come. Torres could not admit failure to Barrows, not alone and certainly not in the presence of Harry.
Barrows resume her stance and gave the bullwhip a good test crack. It left a mark on the rail. "You know," Barrows said. "In the old days we almost never got to use these on real people. Thank goodness for dermal regenerators."
With that she let go a mighty crack that bit just above B'Elanna Torres' back. The next stroke tore the material. The Lieutenant cried out with pain and surprise. As the strokes continued to land she attempted to stifle her owns shouts, but to no avail. It was brutal. When Barrows was finished Lt. Torres' uniform was in shreds about her. There were marks and blood, but Barrows kept the damage surprisingly low.
Casting the whip aside, Barrows attended to Torres' wounds, sterilizing the area, sealing the injuries and putting the tissues on the mend. But she didn't heal them completely and she did nothing for the pain. Afterwards she stepped back to consider her handiwork.
Mr. Kim produced a bottle and a glass from the bag, and poured for the Mistress. She took her time sipping the drink.
"What was next... Oh yes, I remember." Barrows reached deep into the bag and produced an enormous wooden dildo.
"I believe this is yours -- Big Woody. You know I've heard that it's a sign of insecurity among men who name their dicks. I wonder if that applies to strap ons as well."
She brought the implement to Torres' lips. "Suck it."
Torres began to follow her Mistress' command, lapping at the object the way she had the boot. Soon, she was taking virtually its entire girth in her mouth.
"Now remember," Barrows cautioned. "The only lubricant it gets is what you put on it."
Torres began to panic at the thought, and tried to increase the salvia, slobbering on the wooden appendage.
Barrows pulled it from her mouth. "Wait. This scene needs... more people. Seven?"
"Yes, Mistress," Seven replied as she too entered the room.
"Have a seat by Harry. Now dear, back to work. Suck it, suck it."
Torres complied, redoubling her efforts. From the corner of her eye she could see the Borg sit beside the Ensign. It was hopeless. No matter what she had imagined, Barrows was going to make it a hundred times worse. She considered asking for Barrows to stop, begging for her to stop, but then her defeat would be complete. Torres felt she had no choice but to suffer. As she felt she deserved.
Barrows took the dildo away from the Lieutenant's mouth and moved behind her. She placed it between her quivering cheeks.
"Now, this may hurt."
With that she shoved it inside. She paused in spots as she carefully, but determinedly worked the enormous phallus into Torres' ass. The Lieutenant screamed as Barrows continued. She had been taken anally by a Klingon only once, a long time ago when they were both very drunk. She thought she would explode. Big Woody was bigger than he was.
Satisfied that Torres had accepted the entire implement, Barrows stepped back.
"You seem surprised. Don't you know that a good Mistress never uses anything that they haven't tried out on themselves first?" Barrows gave it a quarter twist. "A bit ridiculous, but not without possibilities. I thought it worked best when one did this."
Barrows began to fuck the Lieutenant with long, twisting, corkscrew movements. Torres screamed out from pain, pleasure and exhaustion. Torres could feel the sensations taking over, the intensity building within her. Not like this. She never expected it to be like this.
Barrows smacked her hard across her back, silencing all thoughts of pleasure.
"I didn't say you could come, did I?"
"No, Mistress," Torres gasped.
"I think you should take a break for a while. Just rest now. I'll find something else to amuse me."
Barrows approached the others. She pulled Mr. Kim to his feet and kissed him deeply and passionately. She glanced once at Seven and snapped her fingers. Without hesitation, the Borg dropped to her knees and began licking Barrows' boots. Torres moaned.
Barrows turned. "Wait dears. We seem to be ignoring her." Barrows came back to the Lieutenant's side. "You just have to be at the center of attention. Even if that attention is for abject humiliation."
"Yes, Mistress." Mr. Kim came to their side. Barrows dropped to her knees and quickly had Kim's erection between her lips. The Mistress sucked him with vigor. Kim grabbed the railing to steady himself. The Mistress paused.
"Seven. Help me."
The Borg moved behind the Ensign, and wrapped her arms around his chest. She gently nipped and tugged at his ears and neck as the Mistress resumed her efforts.
Torres could hear Mr. Kim's shortening breath. She'd heard it before. He was close, so close. At the last instant the Mistress moved away, and directed Mr. Kim's ejaculate at Torres' face. The sticky fluid covered her, and she again gasped.
"Thank you, Mr. Kim," Barrows said.
"You're welcome, Mistress."
"Say thank you, B'Elanna."
"Thank you, Harry."
Barrows had Kim sit down. "Your turn Seven."
Seven of Nine approached. She was quickly stripped and moved between the Lieutenant's arms and against her face.
Torres complied, tasting the beautiful Borg, licking her as best she could. She could taste Mr. Kim mixed in with that of Seven. The Borg grabbed her hair and forced her in closer. She could still feel the object implanted in her rectum.
She worked harder and harder, pushing Seven on, being helped by the Mistress, who soon was working Seven's breasts. Seven began to buck, and Barrows steadied her. At last, it all became too much and Seven of Nine came with a long and deep moan.
"Now let's see," Barrows contemplated. "Harry came, and Seven came. That means that the only one left is... me."
Barrows removed her own clothing and assumed a posture identical to Torres' at the Lieutenant's side. "Harry? Are you ready?"
He took up position behind Barrows and entered her easily.
"Harder!" Barrows shouted. "Harder!"
Mr. Kim obliged. Torres watched the young Ensign fuck the Mistress for all he was worth. She could only stare. She was too tired to even moan.
Barrows threw herself into it as well, and soon they both came in a torrent of shouts and grunts. The Mistress took a moment to get her breath back.
"Thank you two, you've both been very helpful."
"You're welcome, Mistress." They both replied.
