TITLE: One small step for Kathryn, one giant leap for the Admiral…
FANDOM: Star Trek Voyager
PAIRING: Kathryn Janeway/Seven of Nine
STATUS: Completed special commission for the Summer Calendar
Date in Calendar: 23 June 2006
ARCHIVE: You’ll never know unless you ask…..
FEEDBACK: Never say no…
EMAIL ADDRESS FOR FB: email@example.com
SERIES/SEQUEL: For once, I’ve actually managed to write a short-ish one shot!
DISCLAIMERS: As per all my work – not mine, no money whatsoever, just some writing fun and hopefully reading pleasure….they are all
SUMMARY: Captain Harry Kim’s taking Voyager back to the Delta Quadrant, but the question that all of Starfleet seems to want to know the answer to is are the rumours true?
NOTES/SPOILERS: If you know that in Season 7 Voyager returned to the Delta Quadrant, you’re good to go…
WARNINGS: None, once you’ve cleared the hurdle of lesbianism….
"Come in!" The sound of his ready room door chime dragged Captain Harry Kim’s attention away from the window through which he had been viewing the familiar stars that made up the Solar System. Since their official mission had not begun, and they were running ahead of schedule, he had ordered the new ship to proceed through the Solar System at impulse for a while, enabling their Captain to enjoy a familiar view that for so many years was no more than a desperately clung to memory.
"Have a seat Commander."
"Thank you." Interpreting his commanding officer's gesture correctly, Commander Jackson crossed to the ready room couch and took a seat.
"What's this about Captain?" he asked, curious as to why their supposed six month mission to the Delta Quadrant was starting with a detour to the Earth space dock.
"This should explain it all Jake," explained Harry Kim, passing a padd to the tall blonde man as he crossed from the couch to the replicator.
"Coffee?" he offered distractedly, selecting a cup for himself.
"Thanks....VIPs?" Jake was concerned, but the combination of his education and Star Fleet training restricted his concern to a furrowed brow. What was Starfleet thinking, sending VIPs on this mission?
"Yes, two," confirmed Harry, waiting to see how his first officer and friend would react.
"Is that wise of Starfleet? I mean, the Delta Quadrant is not exactly the right place for a cushy 'tour the stars' trip, is it?" queried Jake, accepting the proffered steel mug of black coffee from his friend.
"Read on a bit further…" came the amused response as Harry returned to the replicator for his own cup.
"Is this for real?" asked Jake, embarrassed.
"Yes, it's real…" confirmed Harry, struggling to contain his laughter. He would never admit to anyone that he’d gone through the same range of emotions when he’d first received the notification.
"You won't tell her, will you?" asked Jake, mortified.
"What? That you thought it was a bad idea letting Kathryn Janeway come along for a 6 month tour of the Delta Quadrant? No, I won't tell her..."
"But?" Jake knew Harry well enough to recognise the hint of humour in his eyes.
"But I may let it slip to Seven...she'll be sure to tell the Admiral!"
"You're a mean man Harry..." teased Jake, spotting his friend’s loosing battle with laughter.
"Captain's prerogative," countered Harry, enjoying having his normally composed friend rattled. Despite being entirely human, Jake Jackson had grown up on Vulcan where his father worked; this resulted in him having an extremely calm and cool head in a crisis, courtesy of his exposure to Vulcan teachings and meditations, but it was balanced against an impish sense of humour he'd inherited from his mother.
"We're collecting them from Earth?"
"Yes. It's currently classified, not even all of Starfleet Headquarters knows that Janeway's off to the Delta Quadrant. I think she wants it kept quiet so that too many people don't try to stop her."
"She seems to think so, and I'm not in the habit of disagreeing with her. Too many people think she's a bit..." Harry paused to consider the appropriate word for his former Captain, "…reckless and free spirited for a seasoned Admiral of the Fleet. They'd be sure to try to keep her grounded indefinitely." Not quite sure how to respond to that immediately, Jake took a sip from his coffee as he considered a safe question.
"Admiral Janeway...she was on my Final Academy Board, it was her first year I think."
"Something she won't appreciate being reminded of, I'm sure," laughed Harry, knowing how much it galled her that now, seven years after their return from the Delta Quadrant, she was being regarded as part of the 'elder establishment' of the 'Fleet, even if she was tagged as the reckless one!
"I certainly don't want to - she grilled me on my Interspecies Paper."
"Oh?" Harry was intrigued - only rarely did the Academy Board Admirals get involved in the specifics of a paper, leaving that to the Professors in charge of the courses.
"My own fault - I chose the Borg."
"Ah, unfortunate…and ambitious," declared Harry, suddenly feeling old. Whilst the age different between him and Jake wasn’t as large as it could have been between a Captain and a recently promoted Commander, there were some experiences that would forever place him in the ‘ancient’ category. The fact that Jake had written one of his final academy papers on a subject that Harry had witnessed was one such event. Harry could only imagine how ‘old’ that sort of event made Kathryn Janeway feel.
"Extremely, I was just lucky that Picard was away that year, otherwise...." Jake playfully shuddered at the thought of Picard and Janeway interrogating him on his paper.
"I'm sure Seven will be interested to talk to you," teased Harry, smirking into his coffee mug. He could just picture the cool blonde tearing Jake’s thesis apart with clinical Borg precision.
"I've never met her…"
"I think you'll find her an experience" admitted Harry honestly, aware that even now, after over a decade of freedom from the Collective, most people found the blonde to be rather cold and, well, Borg-like, when, as far as Harry and the original Voyager Crew were concerned, she was very different to the angry Borg they’d first ‘liberated’ all those years ago, being now much warmer and ‘human’.
"Rumours have it she demanded once that you strip naked?" asked Jake in a light teasing tone, his amusement increasing when Harry's cheeks coloured slightly.
"A misunderstanding, innocent misunderstanding…" he spluttered, attempting to direct a 'Janeway-esque' glare at him, and failing miserably.
"So you and she never...?"
"I always thought that rumour was a lie...." admitted Jake, amused at his friend's discomfort, but deliberately leaving his thought hanging in the air. Sighing, Harry recognised what was being silently asked, and decided that, with his First Officer at least, he maybe needed to have this particular conversation.
"You're wondering about the other rumours though, aren't you?" he asked, putting his coffee on his desk. Honestly, if he’d known how uncomfortable he’d be feeling during this conversation about the rumours now, he’d have probably never started half of them with Tom all those years ago…..
"Yes. They're not all true, are they?"
"No, of course not!"
"But some of them are?"
"You tell me…" It was a technique every Captain learnt at some point or other. Give your conversation partner a length of rope and see what they did with it. Some made a useful knot whilst others hung themselves. Either way, you always learnt something.
