The Secret Logs of Mistress Janeway
Full Circle: The Fourth Estate
A Word From the Mistress: Well, gentle readers, we have reached the end of this part of Voyager’s journey. I have learned a lot from the travels, and I am grateful for all that it has given me. I have made incredible friends that have inspired or shared amazing adventures. I have even had career paths open that were most unexpected. And I am very grateful for the praise and encouragement that has come from my wonderful readers. While the loose ends in the series finale are tied up to my satisfaction with this chapter and the epilogue, you will hear from the crew of Voyager from time to time. Their voices are too strong to remain silent in my head. I hope you will pop in for a visit then. Enjoy!
Captain's Personal Log:
“You’ve changed, Dr. Bashir,” I observed casually.
I didn’t know why the thought popped into my head. At that moment, I was fighting the exhaustion clawing at me. Despite my bravado, it was impossible to rest with nearly all of Starfleet following close by. Since arriving at Deep Space Nine, I was also keenly aware that Chakotay was waiting a few decks below. I had no idea how he felt about all that had happened. Enterprise only contacted the station to arrange sanctuary. Captain Picard could not afford to broadcast our plans. Thus, I had no idea what I was facing with the Commander. I needed his arms desperately, but I feared his anger. I had no defense against it. It was my foolish trust in the Admiralty that had brought us to this place and this situation. I could not blame Chakotay if he did not welcome me.
I could not bear to think about that for the moment. There was a strange exam to endure. My focus was on the Doctor who had been eyeing me warily throughout the procedure.
“I have seen a lot of senseless death,” he replied easily.
“That’s apparent in those dark, expressive eyes,” I murmured smiling at his blush. “But there is something fundamentally changed about your persona. It’s as if you have learned to be at ease in your own skin.”
Bashir looked at me sharply before a slow, wry smile spread across his lips. “Dax told me that you were extremely perceptive.”
“Oh? Which Dax?”
Bashir chuckled then. “Both of them actually. Jadzia spoke of your conversations as delightful skirmishes that led to… where they would lead…”
The blush grew deeper turning his tawny skin coppery. He busied himself with his instruments.
“And Ezri?” I asked.
“She thinks of your exchanges -- even long distance correspondence -- as a minefield,” he replied. “She drafted that report on Voyager’s mental health four times before submitting it. She feared it being explosive for you. Frankly, she feared your wrath.”
“She should have,” I laughed. “It was explosive. And I shall be forever grateful. But let’s get back to you, evasive Doctor.”
“Very well, Captain. How do you think I’ve changed?”
I considered him as he moved about the room running his tests. “You seem more comfortable with yourself -- not so eager to please or impress. Were you freed from some impediment?”
Bashir gaped at me for a moment. He then tapped his findings into a padd before calling Colonel Kira and informing her that I was cleared.
“I am an Augment, Captain. I had been hiding it for most of my life,” he replied holding my gaze. He was looking for fear or judgment from my eyes. He found none.
“You no longer hide,” I said. “Good. The change serves you well.”
“Thank you. It was been a relief,” he replied.
“And where are your enhanced abilities?” I asked. My tone must have been more feral than I thought. Bashir looked startled then he burst into laughter.
“Have mercy, Captain!” He exclaimed. “Since my parents are responsible, they would have hardly adjusted that. It’s my mind.”
“That’s the best part of a man,” I observed.
“Enough!” he said raising his hands. “Don’t you have a Captain and a Commander awaiting you?”
“I do, don’t I?”
The Doctor was then observing me closely. He likely sensed my sudden apprehension at the reception that awaited me.
“Won’t you join me for a drink? Perhaps you can bring your Engineer with the charming brogue, so he won’t have to lurk in cabinets.”
Bashir’s head whipped around to notice someone halfway under a console. He glowered at the pair of legs protruding from it.
“Some people think I need protection in my own Sickbay despite my enhanced abilities,” he quipped ruefully.
“That sounds delightful,” I said. “How long have you been together?”
“Captain!” Bashir exclaimed as the Engineer seemed to hit his head. “Your crew and… admirers await. And I am certain that the Colonel is anxious to speak to you.”
I gave a long suffering sigh that made the Doctor laugh. He was right. It was time to face the music. If only it was music. Picard left me with assurances that he would be waiting for me when I came down. I could only hope that for his sake, he did not get in Chakotay’s way.
While Bashir lectured the legs sticking out of the console on personal space and professional roles, I took a deep breath and relaxed. Then I pulled my thigh length leather jacket on. I had on a leather skit that went to my mid calf and black leather knee-hi boots. The shirt was pristine white and silky soft. The leathers were as well. I felt wonderful in the clothes which made them effective armor. I thought I looked cool and elegant. Bashir seemed to think me intimidating when he turned back. Perhaps it was my ever faithful riding crop. In any case, he seemed relieved to usher me out of Sickbay.
In the corridor, I was once again joined by the strapping Bajoran security guard who had escorted me from Enterprise.
“Good luck Captain,” Bashir said. “Though I doubt that you need it.”
“Thank you, Doctor. But don’t think our little chat is over,” I smiled. “I’ll see you at Quark’s.”
He shook his head with a rueful smile. “I have no doubt about that.”
Seven and Icheb were waiting at the turbolift. They were free to go ahead and join Voyager’s crew on the Promenade, but it appeared that my beautiful Borg did not want to go too far from me, even to see Chakotay. And Icheb seemed intent on being near Seven. They both feared being separated. The relief upon my appearance was clear on both their faces.
Our reunion was brief. The turbolift doors opened and Colonel Kira was before us in an instant. She had a wicked glint in her beautiful dark eyes as she considered us.
“You are the most unique group of refugees this station has ever had,” she quipped. “Certainly the most dangerous.”
“I can’t thank you enough for rolling out the welcome wagon,” I replied. “I apologize for all the unexpected company.”
“Don’t, Captain. As I told Commander Chakotay, we don’t mind a little excitement now and then,” she said. “We like tweaking Starfleet’s nose even more.”
“We aim to please,” I said dryly.
“Before we get to specific plans, I think you should show your face to your crew,” Kira said. “They’re all but coming out of their skins.”
“Lead on,” I said with more confidence than I felt.
When we stepped onto the Promenade, my heart was in my throat. There were a lot of people milling about. No doubt they were curious about the cause of all the excitement. I spotted Tom and Harry first. They smiled in relief then started to thread their way through the crowd. I saw others of the Maquis crew coming over as well. They also looked pleased and relieved.
As we stepped further onto the Promenade, he was in front of us. Chakotay seemed to appear from nowhere. For a moment he stared at us, then at me. He was dressed as I last saw him. He was fighting fatigue as hard as I was, but he looked delicious. Best of all, he looked happy to see me. The fire I saw in his eyes from the Enterprise’s view screen was not anger. It was everything I needed.
I never got out the apology. In the next instant, I was pressed against that beloved body while he kissed me thoroughly. The kiss was possessive and gently rousing. Still, my toes had curled and my knees were weak by the time he raised his lips from mine.
His dark eyes drank me in. “Gods… Kathryn…”
I sighed resting my forehead on his shoulder. It was then I realized that I was still holding Seven’s hand. I tugged her toward us.
“Seven…” Chakotay whispered. Then I felt her pressed into the embrace as he kissed her as well. She squeezed my hand and I felt her lean heavily as her knees also failed a little. He then held us both for a long moment before releasing us.
I could vaguely hear applause as we stepped away from each other. I was lost in my Commander’s dark eyes. They were misted over with emotion.
“Twenty-four,” he said softly.
I nodded. Chakotay turned from me then to smile at Icheb. Seven’s hand fell from mine as we turned to greet the rest of the crew. Tom’s impetuous embrace had me spinning in mid-air as he twirled me twice.
“I take it all is well with B’Elanna and Miral,” I said as he set me on my feet.
Tom’s expression was soft. “Yes. Gods, Captain. I think you can pull off anything.”
I gently stroked his jaw. “I usually have a lot of great help. Let’s hope we have one more miracle in us.”
Tom nodded then inclined his head to the right. I looked over to find Harry Kim sheepishly standing nearby. At my pilot’s behest, he stepped forward with eyes cast down.
“Captain, I am such an idiot…” he began.
“Occasionally,” I replied. “But that makes you a man.”
I took him in my arms and he responded by crushing me to him.
“Forgive me?” He asked in a whisper against my ear.
“Beautiful First One,” I murmured. “Of course… but it will not happen again.”
“No, it won’t,” he said. “May I kiss your boots?”
“Perhaps. Certainly not here,” I replied as I pulled away. “You should tend to Tom for now. But keep a log.”
Harry gave me a wicked grin. “I have been.”
I winked at him then turned to find Picard and Crusher nearby staring at me incredulously. Other members of Enterprise’s bridge crew were about trying to look like they weren’t staring. Colonel Kira ambled over just then. I found myself filled with sudden mirth.
“We’re an inordinately close crew,” I said with a shrug. Then I felt Chakotay’s warmth close behind me. Doctor Crusher’s face grew brighter.
“You must be Commander Chakotay,” she said extending her hand. “Beverly Crusher.”
“Delighted,” Chakotay said as he leaned forward to shake her hand. He was not leaving my side.
“Forgive my manners, Chakotay, this is Captain Picard,” I said.
