Title: Hearts and Minds
Feedback address: email@example.com
Date in Calendar: 26 November 2007
Fandom: Star Trek Voyager
Pairing: Kathryn Janeway/Seven of Nine
Series/Sequel: Whilst it could pass as a one shot, it would make a far more pleasant reading experience if you first read 'One small step for Kathryn, one giant leap for the Admiral..." which can be found on the Summer 2006 calendar or at http://ncruuk.kimlys.com in the Star Trek Voyager section and 'Collective Responsibility' which can be found on the Winter 2006 Calendar or at http://ncruuk.kimlys.com.
Summary: Voyager's gone back to the Delta Quadrant with a new Captain and a new Chief Medical Officer, but how do Seven and Kathryn fit in?
Status: Completed special commission for the Winter Calendar
Archive: You'll never know unless you ask.....
Feedback: Never say no...
Advertisement: Part of the FSAC:DW07
Author's Disclaimer: As per all my work – not mine, no money whatsoever, just some writing fun and hopefully reading pleasure....they are all
Note: 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....
"Take us back to Voyager Lt. Blan, full impulse."
"Painful Commander," concluded Harry, heading to the replicator wondering how Admiral Janeway would react if he ordered a Risian Sunset, with real alcohol, not synthanol.
"I'll have a double scotch if you're offering Harry..." commanded Janeway from her seat in the back corner of the shuttle, her tone making it very clear that it wasn't an offer he should fail to make.
"Of course Admiral..." Programming the replicator, which took a moment longer than normal on account of Harry having to override the 'no synthanol on duty' subroutines, he soon was handing his former Captain the heavy glass.
"I didn't think they were bothering you Admiral?" asked Jake carefully, not sure if that would be construed as an insult.
"I've had many more years practice at this sort of thing Mr Jackson, but even I am not immune to the sound of 1000 banjos..." retorted Kathryn dryly, thankful that as Admiral, once they'd returned to Voyager she could log off duty and go lie down in her quarters for a nice, silent hour or four.
"They were rather...excited to become part of the Federation..." mused Harry, following the Admiral's lead and taking a long sip of the strong liquor. Jake looked longingly at his senior officers but knew better than to actually ask for a drink.
"Care for a coffee Lieutenant?" he asked, heading to the replicator.
"Thank you Sir," nodded the young officer who was designated pilot for this mission, the atmosphere of the planet, whilst breathable, contained a particle that made the use of transporters ill-advised except in emergency, something that the 'Welcome to the Federation' ceremony hadn't been designated, until the second hour of the celebratory banjo concert.
"Do you actually like coffee or is it a habit you are cultivating?" asked Janeway, reclining in her chair, beginning to feel her jaw relax, all too aware that when word had got out about her vice, many command track candidates had started cultivating the habit. She wasn't sure she was entirely comfortable with the adulation, but as Seven had pointed out on numerous occasions, it was one of her more endearing foibles...something Kathryn was convinced was not actually a compliment although it had sounded rather pleasing at the time.
"Now I like it, but I'll admit it started as a cultivated habit..." confessed Jake, ordering the two coffees, noting the Lieutenant had already visited the replicator a couple of times whilst she had been waiting for them, making it easy to know what her coffee preference was.
"Oh?" Intrigued, Kathryn encouraged him to go on, sensing a story was to be had.
"I made a bet with Gr'ark, the son of the Klingon Ambassador to Vulcan that I could cope better with his culture's food and drink than he could with Terran..."
"How old were you?" asked Kathryn, relieved to recognise that the Commander had started his coffee habit long before she'd been lost in the Delta Quadrant – she still, all these years later, wasn't exactly comfortable with the profile her exploits had afforded her over and above what any Starfleet Captain or Admiral had to cope with.
"Six, which is why his pick was qagh and Raktajino – his mother wouldn't let him pick Blood Wine..."
"What did you pick?" asked Harry, trying not to shudder at the thought of qagh.
"Cod Liver Oil and a Vindaloo..." replied Jake smugly, obviously still proud of his childhood exploits.
"Smart boy..." praised the Admiral, before draining her scotch.
"A message came from Doctor Lourdon Sir..."
"What did it say Ransa?" asked Harry, noting from a nearby display panel that at current Warp they would be back on Voyager in two hours.
"...that she'd like to see all of you in sickbay for a post mission check up immediately on our arrival, Sir."
"All of us?" asked Jake, surprised. Post mission check ups were very rare in the 24th century.
"Yes Sir. Without the transporter bio-filter, Doctor Lourdon would like to be extra cautious...and speak with the Admiral about her annual physical."