"Chakotay and Seven, briefly, right before Voyager came home?" asked Jake carefully, deciding to start on the tamest rumour, and one which he was confident he already knew the answer to.
"A couple of dates based on the fact that Seven had been misinformed about the range of human relationships," replied Harry diplomatically, wondering how he had got himself in this mess, but resisting the urge to run his finger around the inside of his suddenly too tight collar.
"Meaning the Doctor only told her about dating men?"
"Correct. Homosexuality didn't feature in her education from him on humanity."
"So the rumour that he had the hots for her is also true?"
"Yes," confirmed Harry, glad that Jake was easing up to the bigger questions carefully, if only for Harry's benefit.
"But nothing ever happened with Seven herself? Apart from him using a hologram of her as his artist's model?"
"Right" Harry could feel a bead of sweat breaking out on his brow, but he resisted the urge to wipe it away.
"And I'm sure the rumour about Seven and Tom Paris, that’s false, right?" asked Jake, recognising his friend's discomfort, so lightening the tone for a moment, but knowing he had to continue, if only to save any awkwardness later on.
"Hell yes!" spluttered Harry, spitting out his coffee before continuing "B’Elanna would kill him!"
"That's what I thought, but many people think it's credible...most of the rumours are blatantly made up...but..."
"But you're wondering how much of the stuff about Admiral Janeway and Seven is true?" asked Harry, respecting how Jake was approaching the question.
"I guess," the blonde man shrugged, respecting that this may be difficult for Harry to answer.
"I don't exactly know…" came the honest response.
"Really?" Jake was surprised at Harry’s response. He’d always assumed, as most had, that Janeway’s Senior Staff had always known what exactly the true state of their relationship had been.
"Really. Are they in love with each other? I think so. Do they care for each other? Certainly. Are they lovers as the rumours suggest? Maybe..."
"But I've never asked, never seen anything that could convince me one way or another...and I think that could change this trip…"
"What do you want me to do about quarters?" asked Jake practically, understanding that his friend was unwilling to go any further into the subject that had kept certain areas of the Starfleet gossip network running at Warp speed for years, even now.
"Put the Admiral in the main VIP quarters and Seven in the empty command quarters on Deck three as well. Then it's just the four of us on that Deck…"
"Fine," agreed Jake, draining his coffee, conscious that he should probably return to the bridge soon, recognising that his ‘gossip’ time was over with his friend and Commanding Officer.
"Good." Harry also drained his coffee and settled back behind his desk, preparing to continue with his pile of reports.
"If that's all Captain?" asked Jake formally, standing.
"Yes, thanks," confirmed Harry, knowing that he didn't need to remind Jake to keep the identity of their VIPs secret.
"I'll be at the Conn then; we should be at the Earth Space Dock in about twelve hours."
As the doors swished closed behind Jake, Harry looked up from his padd and asked of the room aloud,
"I wonder what adventures you'll find for me this time Captain Janeway?" before returning to the necessary evil of his job, and all his predecessors before him....departmental reports.
Securing the front door with the encrypted locking sequence, Seven of Nine carefully placed her two duffle bags on the floor of the entrance hall and extracted the bouquet of gladioli from where it had rested across the top of one of them. Knowing that Kathryn was in the house somewhere, Seven consciously extended her hearing to its fullest Borg enhanced strength and listened for any hints of life. Identifying a faint sound, she couldn’t help a hint of a smile grace her face as she set off towards its source on the top floor of the house in Bloomington, Indiana that Kathryn Janeway, Admiral of Starfleet in charge of Operations and all things to do with the Delta Quadrant, chose now to call home. Arriving on the top floor, Seven pushed a door that was slightly ajar fully open, revealing Admiral Janeway.
“Seven!” exclaimed Kathryn happily, catching sight of the ex-Borg standing in the doorway.
“Hello Kathryn,” came Seven’s even reply. To many it would have sounded dispassionate, but in reality Seven’s greeting was just as enthusiastic as Kathryn’s had been, although the emotional inflection was more subtle, requiring a well trained ear. Fortunately, Kathryn’s ears were very well trained when it came to Seven’s inflections….
“You’re early….” began Kathryn, glancing around the bathroom to locate her robe, evidently preparing to get out of her steamy bathtub.
“Two point three hours. I vacated my office early in anticipation of this trip,” explained Seven precisely, enjoying watching Kathryn’s internal debate from her place just inside the bathroom door.
“You cut out early? Why?” asked Kathryn mischievously, recognising not only the uncharacteristic behaviour, but also Seven’s unease on the matter.
“I was…impatient.” Seven spoke the word as if tasting a new food, uncertain as to whether the experience would be remotely enjoyable, before deciding at the last moment that actually, it was rather pleasant.
“To get back to Voyager?” asked Kathryn, deciding to stay in her warm bubble bath for the moment, seeing as it was Seven running early, and not her running late.
“In part,” confirmed Seven with, by her standards, a vague answer to the question, deciding she didn’t want to broach the wider topic at this moment.
“I thought you could put these in your quarters,” she explained, thrusting the bunch of wrapped gladioli forwards, but her feet remaining firmly planted, unmoving from the doorway.
“Thank you, they’re glorious,” declared Kathryn genuinely, eying the long stemmed flowers still tightly in bud, although she knew they would open to reveal blooms a rich claret red colour. Seven always took great care to bring flowers that were the colour of her red command uniform, something Kathryn had never quite understood, but was happy to enjoy nonetheless.
“You had your anti-rust treatment this month?” teased Kathryn gently, scooping up a handful of bubbles and playfully blowing some in Seven’s direction.
“Borg do not rust,” came the indignant reply, complete with arching ocular implant.
“Care to join me then?” Again, a prominent smile graced Seven’s elegant features, although to the casual observer, her face probably remained fairly impassive. Taking a step further into the room, she picked up the discarded robe from where it had fallen on the floor and, with a long suffering look in Kathryn’s direction, placed it on the chair, prompting the Admiral to emit a peal of laughter.
“Whatever will you do with me?” she joked, enjoying the fact that Seven had come around sufficiently early as to catch her in the bath.
“I will come up with something,” came the measured response as Seven placed the flowers next to the robe on the chair before beginning to remove her hair pins.
“And if I don’t participate?” teased Kathryn, watching with glee as the silky robe slipped gracefully off the smooth polished wood surface back onto the floor by Seven’s feet, much to the ex-Borg’s disgust.
There was a long pause in the conversation as Seven deliberately retrieved the robe and once again placed it on the seat of the chair, taking care to ensure that the sash was not overhanging the seat. Once it was stored to her satisfaction, she began to disrobe, shedding the layers of Starfleet uniform she now wore, saying almost conversationally as she did so,
“I will not say it.”