“I’ve heard a great deal about you,” Picard said as they shook hands -- very firmly.
“As have I,” Chakotay replied smoothly.
The men stared at each other for a long moment. I wondered for an instant whether they’d whip out their equipment and spray me.
“I know we could all use some stiff refreshment,” Kira said blushing at her own words. “Let’s go to Quark’s. Most of the plotting for this region goes on there anyway.”
Wonderful, that’s what every tense social situation needs, alcohol.
We followed the Colonel. The residents and usual visitors of the station ceased paying attention to us once the kissing was over. I supposed that a crossroads like that would be used to some fairly strange goings on, particularly after the war. I was delighted to be ignored. There was heavy traffic around Quark’s. The line for the holosuites was particularly large and raucous. It was a mix of horny men with a smattering of strangely embarrassed women.
“Peace must be a boon for Mr. Quark,” I observed.
An amused expression crossed Kira’s face while Chakotay remained stoic.
“I understand Quark has a new employee who is proving to be very, very popular,” Kira said dryly. “And insatiable.”
“Ah… well, good for him,” I said as we took a large round table in a relatively quiet corner of the room. Chakotay was glued along one side of me with Seven on the other side of him. Icheb stayed with some of the Maquis crew who were seated at tables nearby. Picard, Crusher and Riker sat across from us while Kira was in between the two groups and Data sat across from her. Quark appeared as soon as we were settled.
“Captain Janeway,” he beamed. “I am delighted to have you. Since your crew arrived, business couldn’t be better. It’s been so good, in fact, I’m thinking of opening a b&b section of the bar.”
“Really?’ I said with raised brows. “That must be some employee.”
“You would know,” he replied.
“What’s a b&b?” Kira asked.
“Beer and a blow job or the female equivalent,” I replied. “All tableside out of sight of other patrons. If the employee is good, no one aside from the recipient knows what’s happening.”
“So it wouldn’t cause any more problems then that are usually here?” Kira pressed.
“It shouldn’t…what do you mean, I should know?”
I scanned the room from my crew then went through a mental inventory of the faces I saw when I arrived on the Promenade. Then I looked at Chakotay who had been oddly still.
“Where is the Ensign?” I asked quietly.
“Well, you see, Kathryn…” Chakotay began.
I stood up and in one movement grabbed Quark by the collar and Chakotay by the arm. “Seven, Kira, Captain, everyone, excuse me for a moment.”
Then I pulled my Commander and shoved Quark into the nearest empty corner.
“Someone had better start talking fast,” I hissed.
“I couldn’t stop her,” Chakotay said. “It might have been her nerves or something, but she went through everyone on Voyager save for me, Paris and Kim before we got here. Then, she started taking on people on the station. Quark’s place keeps her from working the corridors.”
“Her commissions are paying for your docking fees,” Quark said quickly. “And you have the best suites on the station. She’s happy, everyone wins.”
I glared at Chakotay. “You pimped out the Ensign for money!”
“I couldn’t stop her, Kathryn, seriously. I’ve never seen anything like it,” he replied quickly. “Starfleet wasn’t paying our fees and the Colonel was already risking so much. I thought it prudent to negotiate a good rate.”
“Good rate,” Quark muttered. “He should have been a Ferengi. The Commander is robbing me blind.”
“You’re making it up in volume,” Chakotay retorted.
I let them go stunned. “You’re sure she’s okay with this?”
“Yes, Kathryn. I even had Bashir check her out,” he said. “She’s fine. Maybe she just found her true calling.”
“Very well,” I said with a sigh.
“Great,” Quark said with relief. “I’m glad that’s straightened out. Now, if that Seven of Nine would be interested in some side work…”
I grabbed Quark by the collar again. This time I nearly lifted him from the floor. “Listen to me carefully. Seven of Nine is off limits to you or anyone else. And if I get wind of any kind of recording of her turning up in those suites…”
I swung the crop down upon the nearest table and broke it in two. “You won’t have any holosuites to show them in. And I’ll jerk those ears off… and not in the fun way. Understood?”
“Yes, Captain!” He squeaked. “I’m both terrified and aroused. How strange is that?”
“You’re supposed to be,” I snapped. I let him go and turned to find the whole bar looking at me. I straightened my jacket then returned gracefully to my table with Chakotay in tow. The action resumed in the rest of the room.
“So, where were we?” I asked when I settled into my seat.
“I have no idea,” Kira said completely confused.
“You get used to it,” Chakotay assured her.
“If you say so,” she replied. “I’m ordering a double of whatever is really strong.”
We all joined in that idea and after some quiet imbibing, we proceeded to the matter hand.
“I do have a plan for forcing the Admiralty and Section 31 to back away from us, but I’m afraid it would bring down Starfleet,” I said with a sigh. “Despite my considerable anger at this behavior, I am an officer first. I don’t want to use a scorched earth policy.”
“What are the alternatives?” Picard asked.
“A Borgified Klignon with a rogue sphere or Q and Q Junior,” I replied dryly. “But that would mean a scorched solar system with the former and a scorched quadrant with the latter.”
“Q Junior?” Kira asked.
“Long story,” I replied. “Really long.”
“How much time do you think you have before those ships act?” Picard asked.
“They have to find out how much information I really have,” I replied. “Then they will make me an offer that will sound truly reasonable. They will send someone that I trust to bring us back to Earth. Then I suppose it will be a few months before they arrest us all. I figure it will be four or five days at the most.”
“You have no hope that they could come to an agreement and abide by it,” Picard asked sadly.
“No, Captain, I’m out of hope for that,” I replied. “But it may be that I’m extremely fatigued. At any rate, we will have a few days. I’ll put in a call to my contacts on Earth and find out what Starfleet is doing. I’ll make the decision as to whether or not to use my information then.”
“Don’t worry, Captain,” Kira said gently. “We’ve been under siege for a lot longer than a few days. You and your crew should rest as much as you can.”
“I agree,” Picard agreed softly. His gaze was deeply concerned. I felt Chakotay’s hand grasp my thigh possessively. “There is time to decide.”
In that moment, I became aware of just how tired I was. We had much to discuss though and I felt I should spend some time with our hostess. Thus, I summoned up enough energy to make some preliminary plans with Kira and Picard. Then I managed to brightly tell the tale of Seven’s rescue and playfully refute some of Chakotay’s tall tales.
“Alright, Commander, what was it they gave you to affect your escape?” I asked. “Seven thought it was a adhesive medical strip. I said it was a piece of string.”
Chakotay smiled at me and wickedness flashed in his eyes. “It was a ballpoint pen, a spork and a packet of non-dairy creamer.”
I laughed. “Are they insane? They might as well given you the security codes.”
“I’m afraid I don’t understand,” Picard said.
“Commander Chakotay had many past times on Voyager. One of them involved effecting escapes with a strange collection of innocuous items,” I explained.
“The last time he had non-dairy creamer, he shut down a turbolift for three days,” Seven said.
“And you make shoes, too,” Crusher said with admiration.
“It seems there is nothing that the Commander can’t do,” Picard commented over his drink.
Chakotay met his gaze passively. “You’re very kind.”
The moment passed as someone else asked a general question about Voyager’s Borg enhancements. Eventually, the command table broke up into more informal groups. Seven moved to sit with Icheb, Harry, Tom and Data. At some point, Geordi LaForge joined them. Picard, Crusher and Kira remained with Chakotay and me. Riker got dragged off by Troi at some point. I grew tired of the spotty drink service and left the men squaring off over inane chit chat to go to the bar. In truth, I may have been tired of the men squaring off. I needed some distance.
“Excuse me, Capatin Janeway?” A voice asked behind me as I waited for my order.
I turned to find a tall, lanky, mocha-skinned young man staring at me with earnest brown eyes. He had a very familiar face. It struck me just how much time had passed since I was on that station.
“You’re Jake Sisko, aren’t you?” I asked with a smile. “My, but you’ve grown.”
“Yes, ma’am,” he replied sheepishly. “I’ve been waiting for a chance to meet you.”
“Yes, I wanted to thank you,” he said. “You’ve meant a lot to me.”
“You return has given me hope that my father will return someday,” he said quietly.
I was startled by those sincere, quiet words. I had heard about the extraordinary disappearance of Benjamin Sisko. Ironically, my experience with the Caretakers gave me reason to hope as well.
“Your father is a unique soul,” I said. “And there are ways to come back from even the strangest places in the universe. You should have hope, but not because of me.”
“I know he is strong enough to return, but it helps to have a tangible example,” he replied.
“Fair enough,” I said sipping my long awaited drink. “What have you been up to since last we met? I thought you would be in Starfleet or helping your grandfather.”
He smiled. “Starfleet and I weren’t a good fit. I’m actually a writer. And I do go to Earth once in a while to help at the restaurant.”
“How is your delightful grandfather and his wonderful restaurant?”
“Both are going strong,” Jake replied. “He’s serving live grubs for the Ferengi’s and other strange foods.”
“You have to give the people what they want,” I replied laughing. “Creole food would seem pretty strange in some parts of the Delta Quadrant.”
“I suppose,” he said. “It’s fun to be there though. There are always interesting characters around.”
“Is that why you’re still here?” I asked.
He shrugged. “That’s some of it. Deep Space Nine is home mostly. I miss it when I’m gone.”