Barrows turned her attention back on the bound Lieutenant. "And as for you. I hope I don't have to explain why this was necessary, or that it shouldn't happen again."
Torres turned her weary head. "No, Mistress."
"Good. Now what do you say?"
"Thank you, Mistress."
Barrows patted her on the head. "Right. Cut her down and send her home. I have other matters to attend to." She cut the feed and left the room.
Back in her cabin, Janeway removed the interface and opened her eyes. She had found her own solution to the chair, and had Commander Chakotay's naked prone body pinning her to the bed.
"How was it?" He asked.
"Wow," Janeway responded.
"Sounds like it was as good as the real thing."
"Hmmm. I think I'll need to compare more first." She kissed the Commander sweetly on the lips.
"Okay," he replied.
Barrows was flush with power. She didn't get the opportunity for such Storm und Drang very often, and she had to admit that she missed it. Not that one wants filet mignon every day she thought.
She wouldn't have admitted that she was hanging around Engineering for Vorik, even to herself, but she was. She greeted him warmly, but with restraint, and steered him to a more isolated section. To her satisfaction, he continued to call her Tonia.
"I tried something called quiche lorraine today," he said.
"The results were less than satisfactory."
"Well, not all emotional experiences are good ones. That's what practice is for. Look at it this way. You learned something new."
"I certainly did, Tonia."
"I am considering the Hydroponics Bay."
"Sight or smell?"
"Both. It's more efficient that way."
"Can't argue with that," Barrows replied. She stayed close to Vorik, as close as she dared. She wondered if he could sense her arousal.
"I wish to thank you again for opening such possibilities to me."
"It's the least I can do. I'd just like to think you'd let me help you open more."
"I don't know. Aesthetics. Other sensations. All beings need sensations, even Vulcans."
"That may prove useful."
She made an excuse of privacy to push Vorik against a bulkhead. She knew he could feel her chest pressed against his. He was certain he could smell her hair.
"I can be very useful. After all, I'm here to serve."
"You are an intriguing being. So many emotions. I'm having trouble sorting them out..."
"Let me help."
She kissed him. It was simple, on the lips, almost chaste. She put her arms around him and felt his arms go around her. She shifted her hips and felt his growing erection.
Then he pulled away.
"I must apologize, Tonia."
"For what? I don't mind."
"I know. I must apologize, Tonia, that I cannot be what you want."
His hands dropped by his sides.
"You pose a tempting offer, but I fear that it is too much. I am not ready."
She ran her thigh over his crotch. "Vorik, you're as ready as you need to be. All the rest is just a matter of control. I can teach you that."
"Perhaps. But I am uncomfortable with the notion of abandoning all of my past so quickly. I need time to assimilate."
Barrows stepped back. "I don't ever want to make you uncomfortable."
"Thank you, Tonia. I hope this does not cause any problems in our working relationship."
"Now why would it do that?"
"I understand that unrequited affections can complicate work environments."
"Don't worry about it. I'm only software."
"That is a falsehood. However, I respect your response."
"As I yours."
"May I go, Tonia?"
"Of course. Your will is always your own."
With that, Vorik returned to his station, and Barrows left Engineering
to wander Voyager.
Security Officer's Personal Log:
I was awakened by the arrival of the EEH at my door. It was rapidly apparent that this was not a crisis of ship wide proportions. Yet she impressed upon me that it was a crisis, and I found no reason to doubt her sincerity.
"Don't ask me why I came here. I don't know why I came here."
"Why did you come?"
"I said I don't know."
"Is it that you do not know, or is it that you do not want to admit it?"
"You tell me."
"Very well. Logic dictates that if it were of a technical nature, you would have gone to either Lt. Torres or Seven of Nine. Most personal matters would involve the Captain, therefore this is something you do not want her to know of. If it were a crisis between the two of you, you would seek out Commander Chakotay. That you are avoiding them, but still in contact with an individual that knows your real identity, means that it involves some aspect of that identity. You seek out someone with an empathetic understanding of the problem, therefore it concerns Vulcans."
"Does it," she replied.
"If I may be so bold, it would appear that your attempt to seduce Ensign Vorik has failed."
"What makes you think that I'm trying to seduce Vorik?"
"Human fascination with Vulcan sexuality is long recognized. It is even addressed in Vulcan education. Little is available about the resort you ran on Earth, but it is known that Vulcans have been members. Logic dictates that on Voyager, Vorik would be a prime candidate for your energies."
The hologram sighed. "I screwed up. I had a chance, a really good chance, and I blew it. I pushed too hard."
"That would not be difficult."
"Who asked you?"
"You did, when you entered my quarters."
She explained to me the history of her 'campaign.' It was impressive. She had planned it carefully. This gave her no comfort.
"That's what is so irritating about all this. I know how important patience is and still I pushed too hard."
"You overreacted because of your sexual domination of Lt. Torres. Your irrational attraction to Ensign Vorik can only lead to a deeper psychosis. You must curb your desire."
She was taken aback. It took her several minutes to respond.
"I just hope I haven't screwed him up permanently."
"That remains to be seen. However, his mind is strong. His will is strong. He will recover."
"You're not just saying that to cheer me up."
"Vulcans do not cheer up."
"If I were to do so, though, I would say that your campaign has not necessarily failed, only suffered a set back. Your plan is ambitious, and requires a long period to germinate. He rejected the timing, not the concept."
"I thought you didn't approve."
"I do not. But he is a mature individual. He most be allowed to make his own decisions and his own mistakes."
She seemed to consider my words carefully. Her resolve hardened, her face brightened.
"Thank you, Tuvok. That really helped."
"I have considered applying for my counseling certification. Will you be 'alright?'"
"Yes. I think I will. After all, tomorrow is another day."