“Say what darling?”
“What it is you were expecting me to say,” stated Seven precisely.
“And why is that?”
“Because it is inaccurate.”
“It is?” By now, Seven was naked, her uniform neatly folded on the counter. Crossing to the edge of the bath, Kathryn instinctively moved forwards so that Seven could step in behind her.
“Yes, as you well know, since it was you that taught the Borg so,” replied Seven cryptically as she carefully stepped slowly into the bath. Whilst she had no practical problems with taking a bath, the sensation of water lapping against her was not something she derived pleasure from in the same way Kathryn did, resulting in her more tentative approach: having said that though, once she was in the bath, she had little issue with the water, concentrating instead on her bathing companion.
“Hmm, I suppose I do” murmured Kathryn as she settled back against Seven, happy that her lover had managed to get home in time to share this decadent treat with her, all conversation about Borg catchphrases long forgotten….
“Are you ready darling?” asked Kathryn, stepping into the hall of her home and placing her own two duffle bags on the floor next to Seven’s, the gladioli carefully laid across the second one.
“Of course,” replied Seven, quietly stepping up next to her lover and holding out her hand for Kathryn to drop her insignia in. Kathryn was yet to be convinced that any of these uniform redesigns were an improvement on her beloved ‘romper suits’ that she’d had as uniform when she’d been Captain of Voyager, but the one improvement she did appreciate was her promotion. The large single lump that was her Admiral’s rank insignia was much easier to attach to her tunics than the four small Captain’s pips had been, since a single lump doesn’t have to be aligned and evenly spaced like her pips had needed to be.
“Hold still Kathryn, I cannot do this when you are fidgeting,” reprimanded Seven gently, carefully affixing the rank insignia on her lover’s collar, the admonishment bringing a smile to Kathryn’s face – only Seven would declare swallowing, an action she’d only developed some time after de-assimilation, as ‘fidgeting’.
“You are looking very smart Admiral,” declared Seven finally, after tweaking Kathryn’s uniform in a couple of places so that it was perfect.
“Thank you Commander, you’re looking equally spectacular,” confirmed Kathryn, raking her gaze over Seven’s trim figure, which was now shrouded in the blue uniform of a science officer, with the rank of a full Commander, something which Seven had been promoted to three years ago. On her arrival in the Alpha Quadrant, Seven had been given a commission of Lieutenant Commander since that rank matched the seniority Starfleet required her to have within the project teams she was assigned to. After her subsequent, rapid promotion, there had been a further attempt to promote her again, to Captain, but this was something that Seven had stubbornly resisted. Captain to her was a rank intrinsically related and defined by what Kathryn had done at the head of Voyager. It was something, by that definition at least, that Seven never wished, nor felt she was able to become. At first Starfleet had tried to order Seven to be promoted, only to then learn what Kathryn had tried telling them from the start – when it came to stubborn resistance, there was no one more determined than Seven of Nine. Over time, Starfleet had conceded: Seven would remain a full Commander until such time as she felt able to accept her promotion to Captain. It was an unusual situation, but then Seven was an unusual officer.
“Are you ready to leave Kathryn? The shuttle is due in 1.8 minutes,” explained Seven, reviewing the security check that she had made of the house whilst Kathryn was packing. If Kathryn had everything, they were ready to leave, since the house was already prepared for their departure.
“As I’ll ever be….” declared Kathryn, wondering why she wasn’t more excited about heading back into deep space, back to the Delta Quadrant.
“You are despondent…” decided Seven, raising a questioning implant at her lover. It was a look Kathryn had seen many times, and loosely translated, it meant ‘I will not move another muscle until you tell me what is troubling you.’
“I’m just wondering why I’m not more excited…..”
“About deep space and the Delta Quadrant?”
“It is because you are uncertain about being the ‘Admiral on board’ and not the ‘Captain of’ Voyager. Are you concerned about our relationship?” Seven was a very perceptive listener and confident, although her lack of comfort with small talk did make those confidences rather blunt.
“I can’t believe Harry’s Captain….it seems only yesterday I had to order him at ease at the start of the mission…” mused Kathryn, suddenly feeling like the senior Admiral of the Fleet that she was, rather than the young Captain she remembered.
“He will continue to seek your advice and guidance, just as all our friends do. But it is hard for Mr. Kim as well. His ship is Voyager, and you will always be her Captain.”
“I should stop borrowing trouble?” asked Kathryn lightly, smiling at her lover, grateful for her logical reasoning. Seven, as nearly almost always, was right. No matter how difficult Kathryn felt it was, going back to the Delta Quadrant on Voyager as an Admiral, it couldn’t be any easier for Harry, going back as a Captain, with her as the Admiral.
“Exactly. But you did not answer my question.”
“Our relationship?” clarified Kathryn, hearing her comm. badge chimed, suggesting that their shuttle was outside. Fortunately, Admiral’s privilege meant that they could ignore the chime, knowing that whoever was at the helm of the shuttle had to wait until they were ready to leave, which would definitely be after the conclusion of this conversation.
“The parameters of our relationship,” confirmed Seven, wanting to know the answer. As their current parameters stood, a six month trip to the Delta Quadrant meant six months of working and living in close proximity…as friends and colleagues, but nothing more. If that was what Kathryn wished, Seven would respect that and behave accordingly, although the ex-Borg genuinely hoped that her lover would define some new parameters….
“Ah…yes…” It was a question Kathryn had been pondering since the mission was agreed to, but she really didn’t know what the answer should be. Their relationship had become the open secret of Starfleet Headquarters, with both officers being listed as ‘single’ yet everyone seemingly aware of the fact that they were ‘involved’. Both maintained separate residences, an arrangement that had arisen out of the very love they shared. On discovering the range of environments and accommodations available to her, Seven had developed a real affinity for the busy urban hubs where people, customs and experiences intermingled in a rich cacophony, adding vibrant colours and textures to the tapestry that was becoming Seven’s life. In contrast, Kathryn had returned to Earth and found that what Seven found to be exciting and wondrous felt more like hustle and noise, finding that after long years on Voyager where she had been forced to tolerate and then enjoy her own company on so many occasions, the peaceful tranquillity and open space of her childhood home town had been her personal haven. For Kathryn, staying in Seven’s stark and efficient apartment in New York City without Seven was as torturous as Seven found staying alone in Kathryn’s ranch house whilst Kathryn was off reviewing the ‘fleet. As a result, this interesting balance, which looked so awkward and emotionless to an outsider, of each lady maintaining their own home separately, made for the perfect solution. Many nights Kathryn ‘lived’ with Seven in her apartment, just as Seven ‘lived’ for most of the long summer months with Kathryn in Indiana; even on the nights when both were staying in their respective homes, alone, they were very much together. It was an interesting relationship, founded on a total, consuming love that respected their joint individual desire for a private relationship conducted on their terms, and accommodated their mutual loathing of extravagant public demonstrations of affection. If the gossips and rumour-mongers of Starfleet had trouble defining or explaining their relationship, that was of no concern to them: they knew where they stood, and loved every moment of their time together, just as they understood the reasons why there were moments when they were apart.