“Then, there’s your father.”
“And then there’s my Dad,” he said with a wry smile. “How did we end up talking about me?”
“Trade secret,” I replied. “Maybe you’ll get more from me the next time.”
He chuckled as I walked away. Midway across the room, Chakotay intercepted me with a possessive arm around my waist. He resolutely steered me towards the exit.
“I’ve said your goodnights,” he rumbled. “You’re dead on your feet.”
“It hasn’t been two hours, Commander, let alone 24,” I retorted.
“It’s about your well being, Kathryn,” he replied. “I haven’t seen you like this since your assimilation was reversed. Humor me.”
“Very well,” I said stifling a yawn. “I suppose I could use the rest. Where’s Seven?”
“She’s with Icheb, Tom and Harry,” he replied. “She wanted Icheb settled safely before joining us and he wanted to talk to the Enterprise crew. She’ll be along. We’re safe here.”
“We must be if she felt certain enough to leave my side,” I said. “Where are we going?”
“We have quarters on Deep Space Nine,” he replied guiding me onto a turbolift. “A benign house arrest of sorts.”
“Makes sense. Who’ll bring Seven to our quarters?”
“Tom and Harry. Stop worrying.”
We exited the turbolift after a few levels. Chakotay stopped in front of a door in the middle of that level. Guards were discreetly placed at intervals. I supposed it was as much to protect us from intruders as to keep us from an unscheduled departure.
The inside of our quarters was far from a cell. It was an opulently appointed suite for a space station. This was the sort of room used for a visiting diplomat or envoy of some importance.
“This is some house arrest,” I said.
“Our part of the Ensign’s royalties provided an upgrade,” he replied with an unrepentant smirk. “Aside from the king sized bed, the bathroom has real water in the shower.”
“Bless you,” I sighed finally putting down my long drained cocktail glass.
I was expecting a kiss. I really needed his kiss. But Chakotay surprised me. Instead, he gently but resolutely stripped every stitch from my body and his own. He looked at me for long moment. His eyes were full of emotion, yet he still did not try to kiss me. Again, I was surprised when he pulled me into the well appointed bathroom.
When he pulled me into the shower stall under a pounding hot spray, I got angry. He was holding me loosely against him so the spray was pounding my upper back and shoulders. I tried to push away from him as I glared up into his face.
“You think I’m… I’m… unclean!” I exclaimed in an instant fury.
My tirade was cut off by the kiss I had been craving. Chakotay seized me by the arms and claimed my mouth hotly. The kiss was hungry and angry and completely possessive. I could only fight the feelings he ignited in me for a moment before I moaned helplessly against his mouth and leaned heavily against him.
“I know he is on you,” he whispered above my lips. “I just had to look in his eyes to know. But I don’t worry about that. You will forget his touch soon enough.”
My retort was cut off by a searing kiss. My knees nearly buckled under the heat of it. “He’s quite the elegant gentleman, isn’t he? But I know you, Kathryn. I’ll push him out of your mind as soon as I push into you.”
He was an arrogant bastard, but at that moment I wondered why he wasn’t making good on that promise. I was more than ready. However, despite the want in his eyes, he pulled back and again put me under the hard spray of the shower.
“I have you here because I know by the way you are holding your head that you’re in pain and unlikely to sleep well even after I’ve finished having you,” he murmured.
I groaned as Chakotay began to massage my shoulders. The water was helping and his hands were easing the tension and pain I had been carrying since everything had been taken from me. And when he finished soothing me, Chakotay lathered me from head to toe. My whole body tingled as the water rinsed everything down the drain.
By then, the lathering and soothing had turned to caressing. Wordlessly his fingers roamed over my skin gently. But I wasn’t in the mood for gentleness. I pressed my lips to his demanding his kiss as I canted my hips to brush his hardness. Chakotay grunted into my mouth. He bent his knees to grasp one of my thigh urging me to hook it around his waist. I moaned at the thought and did one better. I leveraged up against him to wrap my legs around his waist. My back hit the warm, wet tiles as he grasped my bottom to support me then shoved his way inside.
He stilled for a long moment just staring at me through half lidded eyes. I was fighting back a sudden sting of tears. I had truly feared never feeling him fill me again.
“You were ready for me,” he rasped.
“Always,” I breathed. “Now, move.”
“Yes, ma’am,” Chakoay growled with a feral smile.
He moved in short powerful strokes at an angle that was certain to send me over as quickly as possible. Considerate even when in the throes of passion, that was my Commander. The man knew how close I was to the end of my reserves. I kept up with him as best I could, but it didn’t take long before I was overwhelmed. My completion hit me in a powerful wave making me cry out his name. I could barely hold on when I felt him stiffen then growl in my ear.
Things were very fuzzy after that. Chakotay must have dried me off before putting me to bed, because I was warm and comfy under the blanket. I was on my stomach with his wonderful, warm weight half on my body and one leg over mine. An arm rested across my back. The Commander was clearly staking his claim over me and I couldn’t think of a good reason to object. Heavy sleep fell upon me and I felt truly at ease for the first time in a long while.
It seemed only an instant passed before I was being tugged from sleep by insistent whispering.
“You won’t disturb her if you get into bed,” Chakotay hissed. From the movement, I could tell he had Seven by some extremity but she was resisting his pull on her. She said something about sleeping in Icheb’s room. That was just silly, but I couldn’t clear my head enough to voice a real opinion.
“…ev…aaaa,” l mumbled into my pillow.
“See, she wants you to stay,” Chakotay replied.
I wasn’t even sure I had said that, but it didn’t matter. I just wanted them to be quiet and go to sleep or have sex and then be quiet and go to sleep.
“Chakotay, I don’t think… ummph…”
The bed dipped then. I opened one eye to find that Chaktoay had rolled on top of Seven was busily removing her clothes. That required my opening the other eye. He had her undressed in an instant and was kissing her relentlessly. She ceased her struggles almost immediately and returned the kiss with matching passion. Chakotay broke the kiss to gaze at her for a long moment.
“That’s more like it,” he murmured. “It’s time you got over that schoolgirl crush.”
I could tell that Seven was about to give an indignant reply, but Chakotay was pushing into her as he took her mouth again. All she could muster was an indignant grunt before she started moaning with abandon. It was a rough, intense ride that had Seven thrashing and crying out in short order. The bastard meant to exhaust us both. I caught the smug look on his handsome face as he kissed the nearly unconscious woman. He pulled her to half lay on his back as he was on mine. I fell asleep with all of our limbs entwined. Admittedly, I was ecstatic to be a triad once again, but my Commander needed to be reminded of the order of things.
I awoke first. It was 0700 according to the clock on the wall. I felt much better. My head was clearer and I didn’t have the achiness in my body that I had had over the past few days. Sometime in the night, we had repositioned. Chakotay was on his back with Seven and me half on top of him. He was completely relaxed in sleep. He was absolutely delicious.
“He still seems powerful, even while reposed,” Seven said softly.
I hadn’t realized she awoke. She looked yummy as well with her hair all mussed and her lips still bruised.
“Yes, he does,” I admitted.
“However, he is insufferable,” she muttered. “I find his certainty of my responses unacceptable.”
I laughed softly. “As do I. I’ve tried to beat it out of him, but that just doesn’t work.”
“How do you tolerate it?”
My smile was a wicked one. “By always managing to do something he won’t expect. I have some silk scarves in my bag by the windows.”
Chakotay woke with a start. It was probably the air blowing across his nether regions or that he figured out that he was trussed up spread eagle. We gave him just enough time to assess his predicament before Seven straddled his face.
“Cunnilingus will commence,” she announced. That brought his erection to full attention. I straddled his hips and mounted that lovely hardness until I was filled. He moaned loudly which Seven silenced with a smack along his side. He couldn’t move his body, so the ride was mine to control. I rode slowly while Seven leaned back against me offering her lovely breasts to play with. Chakotay could see that, of course and he certainly could feel me. I took pity on him only after I’d driven myself nearly crazy hovering just at the point of climax. I tightened my hold on him and felt his release as I reached mine. Seven came for what seemed like forever. I worried that Chakotay might literally drown in her. He didn’t, but he was a drippy mess when he pulled us into the shower. He had a smirk, but it was much more goofy than smug. And the love and gratitude shining in his dark eyes was touching to see. Seven gave me a glance indicating that the lesson was well learned and likely to be repeated. We sought out breakfast with high spirits and ravenous appetites.
“Commander Data wishes to explore variant sexual practices with me,” Seven said casually as the turbolift took us to the Promenade. “If that is permissible with both of you.”
“The android?” Chakotay asked.
“He claims to be fully functional,” she replied.
“I can’t say I’ve ever done that before,” I replied. “I don’t have a problem with it.”
“I have no problem,” Chakotay said with a shrug. “He’s a machine. It’s not like he’ll want to keep you like some of the Enterprise command staff.”
“Chakotay, you are imagining things,” I said. “The Captain understands that I have commitments elsewhere.”
“I saw his expression when I left the table to take you away,” he replied wryly. “That man is giving no quarter where you’re concerned. I feel sorry for Doctor Crusher.”
I looked at my Commander in exasperation to find he was serious. He had to be wrong. I was certain that I made my feelings clear. Even if I hadn’t, our very public kiss should have.