"Still avoiding it?" asked Harry, hoping he sounded casual, remembering the battles the Doctor had with Captain Janeway about annual check ups, made all the more impressive by the fact that the Captain invariably won, with most crew members declaring the CMO's threat of 'relieving from duty' to be nothing more than a hollow concession of defeat.
"Seems not for much longer..." muttered Kathryn, abstractly rubbing the back of her neck, wondering why she didn't think to authorise the use of the transporters...
"Thank you Commander, you can return to the Bridge..." dismissed Doctor Lourdon, happy that the First Officer had suffered no ill effects from the first of what would no doubt be many adventures in the Delta Quadrant.
"Doctor, Captain, Admiral..." Nodding to all in turn, Jake headed for the Bridge, instructed by Harry to review the ship's business and turn over the watch to the Beta Shift, leaving Harry and Kathryn in the surprisingly busy sickbay.
"I always forgot about the nurses..." mused Kathryn thoughtfully, watching the organised routine of Voyager's sickbay happen around her.
"I'm sorry?" asked the Doctor, turning to regard the Admiral with a genuinely interested expression, her blue eyes clear and bright.
"In sickbay...my sickbay..." qualified Kathryn, remembering the time on Voyager, moments after their rather abrupt arrival in the Delta Quadrant when it became clear that her sickbay was now the domain of only one man, and a holographic one at that.
"You didn't have any nurses?"
"I did, but for some reason our passage to the Delta Quadrant was the most traumatic for that section of my ship. By the time we could take stock of our situation, only the EMH was available..." Kathryn trailed off, not entirely sure what the point of her reminiscence was.
"It surprised me when I saw the crew manifest – I'd never been to sickbay before the Doctor took over, so six nurses felt like a lot..." agreed Harry, understanding exactly where Kathryn was coming from. With two nurses always on duty, as well as Doctor Lourdon and an EMH if required, this sickbay felt much busier, even without any patients to treat, "...but Jess here has assured me they're a bonus and that she can do everything herself..."
"Good...so Doctor, what's the prognosis?" Small talk over, Kathryn was eager to escape Sickbay.
"You've both survived the Delta Quadrant yet again...I think."
"You think?" challenged Harry sharply.
"Without being able to access the Admiral's files, I do not have a pre-mission baseline for comparison..." began Jess carefully, not sure how she would explain what else was troubling her without the Admiral's help.
"Something troubling you Doctor?" asked Janeway archly – the Admiral didn't feel like helping, but nor did she feel like dismissing Harry either, forcing the poor man to remain in the middle of what felt like a famous Janeway CMO standoff developing.
"Without your full medical history to access, yes Admiral."
"I see. Would you like to share your troubles with your Captain, Doctor?" asked Kathryn, leaning against the biobed, having taken the split second decision that, whilst she wasn't planning on making it easy for Harry's CMO, she did have a preference to make it easier on herself, and only go through this discussion once.
"With the Admiral's permission..." Doctor Lourdon trailed off, waiting for the silent nod from Janeway to share whatever was bothering her with her Commanding Officer, "...the Admiral's surprise addition to the mission has meant that Starfleet Medical did not release her medical record to me as part of the ship's crew compliment - I cannot access her main records," explained Jess, hoping he would catch on to her problem without her needing to venture into too much detail – she was supposed to be the fierce Chief Medical Officer who'd famously intimidated Admiral Paris into having his overdue medical with nothing more intense than a raised eyebrow, but right now, Janeway's calm demeanour and frustrating ability to not volunteer information except in response to a direct question...that was currently reducing the experienced doctor's confidence levels to that of a green cadet.
"How did you know the Admiral needed her medical then Doctor?" asked Harry, not understanding the intricacies of medical record classification.
"Once the Admiral was logged on the ship's crew manifest, as CMO I should be able to access her records in full from the main database Sir, despite her rank, but, as I'm sure the Admiral is aware, there is a secondary level of authorisation that is prohibiting me from accessing her file..." Jess trailed off, wondering if she'd just crossed that faint line of insubordination that was often hard to spot when a doctor was undergoing a battle of wills with a superior officer.
"Above what you were expecting given the Admiral's position?" asked Harry, his mind rapidly reviewing everything he could remember from their previous mission in the Delta Quadrant for some event of incident that could have resulted in his former Captain's medical records requiring a second classification.
"Computer, grant Dr Lourdon access to full Janeway medical records, authorisation Janeway Omega Delta Twelve..." said Kathryn, casually, as if asking the computer for nothing more significant than a time check.