“I imagine we will have separate quarters…” began Kathryn, trying to establish which parameters Seven was referring to.
“That is what I expect, and it is important.”
“You like your own space, don’t you darling?” teased Kathryn, inwardly glad that Seven saw no problem with that logistical situation.
“It is important to both of us. My question is about our ‘unwritten rule’ about duty space and uniform…” began Seven, hoping that Kathryn would understand her point without Seven needing to verbalise it.
“Starfleet premises or property and uniforms?” clarified Kathryn, seeing the problem.
”Yes…it is much harder to find the ‘civilian’ Kathryn Janeway on Voyager than it is on a planet as I recall,” explained Seven, not sure what the solution was. She was very uncomfortable behaving in an ‘intimate’ manner with Kathryn when they were in public or in uniform, a discomfort she knew her lover shared, although admittedly to a lesser degree. On a starship, finding times when they were both comfortable was bound to be a challenge.
“I think I’d like to declare our quarters ‘private’, if that is acceptable?” asked Kathryn finally, seeing a way through their problems.
“Very acceptable, for it will be our home space, just as my apartment and your house are now.”
“As for elsewhere, I think we should wait and see how the crew is. I’m sure it won’t take one evening before a crewman decides to ask the computer to locate us…” groused Kathryn good-naturedly, knowing what the scuttlebutt would be within seconds of them both stepping foot on Voyager.
“And once the rumours have begun?” asked Seven, not understanding why her lover was so relaxed about the rumours starting. Seven had never fully grasped the importance or even helpfulness that a well developed gossip grapevine could be for a Starship Captain.
“We will get a feel for the crew’s opinion of us, and themselves. Depending how it goes, we may be then able to discuss the mess hall and any other public recreation areas that Voyager now has…” suggested Kathryn, waiting to see if Seven approved.
“And the holodecks?”
“You will encrypt the door lock?”
“I think we can classify those as private then darling….”
“Acceptable, thank you. I find I am comfortable with this mission now,” declared Seven happily.
“As am I, darling, as am I…” agreed Kathryn, leaning in for a tender kiss which Seven gladly participated in.
“We must not keep the Lieutenant waiting any longer Kathryn…” reminded Seven gently after a few minutes.
“Why not?” teased Kathryn gently, reaching for her bags.
“Because you are not yet of sufficient rank to be more than 15 minutes late,” decided Seven firmly, picking up both her bags and one of Kathryn’s.
“Whatever you say dear….” laughed Kathryn, opening the door for Seven to leave. She was still not entirely at ease with her feelings about this trip back ‘down memory lane’ as Jean-Luc Picard had put it, but at least she was feeling better than she had been about the more important point – her lover.
“You ready Sir?” asked Commander Jake Jackson, as he came to a halt next to his commanding officer.
“Can I help Sir?” Jake knew how nervous Harry was about having Janeway on board – hell, if the crew knew who was really coming about the entire ship would have probably shaken itself apart with nervous panic. As it was though, it was just the two senior command officers.
“Is everything ready?” asked Harry for what he knew Jake would know to be the twelfth time since they’d received the signal that Janeway’s shuttle was docking at the space dock.
“Apart from her Captain, Voyager’s all ship shape….” commented Jake lightly, attracting Harry’s attention to him.
“Your pips are uneven….want me fix it?”
“Thanks, your hands are probably steadier…” agreed Harry, knowing that Jake rarely if ever reacted in anything less than inter-stellar Armageddon, a benefit of a Vulcan High School equivalent education. A few seconds later, and Harry’s pips were once again fastened to his dress uniform in a suitably proper fashion.
“All set Sir.”
“Thanks Jake…you think I’m crazy, don’t you?” asked Harry, turning to once more look out of the window at the part of the space-dock he could see, as if that would somehow reveal to him when Admiral Janeway was about to step onto Voyager.
“For being strung tighter than a banjo? No….”
“But, and forgive me if I’m wrong Sir, shouldn’t this be easier for you than all those other Admirals?”
“What makes you say that?” asked Harry, not really interested specifically in the conversation, but interested in anything that would occupy him for these last few minutes.
“She’s every deep space officer’s favourite Admiral Sir, everyone knows she really understands what we do, why we’re a bit different to those HQ desk jockeys…she understands what we’re about to do Sir, understands you more than anyone, Sir…” Jake stopped when he saw his words had struck some sort of a chord with Harry.
“That’s precisely the problem Jake, she doesn’t just understand this mission…she did this mission. I can’t take Voyager to the Delta Quadrant…it’s like you captaining the Enterprise!”
“Ah….you’re scared?” The question was out of Jake’s mouth before he’d realised he’d asked it. Fortunately, Harry was sufficiently worked up about the topic to not notice…it never really did for junior officers to call their captains scared, at least not if they wanted a decent career….
“Terrified…I feel like my very first day on Voyager…..”
“What happened?” asked Jake, genuinely intrigued. As widely reported were the mission details and stories from the original Voyager’s legendary seven-year mission, some stories that concerned the private dealings between the officers were kept very quiet, with every publication, every memoir being self-censored by the original crew. Anything more substantial than the inevitable rumours were closely guarded and protected by the original crew, with the individuals who then heard these stories recognising their importance and keeping quiet. For the Senior Staff, whose professional lives had been exposed under a very public microscope, these quiet, private recollections were all they had left of those very emotional and intense times: it was a wish their crew respected without question – Voyager wasn’t just a crew, it was a family.
“I had to report to her, I was fresh from the academy…she’d made me alpha shift Ops…god my parents were proud…”
“Still are Sir…” prompted Jake gently, recalling the diminutive woman who’d instructed him to ‘behave’ for her son, but to try to help him get home on time this time….
“I went into report in her ready room, stood at attention…she had to order me at ease…”
“Before you strain something?” suggested Jake, now understanding why Harry had been so amused when he’d first met their current latest Alpha shift Ops ensign.
“How’d you know?” asked Harry, smiling now as he fondly remembered those early days when Janeway had gently helped him rebuild the pedestal he’d put her on to one of a more appropriate, human size….
“It’s what you said to Ensign Coltaq on Monday morning…you had the same smirk on your face then.”