“I am not encouraging him, Chakotay,” I said.
“I know you don’t play those kinds of games, Kathryn,” he said with a reassuring smile. “But he has been your rescuer. He still thinks he has to rescue you. This time, it’s from me.”
I sighed. “If that is the case, I will take care of it.”
“No,” Chakotay said. “I will.”
I didn’t like that tone. “Oh, no you won’t, mister. We need all the allies we can get. I’ll handle it. Seven, you have fun with Mr. Data but keep a log.”
Seven looked completely confused and a little worried by the whole conversation, but she nodded in agreement.
“Everything will be fine, Seven,” Chakotay said with a wry smile. “We just have to work out some boundaries.”
She frowned but nodded. “Very well. I shall proceed while there is a lull in our conflict.”
Breakfast was a surprisingly normal event. Per prior arrangement with Seven, Icheb met us for the meal in Foodcourtia, just off the Promenade. He had already been up for a couple of hours getting a tour of the station from Miles O’Brien, Bashir’s lurking engineer. Icheb seemed almost as excited about what he’d learned on the station as he had on Enterprise. I went up to the counter.
“Welcome to Shloogorghs! I am Gashloog! How may I take your order?”
Tom and Harry were there as well. Both of them looked well sated. Harry had the most intriguing hickey on his neck near the juncture of his shoulder. At my inquisitive look, Tom surreptitiously slid a padd across the table to me as Icheb prattled on.
“What’s on your agenda for today,” I asked Tom.
He colored slightly. “Dad’s been trying to call since we arrived. I’d been avoiding him until you got here. I thought you’d like to take the call with me.”
“I certainly would.”
“So would I,” Chakotay said intently.
“After I speak to him, I would like to debrief the crew,” I said. “I don’t know how reassuring I can be, but they need to know what’s going on.”
“I’ll get them together later today,” Chakotay said.
“We should probably do it on the Promenade or in Quark’s. I don’t want to make the Colonel nervous about our attempting to leave,” I said.
We had an amicable breakfast amidst the bustle of the station’s visitors and crew. I told them about the apartment prompting Tom to inquire about the neighborhood and the possibility of similar places. For a while, we fell into making post Deep Space Nine plans. Though the conversation was relaxed and very pleasant, it pricked my anger once again. The people with me had worked hard and suffered through too much to not be given their due.
Four of us went to Harry and Tom’s quarters to make the call. Seven was left to her own pursuits and Icheb to continue his explorations. Harry had been reluctant to go, but he had not really spoken to B’Elanna nor really seen the baby since the arrests. I told them that they couldn’t hide forever. It wasn’t like Admiral Paris could get any more upset. At least, I hoped not. His head might explode.
B’Elanna was relieved to see me and very happy to see Harry. She looked far better than she had just after Miral’s birth. It was good to know that she was eating well and resting. The baby slept in her arms looking like an angel.
“You two are beautiful,” I smiled.
“Thank you, Captain,” she replied. “We’re doing just fine. But I wish she would sleep when everyone else does. Hello Tom, Harry.”
“Hey,” Harry managed to say with all the grinning. “You look… great.”
Torres laughed. “You need to get out more. Are you two okay?”
“We hanging in,” Tom said. “We miss you both. The Captain has some ideas for a place in San Francisco with enough room for everyone.”
“We’ll need a soundproofed room,” she sighed looking at her daughter.
“How loud can she be?” Tom asked.
“You have no idea,” she said with a chuckle. “She got lungs from both sides of her family.”
The trio chatted for a little while before B’Elanna looked reluctantly over her shoulder. She said a melancholy goodbye to her men then surrendered the line to her father-in-law.
The Admiral looked tired. Though I was unsure whether it was the mess he’d helped create or his granddaughter that caused the fatigue, I took satisfaction in it. I hoped all of Starfleet Command was having sleepless nights.
“Good morning, Tom, Kathryn,” he said solemnly.
“What do you have to tell us, Dad?” Tom asked.
Owen Paris sighed. “This is beyond the Admiralty’s grasp. Whatever occurred to free your people has Starfleet Intelligence involved. They are claiming that you are in the grips of a psychotic paranoia and to be considered extremely dangerous.”
“And what about Enterprise?”
“Enterprise? What about Enterprise?” He asked looking genuinely startled.
“I had a little help from my friends freeing my people,” I replied. “How are they explaining that?”
“They aren’t,” Admiral Paris said weakly. “How extraordinary.”
“That’s a word for it, I suppose,” I replied dryly.
“Kathryn, your ship and Enterprise are in incredible danger. What are you going to do?” He demanded.
“I appreciate your concern, Owen,” I said with a smile. “But you’ve given me a bit of good news. Whatever Starfleet Intelligence has planned to get themselves out of their mess, has to involve the flagship and her crew. That will take some time to arrange. We have some maneuvering room.”
“I have no idea what you mean,” he said.
“I’m saying try not to worry,” I replied. “Talk to your son and Harry. I’ll be in touch soon.”
With that, I tugged Chakotay from the room. I heard Admiral Paris ask about Harry’s presence in the conversation as we walked out the room. I could hear him shout ‘what’ through the bulkhead. I couldn’t help but chuckle. Chakotay looked grim as we walked through the corridors en route to the Promenade.
“Now they lie to each other,” Chakotay muttered. “How can you care if any of it is left standing?”
“You know that there are many good and hard working people in Starfleet, Chakotay,” I replied. “I can’t even say that what was done was entirely malevolent. It was deeply misguided, but between the threat of the Borg and the Dominion War, I can see why it happened.”
“Maybe, but how do we keep them from doing more in this misguided effort they so deeply believe in?” Chakotay asked.
“I need to talk to Barrows,” I replied as we reached the Promenade. “And to Picard.”
We didn’t have to go far to find Captain Picard. He and Riker were having coffee in a café in Foodcourtia. The way they were scanning the crowds, I sensed they were looking for me. The way Picard’s eyes lit up when he saw me, I knew I was right. I also realized, with a little dread, that Chakotay was right as well. He looked on me like I was some fragile damsel in need of protection.
I took the seat across from him that he offered, but Chakotay stood behind me. I didn’t protest the blatant show of possessiveness. Picard took it in stride leaning in to speak with me and look into my eyes.
“Enterprise has received three distress calls in the last twelve hours,” Picard said quietly. “All of them were legitimate. All of them would take us quite a distance from here. All a little more than suspicious with that many ships available between us and the disasters.”
“I should tell you before you go any further, Admiral Paris informed me that there is no report of your involvement in the rescue of Seven and Icheb,” I said.
“Why wouldn’t they mention that?” Riker asked.
“Our involvement would be difficult to explain if they are trying to discredit Voyager and her crew,” Picard replied.
“Drawing us away would give them a chance to isolate you,” Riker said.
“Yes, but I can’t ask you to ignore legitimate calls for help,” I said. “You and your people have already risked enough.”
“We are still on a rescue call,” Picard said. “My command staff agreed this morning.”
“That’s very kind of them,” I said with a smile.
“Our crew was really impressed with Voyager,” Riker said. “They’re so unflappable and optimistic.”
“And all dedicated to you,” Picard said warmly.
“To us both, actually,” I said. “The Commander and I have always worked in tandem.”
“Of course,” the Captain replied.
I felt Chakotay give me an appreciative squeeze on my shoulders.
“What happens now?” Riker asked.
“I have to get hold of my contacts on Earth,” I replied. “I need to find out what, if anything, the Federation Council has been told. And I need to talk to my crew. That will likely consume most of the day. I’ll check back with you at 1800 hours.”
Picard accepted that, but I could tell he wasn’t happy. I didn’t have time to referee between him and Chakotay. To the casual observer, it may have looked like I was running, but at that moment, I didn’t care. Picard knew what I was doing, but he was far too much of a gentleman to refuse to let me leave gracefully.
The rest of the day was spent talking to the Maquis crew. I caught them in small groups and told them what I knew and what I expected. My information and outlook was bleak, but they reacted with their usual courage. Most of them were of the opinion that there was no way that they would be betrayed at home. Their sentiments buoyed my spirits. Even Chakotay seemed less dour by the time we reached our quarters.
Seven was nowhere in sight, but there was a padd in the center of the bed.
“She’s off with Icheb exploring the station and will meet us at dinner,” I read. “She left us an account of her session with Commander Data.
Chakotay shrugged. “I’m game.”
I hooked the padd into a monitor and we settled onto the bed.
Seven of Nine Sexual Activity Report:
Following an initial enquiry from Cmdr. Data, I scheduled time for an appropriate sado- masochistic ritual, allowing additional time for copulation if required. Seeing that Kathryn would be involved with either official functions or copulating with one of her lovers, I contacted Cmdr. Data and we arranged to meet in his quarters on Enterprise.
Human interaction can be unnecessarily complex, especially in sexual matters, so I found the Commander’s directness refreshing. He stood motionless inside the door, a curious expression on his face and an erection in his pants.
“I felt it would be important to activate my emotion chip for the experience,” he said.
“This may cause occasional outbursts of inappropriate behavior. Please accept my apologies.”
“That is unnecessary,” I replied. “That is why I will be using restraints.”