"Access Granted," confirmed the computer, prompting Jess to stride towards the nearby workstation intent on absorbing as much information as possible in the thirty or so seconds she felt she had before the next round of verbal stonewalling from Janeway would begin.
"Have a seat Harry, I'm only intending to answer the Doctor's questions once whilst I'm in this Quadrant, so you may as well hear them now and not in ten minutes in your Ready Room..."
"Yes Admiral." Thoroughly confused, Harry obediently leant against an adjacent biobed, recognising from Kathryn's deceptively relaxed posture and calm, warm tone, that her suggestion was not a request and not negotiable.
"Oh, and Harry?"
"This is a Kathryn conversation from now on..." Seeing that the doctor was looking up from the screen, her face revealing her shock and disbelief despite her best attempts at professional decorum, Kathryn asked, "...does that give you answers or questions Doctor?"
"Both Admiral...I...it...." Glancing at Harry for a brief, confused moment, Jess finally managed to blurt out her discovery, "...it says you've been diagnosed with Delkargian Lesions..."
"That's fatal!" exclaimed Harry, recognising the name of one of the last remaining genuinely untreatable fatal diseases that continued to defy all scientific treatments.
"Does it answer your question about whether I've survived the mission?" asked Kathryn, not noticing that her choice of words caused Harry to wince and the Doctor to blink.
"Not quite Admiral, no..."
"I can assure you Doctor, the nanoprobes were with me when I left Voyager."
"Nanoprobes?" Harry felt like his brain had suddenly deserted him.
"You've cleared the post mission medical then Admiral..." said Doctor Lourdon carefully, although she was still reeling from the shock of discovering that Admiral Kathryn Janeway, hero of the 'Fleet and seemingly indestructible conqueror of the Delta Quadrant had failed to beat the 1 in 1 billion odds that were the probability of a Terran female contracting Delkargian Lesions...
"Thank you. In that case, I'll be in my quarters. You are both invited to dinner there, 1900. We will answer your questions then." And with that, Admiral Janeway left Sickbay, well aware that she'd left her colleagues with more questions than answers.
"We?" asked Jess, finally breaking the silence that had settled on sickbay, becoming aware of the medical personnel who, on seeing Janeway emerge from sickbay, had started filtering back in from the corridor where they'd all been ushered by Voyager's experienced Senior Nurse who knew that there was only one safe place to be when an Admiral, Captain and CMO were having a discussion in the main sickbay – somewhere else.
"Who else would the Admiral get nanoprobes from?" asked Harry quietly, noticing their privacy was about to be disturbed again.
"Perhaps we should continue this in my office Captain..."
"You drink scotch?" asked Jess, their activity now shielded from the rest of sickbay by the tinted window of her office, affording them some privacy to wrap their minds around the latest bombshell to be revealed by Kathryn Janeway.
"I do today..." agreed Harry, not normally a fan of the drink but deciding that just as it had seemed wrong to disagree with an Admiral, now it seemed wrong to argue with a Chief Medical Officer who'd just put two glasses and a bottle of scotch on their desk.
"Good..." Pouring a generous measure, Jess raised her glass and asked "...is the Delta Quadrant always this surprising?" before knocking back a generous gulp.
"Yes, as is Kathryn Janeway..." Despite his allegiance to his former Captain and mentor, Harry knew the vital importance of being on good terms with his CMO, making him decide it was in ship's interest to prepare to be as candid as the situation required, instinctively knowing that Kathryn's departure and invitation and been a calculated and deliberate attempt to provide him with this opportunity.
"I'd already been warned about that..."
"Specifically?" asked Harry, confused – he'd thought the Doctor and Admiral had never met before this mission.
"Admiral Janeway in the Delta Quadrant? No; Admirals on Starships? Lesson 3 in CMO school..." retorted Jess wryly, pouring two more generous measures of the scotch.
"And the scotch?" asked Harry, picking up the glass, wondering how the CMO had snuck the contraband on board and deciding he didn't want to worry about it.
"Why didn't you say something when her record was sealed?" asked Harry, sipping the burning liquid, suddenly glad for the stodgy porridge-like meal they'd shared on the planet.
"That's common practice for Admirals, although as CMO of a ship she's now officially on the manifest for, I should have been able to access it..."
"Do you have much experience with nanoprobes?"
"None, except what Seven of Nine taught me during her exam..." admitted Jess quietly, gesturing towards a pile of PADDs on the edge of her desk, "...she implied I should set myself homework..."