“You’re a sharp man Commander,” confirmed Harry, squaring his shoulders and taking a couple of steps back from the window.
Every Ops Ensign learnt to develop a sixth sense to know when their Captain was coming to the Bridge. Harry Kim may be a Captain now, and his Captain an Admiral, but the sense remained: Janeway was coming…
“Relax Admiral, it is only Harry Kim….” muttered Seven of Nine quietly as she and Kathryn Janeway walked up the docking arm corridor towards the air lock that allowed entry into the USS Voyager.
“I’m not tense….” ground out Kathryn Janeway through gritted teeth.
“Then please relax your jaw, you are hurting your neck,” stated Seven calmly, not at all concerned that this might not be the appropriate way in which to address a senior Admiral of Starfleet.
“Seven, I…” began Kathryn, glad she’d dismissed the Ensigns at the start of the corridor. It wouldn’t do have this particular conversation overheard, although she didn’t need to turn around to know that the Ensigns were standing at the top of the corridor, waiting to see her safe arrival on board.
“You are ‘borrowing trouble’ again Kathryn. You regularly travel on other peoples’ ships, this time is no different.”
“Isn’t it? I don’t know what to say!”
“’Thank you Captain’ and ‘It’s good to see you Harry’ are what protocol would dictate that you say. I fail to see what the difficulty is.” Seven’s cool rational logic had an unusual effect on the Admiral, in that she suddenly started laughing.
“Oh Seven….thank you….”
“I have amused you…” Seven often found herself doing something to bring amusement to her lover without recognising it, and it was something she never minded since she trusted that Kathryn’s humour was never mean-spirited and was always explained….
“Yes darling…” Kathryn paused to regulate her breathing before continuing with her explanation “…I just never thought I’d hear you quoting protocol at me, it’s so unlike you!”
“Indeed, just as nerves are so unlike you,” observed Seven, mentally observing how fortunate they had been that their luggage was being transported directly to their quarters. The walk to board Voyager was much longer than any she had previously remembered.
“They docked at the furthest out point…” explained Kathryn, recognising what was troubling Seven.
“It is inconsiderate to you.”
“Actually, it’s the opposite, and at my request…” Seven’s response was an ever elegant yet pointed arched implant, prompting Kathryn to continue.
“My coming away on this trip with you is still something of a secret. Stomping through the main space-dock would probably give too many people enough time to try to stop me, or at least give me an official send off…”
“But you are an Admiral…” began Seven, once again not quite grasping the political minefield that was Starfleet.
“I know darling, which is why many people think I shouldn’t be on this trip – I’m supposed to be at Headquarters directing ships, not actually on one!”
“But you are an Admiral…” repeated Seven, still not seeing what individual views had to do with Kathryn’s desire to go on the trip. Couldn’t she just order them to be silent?
“I can’t just order people to be silent Seven, not always…” explained Kathryn kindly before continuing quickly, recognising that they were running out of corridor in which to continue their private discussion, “…but I’ll explain try to explain it a bit better once we’re underway, ok?”
“Thank you Kathryn, I would like that,” agreed Seven, coming to a halt so that Kathryn could precede her onto Voyager.
“Admiral! Welcome aboard!” stated Captain Kim formally, coming to attention.
“Thank you Captain…” Kathryn relaxed her stance, implicitly inviting the welcoming party of Captain and Commander to relax also. Seven was already relaxed, being somehow able to be perfectly at ease and yet also formally at attention.
“It’s good to see you Harry…” greeted Kathryn warmly, extending her hand to Harry, only to realise what she’d just said. Without breaking eye contact from Harry, she commented sharply,
”Stop smirking Seven!” which prompted a startled look from Jake Jackson. He’d been watching the tall blonde Borg as she had observed the two senior officers meeting and, with the noticeable exception of a twitch to the implant located where her left eyebrow might have been, he’d not seen anything, and certainly not Janeway looking at Seven.
“My apologies Admiral…” murmured Seven contritely, her implant twitching again, prompting Harry to laugh.
“What’s going on Seven?” he asked, having spotted the giveaway sparkle in Janeway’s eyes which encouraged him to include his long time friend in the conversation.
“I believe you would call it an ‘inside joke’ Mr. Kim.”
“Care to share?” he asked, flashing his trademark grin, reminding Janeway of her young green ensign, prompting her to interrupt, a sudden thought striking her.
“You’re not going to be up your old tricks are you Harry? I can tell that the Commander here could be an excellent partner for you…” began Kathryn, startling Jake. He hadn’t thought she’d noticed him yet, and now she was suggesting he was up to something?
“Tom and I gave those up years ago Ma’am…” declared Harry quickly, but not before his face had coloured slightly, giving him away to his former Captain.
“Seven, remind me to get you to check my bathtub for any ‘surprises’ before I take a bath…”
“You knew?” exclaimed Harry suddenly, thinking he’d got away with that prank, years ago, when he and Tom had somehow decided it was a good idea to grease the Captain’s bathtub, ensuring she sat down rather quickly when she stepping into it for a bath one night.
“That someone greased my tub? Of course….but I only knew it was you just now Harry….” teased Kathryn, demonstrating once again that, just because she was now an Admiral and Harry was a Captain, she could still score one or two against him.
“Yes Ma’am. I promise I haven’t greased your tub Ma’am…” promised Harry, wondering why he’d been so worried about this meeting. She’d only been on board a minute and already their relationship was fitting comfortably between them.
“Excellent, but I believe I’ll wait for Seven’s confirmation…by the way, is this a crunch time Harry?”
“No Ma…” Harry stopped mid word as he realised what was happening. He’d hoped, somewhat foolishly, that maybe she wouldn’t notice, or that rank would have changed her, allowing him to use the formal address she’d previously loathed.
Seeing his commanding officer apparently dumbstruck, Jake decided he’d best try to help.
“Crunch time Admiral?”
“I can’t stand Ma’am Commander, sets my teeth on edge. There’s only one time when I can tolerate it, and that’s crunch time.”
“When’s crunch time?” asked Jake, genuinely intrigued by this incredible legend who was standing before him, treating him as an officer and not some dumb cadet who foolishly had thought he knew all about the Borg.
“When my teeth are already on edge, then I don’t notice so much…” explained Kathryn smiling.
“Harry? Why the Ma’am-ing?”
“It seemed to fit….” explained Harry nervously, not quite sure he wanted to finish his statement. To Jake’s amazement, it was Seven, who he’d heard was rather cold and aloof, who provided the perceptive explanation.
“Admiral, I believe Mr Kim is uncomfortable with calling you anything other than ‘Captain’ given our present location.”