I replicated graphite composite shackles and an air wrench. Within moments I had him bolted to the bulkhead. Once secured I grabbed both sides of his tunic and shredded them in my hands. The rest of his garments soon followed. I paused for a moment to weigh his synthetic penis in my hands before discarding it. It bobbed back and forth between the forces of gravity and desire.
Data had a question. “The purpose of this technique is to demonstrate your control over me?”
“It is essential that you understand my control before any further erotic activity may commence.”
“I shall comply.” He strained against the bulkhead with considerable effort. Lacking leverage, he was unable to loosen his bonds. “You have succeeded in securing me. I am now completely at your disposal.”
“The next phase would be to increase the erotic factor.”
90% of male Voyager crewmembers respond sexually to my body. In particular, my breasts have proven to be a powerful stimulant. To that end, I removed the top of my clothing, allowing the Commander careful inspection of them. For additional effect, I squeezed both between my hands. Gravity lost its battle with desire. I removed the rest of my garments, allowing him to view my posterior with equal consideration. Data’s positronic brain searched for the correct physiological response and settled for a gulp. I strode to him, allowing my erect nipples to move within half a centimeter of his exposed chest.
“The process of sensual escalation is applied in a rhythm between pleasure and pain.”
I struck him hard across his face. “My eyes are up here.”
“I am sorry. Please forgive me.”
His expression showed a surprise and a deference I had rarely seen before. I grasped his penis and begin stroking it sensually.
“You are responding within acceptable parameters. You will be allowed to continue.”
He seemed relieved, but did not respond. I crushed his testicles in my hand.
“What is the proper reply?” I asked.
“Yes, Mistress,” he gasped.
I released his testicles and sucked his nipples. I unscrewed the Commander from the bulkhead and laid him face down over his table before re-securing the restraints.
“I shall now engage in a study of your response to a variety of stimuli. You may be assured that this will hurt you more than it will hurt me.”
I tested 67 different combinations of implements and applications on his posterior. To increase the accuracy of my evaluation, I programmed the main display in his cabin to indicate the activity levels in his main processor. The skin showed a surprising sensitivity to small differences in sensation. An open palm proved more effective than a closed one. Subtle strokes also provided strong responses, but blowing across his skin caused extreme agitation and a 60% drop in his erection. Vigorous stimulation of his penis and lips with my tongue were required before the analysis could proceed. Obviously this particular activity had a strong negative association for the Commander. I made a note to discuss this with him at a later date.
Looking about his quarters, I discovered a violin case.
“Are you skilled with this instrument?”
Commander Data craned with difficulty to see what I was examining. “My studies have been extensive. While many casual listeners find my acumen competent, several experienced performers have observed that my execution ‘lacks soul.’ Since the acquisition of my emotion chip, I have apparently improved.”
I opened the case and removed the bow. “I will whip you with this implement. Will that cause any emotional distress?”
Data considered my question carefully. “Do you intend to allow it to be damaged?”
“Then you may proceed.”
Recognizing the difficulty the Commander was having in observing the proceedings, I detached his head and placed it on the coffee table, being sure that all the neural transmissions between brain and body were maintained. I gave him 59 strokes; beating him until the monitor indicated that he was becoming numbed to the experience. I set the bow aside by its case and replicated a glass of water.
“Am I boring you Commander?” I asked before taking a sip.
“While I appreciate any opportunity to experience new sensations, I must admit that it is not proving as rewarding as intercourse.”
“That is understandable. Very few individuals can achieve orgasm purely through such stimuli.”
“Than we appear to have reached a conclusion. Unless of course, you wish to engage in copulation.”
I examined his anus. The operational data I could find indicated that he did not need to excrete solid waste. I lubricated my fingers with my vaginal fluids and inserted them inside. There was an immediate spike on the monitor. I found it curious that Dr. Soong would construct an android with such a superfluous feature. Why and when did he plan Data to use it?
“Copulation will now commence.”
I removed the Commander’s penis, again taking care to retain the necessary feedback systems. I first lubricated it with a vigorous application to my vagina. Its size, atypical for human standards, was quite sufficient for my own needs. However, I removed it before orgasm, as this was not the reason I had inserted it.
It took only a moment to replicate a harness. I inserted it into Commander Data’s anus and began thrusting. I copied the strokes Chakotay would use with me during anal intercourse. Data continued to ask questions during the process. The Mistress would have gagged a subject under these circumstances, but since he had asked for the session as a learning exercise, I allowed him to continue unhindered. Eventually, I found his question disruptive to my maintaining a proper rhythm, so I disconnected his vocal processor.
I tracked his progress on the monitor all the way to orgasm. Although unable to speak, his face was contorted in pleasure as he peaked. I am unsure what he used for ejaculate, but it was the correct color and density.
I removed his penis and took off the harness. My thighs were slick. I needed to achieve orgasm. I picked up the Commander’s head and reactivated his voice. He gasped.
“Are you programmed for cunnilingus?” I asked.
“I am programmed,” he panted. “In multiple techniques.”
“Excellent. Select your best and get to work.” I reclined in his chair and pressed his face between my thighs.
His technique was more than adequate and within four minutes he brought me to orgasm. I screamed, pressing his lips even closer against my body.
Afterwards I placed his head back on the desk. I cleaned my self and redressed. I loosened the restraints on the Commander and checked my hair.
“You can reassemble yourself?”
“Yes,” he replied. “If I may ask, why not reassemble me yourself?”
“This is consistent with the tenor of the encounter.”
As much as possible for a disembodied head, the Commander shrugged. “That seems appropriate. Thank you for the opportunity. I look forward to discussing the subject with you further at a later date.”
“As would I. Good afternoon, Commander.”
Chakotay and I blinked at the screen then gaped at each other.
“She took his head off,” Chakotay said in dismay.
“Both of them,” I said.
Chakotay shuddered then absently rubbed his neck. I laughed at him.
“I’m certain you have nothing to worry about. She knows yours aren’t detachable,” I said.
He shook his head with a rueful smile. “Do you want to find Seven and have some dinner?”
“I think I’ll look at Harry and Tom’s log then relax a little,” I said. “It’s tiring to be the center of attention every waking moment.”
“Should I stay?”
I smiled at my smoldering lover. “It’s tempting, but you should find Seven and spend time with her. I don’t want her to feel left out, especially not now.”
“Hmmm, are you sure?”
“Yes, I’ll be fine,” I replied. “It’s safe enough here to rest. I’ll be waiting.”
I took off my clothes and put on my robe then poured myself a glass of wine. The padd was a copy for me. Another was made for Torres. The note that came with it said ‘so you won’t forget.’ It was a different kind of scene for them. Harry was the initiator. Tom seemed fragile and needy. They didn’t undress for a long time because of the long, slow kisses that kept distracting them. Harry kept holding Tom’s fair face in his hands to kiss him. He then kissed Tom’s entire body while slowly arousing him. My First One brought Tom to climax with that lush, beautiful mouth and had no thought for his own satisfaction.
Afterward, Harry tried to hold his lover, but Tom would not allow that. He rolled onto his side pulling one knee up to his chest while beckoning to Harry to have him. It was an irresistible plea, but Harry still took great care. He carefully prepared Tom then took him with absolute gentleness. My pilot was hard again by the time he’s begged Harry to start moving. Tom came again by the time Harry stiffened and gasped his own climax. I was wet by then, but I was also moved by their tenderness. They were blissful dozing in each others’ arms as the account ended.
“As if I could forget them,” I sighed. It would be more likely that they would drift from me first.
I sought my own release then fell asleep. Not much time had passed when I heard a rustling in the room. I wondered why Chakotay was creeping around, so I opened one eye. Then the other eye flew open at what I was seeing. There stood Will Riker naked by my bed with a rose clenched in his teeth. I sat up on the bed and reached for the riding crop.
“Have you lost your mind?” I demanded. “I didn’t travel a quadrillion miles to look at another man’s gizmo!”
Seven came in the room then. She gaped at Riker who’d gone to attention down below. She wasn’t impressed. I couldn’t blame her.
“What are you doing here without permission?” She demanded. “Have you the brain worms?”
The next think the Commander knew he was hog tied with my silk scarves. I was pacing back and fourth muttering.
“What do we do with him?” I asked out loud.
“Remove his head and fill it with salted nuts,” Seven muttered.
“Creative, but extreme,” I said. “I know. Janeway to Bashir.”
“Bashir here, what can I do for you, Captain?”
“I’ll spare you having that drink and talk for a favor from your Mr. O’Brien,” I said.
“He’s right here.”
“Of course he is,” I smiled.
“What can I do for you, Captain?” O’Brien said.
“I hear from Captain Picard that you are one transporter wiz…” I said. Riker groaned.
I heard later that Deanna Troi was not as irritated about Riker’s turning up naked on the Bridge during her watch. It was the phrase ‘and don’t come back’ scrawled on his torso that prompted her not to help him get untied or find clothing until he got back to his quarters. Why she started talking to him again, I’ll never know.
The clock read 2300 hours when I finally set out of our quarters. Somehow I was able to finish my nap. I found a note on paper torn from Chakotay’s journal on the pillow next to my head. Chakotay and Seven were in Quark’s with Harry and Tom. They hadn’t the heart to wake me. I could join them if I wanted. I found that I wanted to.
Dressing was simple. I put on a black wrap dress and boots. I was ready in moments and on the near empty Promenade moments after that. I found Captain Picard waiting at the turbolifts.