"That's Seven for you Jess..."
"She learnt it from the Admiral I presume?"
"That's who taught me..." agreed Harry.
"So I'd heard..." laughed Jess, suddenly glad to have a moment's distraction from the huge 'elephant in her office' to paraphrase the old Earth saying.
"Admiral on Deck!" came the call as Janeway entered the Astrometrics lab, an area of this Voyager that, like Sickbay, always surprised her every time she entered and saw the team of eight working at the stations.
"As you were...where's Seven?" she asked conversationally, already sufficiently familiar with the crew that worked this department to adopt a slightly more relaxed air with them – they'd been in the Delta Quadrant now long enough for Kathryn to get bored as a passenger and therefore need department to 'meddle in' as Seven had put it: Astrometrics had seemed the safest, and most interesting for a bored Admiral to pass the Alpha Shift in.
"Behind you, Admiral," came the calm reply even as Seven unfolded herself from the Jeffries Tube she'd been working in.
"What are you doing?" asked Kathryn, surprised at her lover's location, absently noticing that, like the staff in Sickbay earlier, the crew was magically melting away from this area of the lab to give the two Senior Officers a modicum of privacy.
"I was recalibrating a circuit..."
"By how much?" asked Kathryn, having a fairly good idea what Seven's answer might be.
"0.007%" Even for Seven, that was an extremely small anomaly to correct, unless...
"Can you log off duty?"
"Of course..." It was a sign as to how troubled Seven was that she did so without complaint or debate – the thought of retreating away from the ship and crew with Kathryn far more calming than the relative sanctity of a Jeffries Tube.
"I do not require nutritional supplements at this time..." declared Seven evenly, reverting to her more comfortably and instinctual vocabulary.
"Me either, though I should probably eat something to counteract the large scotch I plan on drinking..." decided Kathryn as they headed for the turbolift, the trauma of 1000 banjos forgotten...
As they entered Kathryn's quarters, Kathryn instinctively started shedding her tunic and her rank insignia, obviously intent on doing everything she could to forget that she was 'Admiral Janeway' for a while. Seven, in contrast, just came to a grinding halt the moment she was beyond the range of the door sensor.
"Darling?" asked Kathryn carefully when she noticed Seven's movements.
"I find I am..." Seven paused as she assessed her emotions and attempted to categorise them. To her fleeting frustration, she failed to find a single word to describe her situation, requiring her to make use of a list, "...tense, concerned, frightened..."
"Frightened?" Kathryn was immediately worried – she thought they'd overcome the shock of her situation sufficiently long ago now that it no longer frightened Seven.
"About people's response to us now the nanoprobes have been discovered."
"I see..." Whilst it might have sounded cold or distant to respond to Seven's admission like that, Kathryn had learnt over a number of years and conversations that, when Seven was this troubled, it was important to let Seven process and verbalise all of her own variables before Kathryn confused her lover with new emotional data.
"You are not concerned?" asked Seven, surprised.
"That some of the crew might not like it? Sure, but I do not plan on the whole crew knowing. Harry and Doctor Lourdon know – there's no reason for anyone else to know, unless I end up being treated in Sickbay by another member of the Medical Staff at the crucial moment, like today."
"But you always say that gossip travels at warp speed..."
"And it does, but not something like this – Sickbay doesn't gossip about things like this."
"The Doctor did..." retorted Seven promptly, looking slightly irritated as she felt Kathryn had been lying to her in order to ease her discomfort.
"When we discovered I had this..." began Kathryn, guiding her troubled partner over to the couch so that they could relax into each other's presence with more ease, "...I went to Starfleet Medical and was seen by half a dozen people before Beverly Crusher took over my case. Anyone of those could have started the rumour which would have seen the news spread throughout Starfleet."
"But Doctor Lourdon knew nothing and she worked at Starfleet Medical...I saw her at a distance when I was waiting for you some days," recalled Seven, still not understanding, but happy for the moment to confirm facts with the benefit of her eidetic memory.
"The Doctor was a lovely person and a highly skilled medical professional, but the role he was performing on Voyager was massively outside the scope of his initial system configuration. The original parameters for the EMH was rapid diagnostic and treatment, not the broader range of skills that a CMO must have..." began Kathryn, only to be interrupted by Seven,
"...hence why he kept trying to reconfigure his matrix to 'improve' him as a person."
"Correct – he would I'm sure be one of the first to acknowledge that; his other attempts were to integrate more into the crew, which exposed him to other social interactions which he was not prepared for, including 'gossip'. He never disclosed medical details which he shouldn't, even with me trying to order him..." recalled Kathryn wryly, remembering some of her stand-offs with him when she'd discovered just how robust that area of his programming really was.