“I see. Why Harry, it’s your command?” asked Kathryn warmly, wanting to understand what was making her former officer so nervous around her.
“But it’s your ship and mission Ma’am…” began Harry, feeling suddenly like that green ensign in Janeway’s ready room almost fifteen years earlier.
“I see…” began Kathryn, although to Jake, whilst she maybe understood some of Harry’s problem, it seemed like she was missing the point a little. Deciding to take his third gamble with his career in almost as many minutes, he said
“He said it felt like my captaining the Enterprise…”
“Oh…” Surprised, Kathryn instinctively brought the fingertips of her right hand up to the bridge of her nose as she pondered the situation, recalling the conversation she had had with Seven just as they were leaving home about the difference between being ‘Captain of’ and ‘Admiral on Board’ Voyager.
“Captain Kim, you are to treat me like you would any other Fleet Admiral…which, if memory serves, usually means praying that they’ll stay clear of anything important like the Bridge or Engineering. I am not here to command Voyager….she’s all yours Harry, I promise…”
“Ma’am?” Harry had felt himself automatically pull to attention as she’d spoken, as if in some sort of formal transfer of command ceremony which, for Janeway and Kim, thought Seven, it was. Harry needed to know, from the start, that this was his ship, and not Kathryn’s which he was temporarily using, just as Kathryn needed to know that this ship was not hers to command. The shift in mood was subtle, but definitely there.
“She’s all your Harry…mine’s a museum…” whispered Kathryn quietly, alluding to the fact that this was actually the Voyager-C, the third ship to travel to the Delta Quadrant bearing the proud name. Just as ‘Enterprise’ would always be the flagship, so too would ‘Voyager’ always be the Starfleet ship in the Delta Quadrant.
“Thank you Ma’am…” Harry paused at the sharp look, breaking out into a broad grin before continuing “but if you ever want to borrow the keys Admiral….”
“I know where to find you, got it!” On hearing Harry comfortably call her Admiral, Kathryn knew that their ‘moment’ was concluded, with both officers comfortable in their new relationship. Glad that the awkwardness had happened in private, Kathryn decided it was time to explore what was beyond the corridor outside the air lock.
“Come on Captain, I think it’s time you showed me your ship!” she declared, before gesturing for Harry to start the official tour of welcome that all visiting Admirals would received when boarding a new ship…after all, as Seven had so forcefully reminded her on more than one occasion during the various Voyager construction and launch parties, it wasn’t her ship!
“Enter!” called Kathryn from the bedroom when she heard the piped sound of the door chime. She didn’t need to ask the computer to identify the person on the other side, for she knew only one person would dare to disturb her this soon after arriving.
“Kathryn?” called out Seven, her Borg enhanced senses revealing Kathryn’s location to her immediately, yet she still fulfilled the ritual of waiting just inside the quarters until Kathryn called back.
“Bedroom…” called Kathryn, not breaking from her task of unpacking her uniforms and other personal effects. Walking through the living area, Seven paused at the threshold, happy to watch the efficient movements of her lover.
“You unpacked?” asked Kathryn conversationally, smiling in greeting at her lover.
“Yes. The gladioli look appropriate on the table,” remarked Seven, alluding to the bunch of flowers she had given Kathryn which were now sitting on the coffee table in the living room, standing proudly in a vase which Seven knew had not been in their luggage.
“I replicated the vase the minute I arrived…” explained Kathryn, not needing to look at Seven to know a questioning cortical node was being raised at her prioritisation, “…while we’re docked, replicators are unlimited. I didn’t know if there would be rationing once we were underway.”
“Prudent. The vase is efficient in its structure for displaying such blooms.”
“Thank you darling, I’m glad you like it,” acknowledged Kathryn, recognising the high praise from the efficiency-focused blonde.
“Is there a schedule we must adhere to?” asked Seven, gently nudging Kathryn aside and refolding a uniform tunic to meet her satisfaction, before placing it on the shelf with Kathryn’s other uniforms.
“Harry wants us on the bridge when we reach the transwarp coordinates tomorrow morning, and there is a dinner for the Senior Staff this evening.”
“We must attend?” asked Seven, trying not to look too uncomfortable. Whilst she was certainly more socially adept than she had once been, the idea of having to attend a dinner with the Senior Staff did not sound like an interesting way of spending her first night on board ship.
“It’s in our honour…” observed Kathryn kindly, understanding Seven’s reservations. Putting her now empty duffle bags in the floor of the wardrobe, she crossed to Seven and put her arms around the tall blonde’s waist, prompting Seven to reciprocate.
“I do not like formal dinners…” pouted Seven, enjoying having Kathryn in her arms once more. It felt much longer than the 4.3 hours that it had actually been since she’d last held her.
“Harry knows that, which is why this is an informal gathering in his quarters…” explained Kathryn, reaching up and pressing a delicate kiss at the base of Seven’s throat, before continuing her explanation.
“He thought it better if the Senior Staff met us informally, so that they could get to know us, and let them ask us questions about whatever may be bothering them. I thought it was a good idea.”
“It is. I will comply with your wish for my attendance,” declared Seven evenly, pressing a soft kiss into Kathryn’s hair, completely altering the tone of her statement.
“Thank you darling. I think you might enjoy it…”
“You must not embarrass Harry Kim Kathryn, you did not like it when it happened to you,” cautioned Seven sagely, remembering the days, long ago now, when an Admiral Janeway had travelled from her timeline to theirs in order to facilitate their sudden arrival in the Alpha Quadrant via a Borg transwarp hub.
“Yes dear,” countered Kathryn dryly, running her hands down Seven’s spine, shifting the direction of their conversation slightly.
“What time is this gathering?” asked Seven, already consulting her internal chronometer.
“1900, why?” Kathryn already had a very good idea why Seven was asking, considering what her hands were doing to Kathryn’s own spine.
“Computer, seal quarters with Borg encryption sequence Alpha Zulu 6,” ordered Seven, satisfied when she heard the chime of confirmation.
“Borg encryption Alpha Zulu 6?” queried Kathryn, pulling the pins from Seven’s hair and dropping them to the floor.
“You and I can override it, as may Harry Kim…” explained Seven, placing a delicate kiss on Kathryn’s jaw before continuing, “…but only during a red alert.”
“When did you do this darling?” asked Kathryn, beginning to undo the back of Seven’s uniform.
“When you were replicating your vase; I too have priorities,” stated Seven, remarkably casually by her standards, before gently scooping up Kathryn and carrying her to the generously sized bed which, she automatically noted, was a full one metre bigger in all directions than their beds on Earth. She made a note to question Kathryn on this later.