“I was coming to check on you,” he said by way of explanation.
“I fell asleep,” I said. “I suppose I’m still tired.”
“You should be resting,” he said. “I’m glad that you are.”
“Jean-Luc, there is no need to check up on me. I’m quite steady on my feet now,” I said.
“I find that I like looking after you,” he murmured as we started for Quark’s.
“The woman you’ve been watching over is not really me,” I said gently. “I am Mistress Janeway and I am reclaiming my life. This life is far too complicated for a wonderfully stable man like you.”
“I don’t know that I can agree,” he replied.
“You should trust the Mistress,” Chakotay said from behind us. “She knows her own mind.”
Where had he come from? Had he been hiding in a planter? Where was Seven?
“I don’t mean to imply otherwise. I merely mean that I have more mettle for complications than might be believed,” he said. “And that you have more of a choice.”
I would have barked out loud laughing at all the choice of flesh I had, but Chakotay was coming to a boil.
“Jean-Luc, Chakotay, I will not have any feuding over me -- not unless it involves wrestling, nudity and flavored oil,” I muttered. “I have too much on my plate right now.”
Both men were still eyeing each other with set jaws when Doctor Crusher exited the bar looking highly irritated. She grew more vexed upon taking in the tableau in the corridor. The next thing any of us knew she had plastered herself against Picard so most onlookers wouldn’t know she had grabbed him by his nether region and apparently fondled him.
“I’ve had enough of this. You’re coming with me right now,” she said in a low voice. “Or I’ll drag you back by this.”
She gave a tug for emphasis. Picard was stunned by her behavior. He was also aroused. In the end, he gave a short nod then turned to leave. Crusher winked at me as she whisked him away.
“It’s simple, but it always works,” I said with a shrug. “They’ll have a nice time”
Chakotay raised a brow. “Have you been tutoring the good Doctor?”
“Just a few pointers. She has a lot of natural talent,” I replied. “So we can leave them to their evening and get on with ours.”
Chakotay smiled and truly relaxed. I hadn’t known how concerned he was about Picard until just then. It was flattering from such an arrogant bastard. I shook my head. He always managed to surprise me.
When we left Quark’s it was, as my mother would say, the wee small hours of the morning. Icheb had long turned in. Even Tom and Harry had retired. My earlier nap had left me wide awake, but I took pity on Seven and Chakotay and sent them to bed. I found myself at the entrance to the Holosuites. As I quietly padded down the hallway toward the Ensign’s door, I noticed the distinctive figure of Colonel Kira leaving the room. I would have thought nothing of it were she not adjusting her clothing. I chuckled softly to myself then stepped inside. In the dim light, I saw a figure stir on a divan in a dimly lit corner.
“Hmmmm?” she said. “Quark told me to sleep… but if you can’t wait…”
“No, child,” I said gently as I sat beside her. “You take your rest.”
I stilled her when she tried to rise. “It’s me, pet. Are you really enjoying this… work?”
“Yes, Mistress,” she sighed. “I’m helping the ship, aren’t I?”
“You certainly are.”
“I want to help,” she sighed. Then she was asleep.
“She really enjoys the work,” I heard a familiar voice say from another corner. It was a voice I shouldn’t have been hearing on Deep Space Nine.
“Yes, Kathryn,” he said stepping into the dim light. It was Vic and yet it wasn’t. He wore a tuxedo as if he was born in one. He was well coiffed and manicured and had a decidedly naughty gleam in his eyes. He was definitely not Vic Fontaine.
“More of Felix’s work?” I asked archly.
“I’m said to be the best yet,” he replied smoothly.
“I’m a casino boss, I need to know things,” he replied.
“That man needs to be muzzled,” I muttered. “One of these days, his handiwork will cause an intergalactic incident.”
“There was talk of making a Mistress Janeway,” he said mildly. “Vic and Sabisat emphatically objected.”
“Thank heaven for that. One of me causing intergalactic incidents is enough,” I sighed. “Vic must be ecstatic about you though I must say, I like the adjustments.”
“Thanks, Kathryn. I think I agree with Vic. Felix could never capture your complexity. As for me, he and Felix had one of their many battles. I was revenge of sorts,” Vic mused. “So long as I’m far away, Fontaine doesn’t try to have me erased. I hear Barrows is back.”
“Boy is she ever,” I chuckled. “And how do you know? I’m sure Quark doesn’t bother with news bulletins in here.”
“I need to know things. I think of the Club as my home town,” he said with a shrug.
“And what else do you know about your home town?”
“Besides the young Barrows being quite a tomato? She needs to talk to you ASAP,” he replied with a sly smile.
I raised a brow. “You do keep current. Mind telling me how to make a call without all of Starfleet hearing?”
“Go to the Holosuite control room. You’ll find a communications protocol called Vic01,” he said. “You’ll have all the privacy you need.”
I petted the Ensign’s hair then rose off the divan. “Thanks for looking after her.”
“My pleasure, Kathryn. Come see me before you move on,” he smiled.
There was no one in the control room to charm away. I accessed the protocol easily and within a short while, I was looking at Tristan’s beautiful face.
“Greetings, Mistress. I am glad to see you are safe,” he said with a small smile. “How may I serve?”
I needed to give Felix what for about making a copy of Vic while he was still alive, but I needed information much more.
“Get me Barrows, please.”
In a blink, she was on the small screen. I had expected the dark, green eyed visage of Dagmar Olanoff to appear, but it was Barrow’s pert beauty before me.
“You’re back to yourself,” I observed with surprise.
“Zimmerman sent our EEH packing after the lab got wrecked,” Barrows said. “Dagmar didn’t limit her pursuits to Zimmerman. She re-tooled some of his creations. The results were… unpredictable. I have a log. It’s a hoot.”
“I’m sure, but I can’t indulge right now,” I said. “I need to know what the Federation Council knows about Voyager’s actions.”
“They’ve been told you’re all off your nut and went berserk on an unarmed outpost,” she replied frankly.
“Nothing about Enterprise?”
“Not a whisper,” she replied. “I can’t imagine how they could explain that or how they’ll get Enterprise away from you, but the ideas are sounding more desperate.”
“There must be a way of telling them what is really going on and making them believe,” I muttered with a sigh.
“You are good at finding unofficial channels. You are at a crossroads for the Quadrant,” she said. “There must be some way that is within your grasp there.”
“You’re probably right, Mistress. I’ve been so tired and confused of late, I know that I’m not seeing everything I need to see,” I admitted.
“Get those two studs out of your mind and focus,” she laughed. “I want you back here as soon as possible.”
She blinked out then. And I found myself wandering on the nearly empty station. Eventually, I ended up gazing at the wormhole on a catwalk over the Promenade. I don’t know how long I had been there when I heard a voice beside me.
“My father used to come up here to think,” Jake Sisko said softly.
“It’s a peaceful place,” I replied.
“I could always tell when he was really having trouble when Jadzia Dax would come up to help him,” he continued.
“Are you here to help me?” I asked.
“I think I can, Captain. I think I’m the only one who can.”
I looked at him with surprise. “How can you help me when the captain of the flagship can’t?”
“I can tell your story to people who haven’t heard it. Your real story,” Jake said. “I reported the war from here and they’ll listen to me.”
He spoke with quiet confidence and looked at me with intense sincerity.
“You seem to know a great deal already,” I commented dryly.
He smiled that charming Sisko smile at me. “That’s my job. And I know that as long as Starfleet’s story is the one being believed, you and Enterprise are trapped here. You’ve suffered a great injustice that the people and the Federation Council won’t stand for.”
“Would it do any good to go public?” I asked. “Or will we just be an interesting item to read about over coffee?”
“It’s too great an injustice to ignore. The crew of Voyagers came back as heroes,” he replied. “I think the public will be outraged at your reward.”
I had suffered, true. But there was one among us who had suffered far more of an injustice for Starfleet. And that was a story everyone would understand.
“We won’t tell my story, Jake,” I said. “There’s someone else whose story needs to be heard.”
It took some doing, especially since many of the sources were trying to sleep. I cajoled and pushed and plied them with coffee. Over the next few hours, Jake came to realize that I was right. He grew quietly excited with each account that he transcribed. A new day had arrived when I read the final copy.
“Her name was Annika Hansen, and she was seven years old…” it began. By the end of the story I was crying and angry all over again. The photo Chakotay took was lovely. Seven wore the soft red dress she had when she left Voyager and she was smiling at a very sleepy, punchy Icheb. It was a powerful piece of journalism, but I had no idea if anyone aside from the sources for the story or the writer would really care.
We slept until after noon that day and were still exhausted. Our little group looked worn out and a little deflated. Seven looked sad and uncertain. Re-living her history had been hard on her. She was very clingy in bed. Even Icheb was uncharacteristically subdued. It was clear that we were at the end of our options. Still, we tried to be positive over the meal. Tom and Harry told us about the amazingly awkward conversation they had with Admiral Paris after we left. It seemed that his head came close to exploding. And while both men were glad to have the triad in the open, I think Tom enjoyed his father’s discomfort a little too much. I was gently admonishing him about that when Colonel Kira appeared at our table with a strange look on her face.
“How bad is it and can we outrun it?” I asked over my coffee.
She laughed. “Not bad at all. Starfleet is paying your fees. I have a refund for you. We also have very little company outside.”
“How little?” Chakotay asked.
“One ship is still there and they have requested to dock,” Kira said. “The Captain has a message from the President of the Federation Council.”
“And you made him wait?” I laughed. “I knew I liked you, Colonel.”
She smiled saucily. “I enjoyed it. Can you meet him in my office in an hour?”
“We’ll be there,” I said. “I also want Jake Sisko to be present.”
Kira raised her brows at that. “This should be interesting. I’ll see you then.”
We all dug into our food with better spirits. Chakotay looked thoughtful over his hash. “I guess people were interested in Seven’s story.”
“You have no idea,” Picard said. “Do you mind if I join you for a few moments?”
I inclined my head when no reaction came from Chakotay. He looked a little emotional as he pulled up a chair. I raised a brow at him.
“I didn’t think I would see you today, Captain,” I said.
That caused a small smile. “It hadn’t been in my plans. And I thank you for setting me on that path. It’s been long overdue.”
“What brings you here?” I asked.
“The morning’s Federation News Service,” he replied. I suddenly realized that the emotion I sensed under his serene surface was anger. He was furious. “I knew they had unclean hands in some things, but I cannot believe the carnage they brought upon us with their covert research. I cannot believe they implied I was to blame…”
“They could not blame you. You cannot blame yourself, Captain,” Seven said quietly. “Anymore than I can.”
“But there is someone to blame,” Picard muttered bitterly. “How do I keep wearing this uniform?”
“Kathryn told me that there are a lot of good people in Starfleet,” Chakotay said. “Like you and your crew. It needs to keep the good people and weed out the rest.”
“Starfleet could be improved through this strife,” Seven said.
“If anything remains,” Picard replied ruefully. “It’s been shaken to its foundation. Mr. Sisko’s story has piqued outrage throughout the Federation. The Vulcans among others have called for a full inquiry into the fate of the Hansen’s and Starfleet’s behavior toward Voyager. The President has been inundated with messages and protests have erupted all over Earth.”
“Because of me?” Seven asked incredulously. “My story was not unique. That was why I was reluctant to share it. Many shared my experiences.”
“But you are also the beautiful and brave Borg who helped her new crew find its way home,” Picard smiled at her. “You are the most famous woman in the Quadrant. Your Captain is a very close second now.”
“How extraordinary,” Icheb said.
“Captain, would you like to join us to hear the message from the President?” I said. “I’m certain you like to add to our reply.”
“Indeed I would.”
Captain Calhoun from the USS Excaliber was everything I had expected. He had the look of a man who had sat through too many briefings with too many ulterior motives. At first I could not tell if his impatience was with Starfleet command or with us. The slight nod he exchanged with Picard, however, confirmed that he, at least, believed anything he would tell us. Jake Sisko’s presence was clearly not what he had expected. The young reporter, however couldn’t have been happier.
The Captain was straight to the point. “Captain Janeway, on behalf of the Federation President and in front of this room of witnesses, I apologize for the reprehensible treatment you and your crew endured at the hands of Starfleet and Starfleet Intelligence. An immediate and unconditional pardon has been decreed for the former members of the Maquis and a permanent order has been issued to those entities to never have any uninvited contact with the persons Seven of Nine and Icheb. When you are ready, my ship will escort Voyager back to Earth where these orders will be confirmed by the President at a full de-briefing on the entire incident.”
“In other words, we can come home?” I asked to be clear.
“Yes, Ma’am,” he replied. “And if you would all excuse us, I have some private messages for Captain Picard.”
We all stayed put.
“Very well,” Calhoun shrugged. “Captain, you and your crew will receive no sanctions for your actions. The President seeks a complete debriefing from you and your command staff before your next assignment.”
“They want to make sure our stories are the same,” Picard said to me.
Calhoun’s eyes narrowed. “I understand your feelings, but you have my personal assurance that they will live up to their agreement. There remain people in Starfleet for whom the First Duty still has meaning.”
“I look forward to having a hearing, Captain,” Picard said. “Enterprise will be ready to depart with Voyager.”
With that, the beleaguered Captain left. I turned to Colonel Kira. “Thank you, Colonel. We are in your debt.”
“I’m glad that we could help,” she smiled. “Come back anytime.”
“And you should stop by the Club,” I said for her ears only. “Full membership. The Ensign will be glad to see you.”
Kira blushed, but she nodded with a sly smile. I turned my attention to Jake Sisko who was still writing furiously.
“Mr. Sisko, would you like to see this story to the end?” I asked. “We can drop in on your grandfather afterward.”
The young man smiled brightly. “I’ll be packed and ready in a half an hour!”
I laughed. “I think we’ll need more time than that to get the ship ready,” I said.
“And get the Ensign out of the Holosuites,” Chakotay muttered.
“I’ll handle that,” I said. “I have a friend on the inside.”
Getting off of Deep Space Nine proved more difficult than anyone thought. The problem was all the presents and flowers arriving by the shipload at the station. We were overwhelmed with messages from the highest ranks of the Federation to legions of men who wanted to marry Seven and adopt Icheb. Against my better judgment but for the sake of expedience, we hired Quark with part of our fee refund to distribute the gifts to charities and send a pre-recorded message from Seven to the men who tried to contact her. I had Vic to make sure this was accomplished as I wanted when I went to say goodbye. In the end, it took almost five hours, but we got underway with the Ensign on board and Jake Sisko chomping at the bit.
Despite all the assurances and the Enterprise as escort, I was still anxious about our reception. As we approached Earth my trepidation grew. Judging from the silence on the Bridge, I wasn’t alone. Seven stood at Tuvok’s post rigidly. Harry had said hardly anything for hours. Chakotay kept close to me, but he was subdued as well.
“Captain!” Tom exclaimed suddenly. “I’m getting dozens of ship signatures up ahead.”
“Starfleet?” I asked clutching involuntarily at Chaktoay’s hand.
“Negative… they’re civilian ships,” he replied in dismay.
“One of them is hailing us, Captain,” Harry said.
“Put it through.”
“Captain Janeway, this is Captain Fischer of the merchantman Spamdagger,” he said in a brusque voice.
“How do you do,” I said. “What can we do for you, Captain?”
“It’s what we’re gonna do for you,” he said. “And that Seven O’Nine! Hello, Seven O’Nine.”
“We’re gonna make sure you little ladies don’t have any more problems getting home,” Captain Fischer said. “We’ll be watching for any foolishness, don’t worry.”
“That’s very kind, Captain,” Seven said in dismay. “Thank you.”
He blinked out as Jake Sisko came on the Bridge. He was very excited.
“Captain, turn on the Federation News Service,” he said. “It’s amazing.”
“…in addition to the phalanx of ships overseeing Voyager’s return to Earth, throngs of citizens have lined the streets surrounding Federation Headquarters demanding to see that the crew arrives safely. The President has agreed to broadcast their initial meeting to allay concerns of further problems,” the reporter said.
I took a deep breath then sighed. “When you are right, Mr. Sisko, you are right.”
I hardly knew how to feel. We really were coming home.
For weeks, everything was surreal. The President made a public apology and confirmed the terms Captain Calhoune set fourth shortly after we arrived. Shortly afterward, we had the formal welcoming ceremony that had been abandoned with the ‘unfortunate incidents’ as they were called. We were re-united with the rest of the crew and given medals and accolades. Though I knew the sentiments were heartfelt, the affairs made me feel hollow.
We then spent days in debriefings in preparation for a full Federation inquiry. Though I found the President to be empathetic and in the end, very helpful, we all wanted to get out of the public glare and move on with our lives. But that was not to be for some time.
Ironically, we ended up bunking at Federation HQ. Our fame made it difficult to go anywhere for a while. Tom and Harry had to beam into Owen Paris’ home to see Torres and Miral. I didn’t dare go near the Club. My notoriety would make guests very nervous. The trip to Sisko’s Restaurant almost caused a riot from men wanting to meet Seven. Luckily we still had large reserves of the fee refund to pay for the damages. Jake Sisko got a great story out of that as well. Hell, he got a whole series of stories out of us.
We spent a great deal of time with the Enterprise crew -- another irony. Since we all knew where we belonged, it was pleasant for everyone to really get to know each other. Picard and Chakotay even grew to like each other. The Enterprise Captain channeled his anger into action. During his debriefings, he gathered every bit of information he could find on the covert Borg research and all of the personnel that knew of the Collective before their attack. He was hell bent on making sure they were all held accountable for what happened to Seven and to himself. Getting justice and a whole lot of counseling helped all of us who had been wronged begin to feel whole.
For some of us, the farewells to the Enterprise crew were strangely awkward considering all that we shared. Seven and Data had no problems. Icheb had a number of friends to keep contact with as he went through the Academy. Troi, for all of her understanding was relieved to part company. However, she did happily accept the gift Seven and I offered. It was a perfect replica of Data’s penis. She said she would use it on Riker the next time he got out of line. I strongly urged her to use it on him routinely. Picard and Crusher stood very awkwardly with Chakotay and I at the airlock. I broke the ice with a gift of the best massage oils from the Club and a recommendation to use it often. Picard gave us a case of the best Picard Bordeaux with the same suggestion. He thanked me with great warmth and affection and gratitude in his eyes then we shared a poignant embrace that did not trouble our partners. Chakotay surprised us all by presenting Crusher with an exquisite pair of black pumps and Picard with an amazing pair of riding boots from the House of Chakotay. He advised them that they should be worn whenever the mood struck -- not just out of doors.