“Have I mentioned that I love your priorities?” murmured Kathryn as she was placed tenderly on the bed, before having Seven gently settle beside her.
“I have a recollection…” agreed Seven, before ceasing all conversation: she had more important things to communicate.
Having detached from Earth’s Space Dock, Voyager was making quiet yet steady progress through the Alpha Quadrant, heading towards the designated transwarp coordinates. With the space familiar and friendly, there was little for the Bridge Staff to do except familiarise themselves with their duty stations and run whatever diagnostics they thought of to pass the time. All in all, with Harry settling into his Captain’s chair, it was a calm and content Bridge crew who were getting used to the feel of their new ship, and their new captain. Suddenly however, the calm of the Bridge was broken by a nervous call from Ensign Coltaq, the Alpha shift Ops officer, who, in Voyager’s best traditions as started by Harry Kim, was a rather green Ops Ensign.
“Ah, uh, Sir?”
“Yes Mr Coltaq?” enquired Harry kindly, hoping to put the Ensign at ease.
“Could you come and have a look at this please?”
“What is it Ensign?” asked Harry, not moving from his seat. He didn’t want to get into the habit of trotting over to Ops every time Coltaq’s lights flashed. Instead of responding verbally, somehow having an instinctive self preservation streak, Coltaq transmitted the noteworthy event to Harry’s console which sat, as it had done on the original Voyager, between Captain and First Officer.
“I’ve sent it to your terminal Sir.” Before Harry could launch into a speech about the Bridge Crew needing to have the confidence to speak out across the Bridge, he felt the calming hand of Jake on his forearm, forestalling his speech.
“You should see this Captain…” he murmured, quiet enough that only Harry would hear. Trusting his First Officer’s judgement, Harry pulled up the report.
*Borg encryption code detected, Deck 2, Section 4 Alpha* was what he read.
“Thank you Ensign, you did well to spot it…” congratulated Harry, beginning to shut down his terminal and transfer his work to the Ready Room. He didn’t need to look at Jake to know his first officer was full of questions, questions that needed to be answered, but not on the Bridge.
“I’ll be in my ready room, Commander Loqut, you have the conn. Jackson, with me.”
As Harry strode across the Bridge, hoping his face appeared as calm as his insides were in turmoil, Jake followed him, with the Head of Security transferring the command monitoring system output to his own terminal. As long as Harry and Jake were in the Ready Room, he had no need to leave his own post, even if he was desperate to try the chair for comfort….
As soon as the ready room doors had sealed tight behind them, Jake lost his self control, just as he was sure the bridge crew would have done if they weren’t terrified of the Klingon Loqut.
“Borg encryption codes on Deck 2?”
“It’s standard now for all Federation ships to alert the Bridge if the computer detects any Borg encryption codes being used on board…you knew that Jake…” reasoned Harry, trying to calm his friend.
“I didn’t think anyone except the Borg knew how to create them?”
“They don’t…” explained Harry, trying to process his own reaction whilst also managing his first officer’s more excitable one. For Jake, Janeway and Seven were heroes – for Harry, they were his friends and mentors, Seven for her science and engineering skills and Janeway for all things Starfleet, science and engineering.
“But Section 4 Alpha’s the VIP quarters, Admiral Janeway’s cabin…” Jake trailed off as the full impact of what he’d just said, combined with his earlier conversation with Harry, sank in. What had been initial excitement at registering his first real ‘Borg event’, notwithstanding meeting Seven a little earlier, was now becoming something a little more personal, and serious.
“Did you know about the encryption codes?” he asked suddenly.
“Yes, Seven sent me a communication about it when she discovered they were coming. There are four she has identified for me…” explained Harry, rapidly thinking how much he would share with his first officer, “…and some more which she has inputted into the computer which only she can access.”
“Why?” It was virtually unheard of to have items in the computer system which the Captain could not access, the only normal exception being when, as was the current situation, when an Admiral was on board with their own files and orders.
“There are reasons,” stated Harry in a tone which told Jake not to pursue the matter further, something which Jake accepted immediately. It was a Captain’s prerogative to keep information to himself, even to the exclusion of his first officer.
“Does Seven know about the computer alert?”
“She designed the system sub-routine…” explained Harry, wondering if the real issue would be raised directly, or whether they would continue talking around it.
“And the Admiral?”
“Ordered Seven to design it…they knew this would happen Jake,” stated Harry, wondering if that was enough to trigger the specific question from the blonde man.
“So the rumours are true then?”
“So it seems….”
“What are you going to do?”
“Nothing…it’s their announcement to make,” decided Harry, experiencing for the first time this mission the twin feeling of the burden of his command authority combined with the respect for Janeway’s authority, not just as an Admiral, but also as a person.
“Yes Sir…” Recognising his Captain had nothing further to say on the subject, Jake continued “…if nothing else Captain?”
“Dismissed Commander…” agreed Harry distractedly, his mind already on other matters.
“It is 1859 Kathryn…” called out Seven, bordering on impatient, refusing to move from her post just inside Kathryn’s quarters.
“We don’t need to be first Seven…” called back Kathryn from the bathroom where she had been adjusting her make up. To her intense annoyance yet also relief, Harry had specified that the party was to be informal civilian dress, making it much easier for the Admiral to be left at the door, but much harder for Kathryn to know what to wear. Finally, she’d settled on straightforwardly cut pants with a cream linen blouse, remarkably similar to the one she’d worn to Seven’s first Prixen all those years ago. It was a style that sill suited her and was a cut that Seven definitely favoured on her, and, if it had been good enough for a Captain to party with her crew in, it would be good enough for an Admiral to party with another Captain’s crew in!
“But neither should we be last…” declared Seven, finding tardiness of any kind inefficient and unproductive. It was one of their traditional points of loving friction, with Kathryn always ending up on the punctual invariably by luck rather than good management.
“Computer, confirm number of humanoid lifesigns in Captain’s Quarters…” commanded Janeway, coming into the main room and catching sight of her lover.
“Ten humanoid lifesigns are detected in Captain’s Quarters,” replied the Computer in its flat, female sounding synthesised voice.
“We are late…” observed Seven again, noting the time was now 1900 and they had not left yet, not to mention the fact that all of the other attendees were already gathered.
“You look breathtaking darling…” declared Kathryn, ignoring her lover’s obsession with punctuality, preferring instead to savour the sight of her lover’s appearance.
“You have seen this garment combination on twenty three occasions Kathryn…and remarked on my appearance in them one hundred and seventeen times,” remarked Seven, as always, slightly uncomfortable when she received a personal compliment from her lover.