And then it was over. The Maquis crew began new lives. Tom, Harry and B’Elanna found a four bedroom home in the same neighborhood as our apartment building. We all settled into a life beyond Voyager.
I waited two weeks before making the journey to the Club. By then, our notoriety had subsided considerably. Icheb was on an orientation visit to Starfleet Academy, so Seven could go with me. Chaktoay made it clear that there was no way the two of us were going there alone. Truth be told, I was glad to have him along.
The first thing I noticed as be stepped out of the transporter reception center were the damaged buildings. Worst hit was the Malcolm Reed Wing. It marred the pristine serenity of the delicate skyline and made me profoundly sad. Even here I was to find that my world would never be the same.
“It was a Dominion attack,” Tristan’s deep and melodious voice said. “The buildings are being restored. Greetings, Mistress.”
I found him on one knee with eyes averted. I bid him to rise.
“It will be my privilege to serve you and yours while you stay here,” he said. “Follow me.”
“The Dominion made one attack on Earth and it hit Federation HQ and the Club?” Chakotay asked incredulously.
“They had to limit their attacks on those places which they considered the most valuable. Our point defense system was able to deflect most of the barrage, but one projectile got through.”
“Whoa,” Chakotay replied. “Oh, thank you for seeing to our belongings. You had a keen eye for arranging everything.”
“And you were most efficient in procuring all that I needed for my kitchen,” Seven said. “It eased our transition.”
“I was honored to serve,” he replied with an incline to his lovely head. “After you have had time with Mistress Barrows, I will show you to your suites. She will greet you in the main common area.”
“Uh-oh,” I said.
“Uh-oh? What’s wrong?” Chakotay asked.
“We’re in for quite a welcome.”
That was an understatement. In the huge marble courtyard lined with Grecian columns, Barrows had assembled all the staff and the slaves in their best attire to greet us. Barrows herself sat on the throne where I had first laid eyes upon her. She was shimmering with beauty and happiness. Her hair was sensuously soft as it fell to her shoulders. She wore an ivory corset with a nearly sheer skirt and simple gold sandals. A goddess could not have been more lovely or serene. I was glad that Seven and I had dressed with such care. I wore a deep red silken dress with a leather cinch in a matching color and red boots. Seven wore a soft dress in a blue that matched her eyes. Still I felt out matched.
“Greetings Kathryn. Greetings Seven and the delicious Chakotay,” she said brightly. “Welcome to your home away from home.”
We walked a little nearer and then I found myself sinking to my knees before her. I wasn’t surprised that Seven followed suit, but I was amazed to find Chakotay had as well.
“My friends,” Barrows said gently. “You bow before no one. Come…”
I rose and within a few steps was enveloped in her arms. She kissed my temple and squeezed me tight as the assembled cheered.
“Thank you for returning safely, my dearest one,” she whispered. “Are you sure you can’t get Seven to work here?”
I laughed then releasing her so she could embrace Seven. Chakotay got goosed during his hug. The tears that had been threatening to spill turned to laughter.
“I will steal your dear ones to the Headmistress’ salon. There is one that you must pay a visit,” Barrows said quietly. From her expression, I knew whom she meant.
“Yes, Mistress,” I replied. “You two go ahead. I’m certain the food will be delicious. I won’t be long.”
Tristan accompanied me to a secluded chamber set apart from the main facility. The little house was surrounded by a lush but ordered garden bordered by a tall, thick hedge. The décor was elegant but very sensual. It was the most tasteful décor I had ever known. My escort did not enter the house. I walked alone into the airy bedchamber to find her reclining on a daybed placed near the window so she could see the garden. There I knelt in a place where she could see me.
“So it is true,” she said in a whispy voice. “You have returned whole. I thought they may be playing me falsely.”
“I am well, Sabisat,” I said quietly. “Why would they play you falsely?”
“They know my time is brief and do not wish to cause me anxiety,” she replied. “It is a misguided kindness.”
“I would not play you false,” I said.
“Tell me then, dear child,” she said in a stronger tone. “Why did you re-activate her?”
I winced at the pain in her voice. “I needed her, Sabisat. I was so lost in so many ways. I could not have returned had I not. Forgive me the pain I caused you. That was not my intent.”
“I know, child. I simply needed to hear it. You likely thought she could be deactivated. I always knew better. Her personality was too strong,” Sabisat said. “That is why I forbade one be made of you. I knew you would return and there would be no destroying the other one.”
“I thank you for that, Sabisat. I do not want to be copied.”
“Nor do I,” she said emphatically. “Do not allow it, no matter what she may desire.”
“She will understand, but I will see that it will not become an issue,” I assured her.
Than contented her. She smiled at me. “You are still so lovely, so fiery… you made her so happy… I saw your loved ones. Exceptional beauties.”
“They are and so much more,” I said.
“That makes me happy, then,” she said. “Go and enjoy them. Thank you for showing me that you are well.”
“My pleasure, Sabisat,” I whispered.
Outside, I blinked back tears. Tristan stayed a discrete distance as I wandered ahead of him composing myself.
“She really is fine, Kathryn,” a familiar voice said from beside me. This time, he was in the right place and in the right clothing. And his hair was the right amount of gray mixed with his dark hair. “And being Romulan, she may have many years left.”
“Hello, Vic. You look good.”
He did. He wasn’t nearly as smooth as his doppelganger, but he had a charm of his own. Vic kissed me gently and always with that tinge of regret. Unlike Chakotay, he could never bear the thought of sharing my attentions. The attraction still hung between us.
“Will you be here long enough for a cheesesteak? They really can’t get them right on Deep Space Nine,” he said.
“We’ll be here long enough. And I hadn’t asked about one while I was there,” I said. “Felix has an interesting view of your personality.”
“That’s a word for it,” Vic muttered.
“I will have a word with him,” I assured. “Sabisat commands it and it is high time.”
“Alright then. I’ll see you at dinner,” he said taking a diverging path.
I waited for Tristan to catch up with me. He was smiling. It was a lovely sight.
“How is Molly?” I suddenly thought to ask.
“She is enjoying herself in the Headmistress’ chambers,” he said. “She and Mistress Barrows have become fast friends.”
“Have they? How… interesting,” I said.
I really looked at the beautiful man at my side. He was spectacular in the brilliant sunlight.
“There was a time I would pull you to the nearest post, strip you naked and see how much you cold take from me,” I said wistfully as I traced his lush lips with one finger. “And then I would have you until there was nothing left.”
His eyes flashed as he colored deliciously. “I have confidence that you will some day, Mistress. I look forward to it most happily. But right now, you have had far too much in your life that is emotionally exhausting to desire play. Allow yourself time, dear lady.”
“Wise and beautiful,” I sighed. “Let’s join the party.”
Molly was enjoying Chakotay and Seven’s attention, but she bolted for me as soon as I crossed the threshold. The dear thing seemed to be able to forgive me anything. I laughed as she gave my face a bath, then I joined Barrows and the others. It was good to be with hedonists. All of my melancholy evaporated in all the good food and bawdy stories. I was not moved to play, but our time there was restful. We ate well and sunned ourselves and swam and made love in front of the fire in our suite. It was a grand vacation.
Felix remained elusive for a great deal of my stay, but I found him before I left. He was always a difficult man, but I made it clear that no more copies of real people would I tolerate. Then I introduced some of his equipment to my enhanced riding crop to emphasize the point.
I remembered the sad look in my older self’s face and still had to wonder if all the compromises had been worth it. Since there were few Admirals left, I was promoted into the Admiralty and a post at Starfleet Academy. I still don’t know how to feel about that. I had a competent if distant assistant and a great deal of interesting work. I also had a gigantic desk. It was a large enough to entertain a triad. I was just trying to figure out how to go about arranging that without my assistant resigning when there was a knock at my door that brought me out of my thoughts. A familiar and sorely missed face was peeking in my door.
“Admiral Janeway,” Tuvok said. “Am I disturbing you?”
“Tuvok!” I exclaimed rounding my gigantic desk. “No one told me you were arriving.”
“Commander Chakotay asked me not to. He thought you might enjoy the surprise,” he replied trying to return the hug I foisted on him.
“I’m delighted. I had heard you might be instructing,” I said. He looked well rested and every bit as sound as when we first met.
“Yes, my office is two doors away. I start in a few days,” he said. I could tell that he was pleased with the arrangement. “I congratulate you on your handling of the difficulties with Starfleet. I always knew you would bring everyone home.”
I felt my eyes tear a little just as the intercom chimed.
“Admiral, your luncheon appointment is waiting,” my assistant said.
“Perhaps, I should go see to my office,” Tuvok said reasonably. I also knew he was a little disappointed.
“Don’t you dare. It’s the Voyager lunch and you’ve missed too many,” I said. “Seven and Naomi will be very pleased to see you.”
He nodded and we set off. He didn’t even fight my holding his arm. A burst of cheers went up at the Vulcan’s appearance at my side. They were all there. They were healthy and they were happy. I knew that whatever the trade-offs were, they would never really matter. We were home
Note of What is Yet to Be