“At least I’m consistent…” joked Kathryn, coming to stand in front of Seven and holding out her earrings for the blonde to affix for her. Whilst Kathryn could fasten her own earrings, when they were running late, it was safer for Seven to do them, since she always fitted them first time and there was zero risk of the fasteners being lost in the carpet for more than a nanosecond, the combination of Borg enhanced reflexes and enhanced vision. And anyway, it was an intimate gesture they both enjoyed.
“You look remarkable…” observed Seven when she had fastened her lover’s earrings and adjusted Kathryn’s collar to her satisfaction. It was a strange phrase to hear as a compliment, but one that Kathryn knew, coming from Seven, who for so long had regarded personal appearance as irrelevant, was a well meant one. For Seven to think her appearance was worthy of being ‘remarked on’, it was worth as much to the Admiral as a thousand adjectives from anyone else.
“Thank you darling….are we ready?” asked Kathryn, casting her eye over the quarters to make sure there was nothing obvious out of place.
“Indeed.” Seven stepped up to the door and was surprised when it did not open.
“Seven?” asked Kathryn gently, not concerned, but nevertheless hoping for some sort of explanation.
“I do not…” Seven trailed off, something most unlike her, as she suddenly comprehended something.
“Darling?” Kathryn was concerned.
“Computer, disengage door lock, authority Seven of Nine omega.” Satisfied the doors would now open, Seven was careful to step back from them so that she did not break the sensor, before turning to Kathryn.
“I am sorry Kathryn, I made an error…”
“No harm Seven, you remembered about the encryption….” Kathryn wasn’t seeing what the issue was.
“You do not recall your order about the Borg encryption protocol?” Seven’s question was carefully phrased and just a little too cryptic for Kathryn, who right now could remember many things about protocols and encryption, but nothing that was providing an explanation for Seven’s concern.
“You ordered all Delta Quadrant ships to have a computer protocol which detects Borg encryptions and reports to the Bridge Ops post…”
“And you used a Borg encryption code to secure the door to my quarters 4 hours ago which has only just been lifted….I remember…” agreed Kathryn, walking away from Seven to sit on the recliner, her mind racing as she processed all the consequences.
“You are angry….” Observed Seven, rooted to the spot just inside the arc of the door sensors.
“No…forgetful maybe, but not angry….come here?” pleaded Kathryn, raising a hand towards Seven which, to her relief, her sometimes stubborn lover came and took.
“What do you think darling?” she asked kindly, an idea forming in her mind, but wanting to hear Seven’s views first, since it was the blonde who was always the more cautious and nervous about being in public as a couple for fear of hurting Kathryn’s reputation, something Kathryn herself had long ago realised her life was far too short and already controversial to really care much about.
“I think the rumours are on board Voyager now, just as they are at Headquarters…” thought Seven carefully, remembering how she had adapted to the concepts of rumours and ‘open secrets’.
“How do you feel about that?” asked Kathryn carefully, running her thumb over the contours of Seven’s left hand in what she knew Seven found to be a comforting and grounding gesture during moments of overwhelming emotions, something she still sometimes had problems processing if she wasn’t focussed.
“I think I am…resigned to the inevitable?” asked Seven, testing her description of the emotions she was feeling, rather than questioning the feelings themselves.
“Agreed,” confirmed Kathryn, glad that Seven was in the same place she was.
“You are thinking of modifying our parameters are you not?” asked Seven perceptively, surprised at her lack of discomfort at the realisation that the Senior Staff had probably correctly inferred from the detection of the Borg encryption code’s usage that Kathryn and her were indeed in an intimate relationship.
“If you are agreeable…” suggested Kathryn cautiously, waiting to see how Seven took the idea.
“You are contemplating attending this gathering as ‘Kathryn’, as you would when we are invited to Phoebe’s house?” observed Seven, again, questioning only the verbalisation of her thoughts and perceptions, rather than the actual thoughts themselves.
“Only if you find it acceptable…” confirmed Kathryn, again waiting to gauge her lover’s response, instinctively reverting to some of Seven’s more instinctive vocabulary.
“I find I am,” confirmed Seven, gently exerting pressure through their joined hands to communicate to Kathryn that she should stand, which she did.
“I would be honoured if I could escort you to Mr Kim’s gathering as your partner Kathryn…” declared Seven quietly, before placing a tender but ultimately chaste kiss on Kathryn’s lips, anything more passionate being dismissed on the grounds that, according to Seven’s internal chronometer, they were now 9 minutes late.
“Thank you darling…” accepted Kathryn, taking Seven’s proffered left arm with a level of familiarity revealing another dimension of their relationship – it wasn’t that they didn’t appear as a couple outside the privacy of their homes, just that they were rather selective about where they both felt comfortable doing so.
“Shall we?” asked Kathryn, gesturing towards the door, to which Seven responded by setting a gentle walking pace.
Twenty five paces later, and the couple, still arm in arm, were standing just outside the door sensor arc for the Captain’s Quarters.
“You ready?” asked Kathryn, suddenly feeling more nervous on a starship than she’d ever before felt in the Alpha Quadrant.
“I am when you are,” declared Seven, the almost colloquial response earning a startled look from Kathryn.
“Don’t smirk Seven, it doesn’t suit you…” countered Kathryn, appreciating her lover’s slightly unconventional attempts yet consistently successful attempts at levity.
“Shall we?” asked Kathryn finally, taking the half step forward that would trigger the door chime of Harry’s quarters.
“Admiral…” Harry’s greetings died on his lips when he saw two of his closest friends, and certainly closest colleagues, standing in his doorway, arm in arm.
“I think you can call me Kathryn Harry….” suggested Kathryn kindly, watching the range of emotions flash in Harry’s eyes before finally settling on what she thought she could identify and pride and happiness.
“Come in Kathryn, Seven….come meet my Senior Staff…” and, stepping aside so as to reveal the couple to the rest of his assembled senior officers, Harry and Kathryn both came to the same conclusion. Yes, this was Voyager, and yes, this was a mission to the Delta Quadrant, and yes, with Kathryn Janeway along for the ride, they would certainly have their interesting moments and adventures. But one thing was now certain, put beyond any doubts that may have been lingering after their conversation in the airlock when Seven and Kathryn arrived.
This may be Voyager, and Kathryn Janeway may be taking a ride on the ship to the Delta Quadrant, but this was a different mission, a new era in the lives of all of them, and one thing was certain –Captain Kathryn Janeway of the USS Federation Starship Voyager was not on board. Voyager had her Captain, Harry Kim, and he had two VIPs joining him on the mission, Kathryn Janeway, Admiral of the Fleet and hero of the Delta Quadrant and Seven of Nine. Neither needed introduction, neither needed anything or anyone….except it now seemed clear to Harry, each other, which, he was pleased to realise, was exactly as it should be.