"But if he heard gossip he eagerly participated...and that was often medical..."
"Yes, but those lapses occurred because he was not properly equipped to deal with gossip."
"I was not properly equipped to deal with gossip when I joined Voyager..." observed Seven thoughtfully, instinctively pulling Kathryn more comfortably against her as she gradually relaxed into the couch, a good indicator to Kathryn that her lover's confusion was perhaps easing.
"No, but you became much better with practice..." teased Kathryn gently, earning her a slightly reproachful squeeze from Seven.
"As did the Doctor...are you saying that Doctor Lourdon and her team are already fully trained in gossip?"
"In a way, I guess I am..." agreed Kathryn, trying not to laugh at Seven's description.
"In that case, I will endeavour to stop being troubled about something that, according to you, will not happen."
"Really?" Kathryn was surprised – she'd expected Seven to need a longer, more logically involved discussion on the issue.
"That you are not unduly worried is reason enough – I will not 'borrow trouble'..." declared Seven, easing Kathryn into an even more intimate position, one that enabled the blonde to place a delicate kiss on her lover's neck, before whispering, "...it is inefficient..." prompting Kathryn to laugh.
"Are you rust proof?"
"Of course...Borg do not rust..."
"Then can we move this to a bathtub please? I've got a horrible headache..."
"Kathryn!" Suddenly panicked, Seven sat up abruptly, taking Kathryn with her, causing Kathryn to quickly review what she'd said, realising what the problem was.
"No, not one of those headaches...I'm fine darling, totally fine..." assured Kathryn quickly, turning in Seven's embrace so she could look into Seven's eyes.
"But you said..."
"The planet ceremony, it was a concert...."
"You like music, especially orchestral..."
"Computer, play five random samples of Banjo music simultaneously, five seconds only." Suddenly, the room was filled with something that Seven found distinctly painful.
"That was unpleasant Kathryn..."
"That was five instruments for five seconds. The 'concert' was 1000 instruments for three hours..."
"Do I get my bath now?" teased Kathryn, deciding to ignore Seven's massive understatement.
"Indeed..." declared Seven, standing up, Kathryn still in her arms, "...I will make your headache disappear..." announced Seven confidently, heading carefully for the bathroom.
"You sound confident..." teased Kathryn, deliberately setting up Seven's response, glad that Seven 'teasable' now.
"Resistance is futile...."
"Thank you darling...for everything..." whispered Kathryn as she was carefully set down on her feet in the bathroom, a bathroom which had obviously been designed with Kathryn Janeway in mind on account of the sumptuous bathtub.
"That is what 'love' means to me Kathryn..." replied Seven carefully, leaning in to kiss her lover, "...love is everything...love is you..."
"Thank you for a lovely dinner Admiral..." began Jess Lourdon, enjoying the final scraping of desert, knowing she really couldn't lick her bowl out in the presence of an Admiral.
"Thank Seven – she's the one who's mastered that skill – I still burn pot roast..."
"As do I – Seven, if you're available for lessons on the proper use of a replicator, I would be extremely grateful, that was a delight..." repeated Jess, this time directing her praise at the correct host.
"Are you really as bad as Kathryn?" asked Seven, impressed. She'd always felt her lover's replicator skill was unique.
"Worse...I can't even replicate a scotch..."
"How do you cope?" asked Kathryn, wincing in sympathy – at least she'd managed to master liquid refreshment which was important.
"By bringing an illicit case of the stuff on board with me..." admitted Jess, a split second before she realised who she'd admitted it to, "...that was stupid..." she added, only to be surprised at the broad smile to suddenly cross Seven's face.
"Seven?" asked Harry, surprised by the reaction from his friend.
"I thought you said she was fully trained Kathryn..."
"She is...that was a Freudian Slip..." countered Kathryn, enjoying making the collected CMO squirm a little.
"An unconscious admission triggered by the semi-conscious...normally with reference to one's mother..." recited Seven, obviously accessing the phrase from somewhere within her cortical node, "...you think Kathryn is your mother?" challenged Seven, confused.
"Seven!" shrieked Kathryn, busting into laughter, as much at Jess's facial reaction as Seven's question.
"Freudian Slips cover everything, although popular jokes do often centre around the male's desire to choose a female partner who shares many characteristics with their mother..." explained Harry hastily, remembering as much as he could from the Academy Psychology course he'd been obliged to take.
"I have met your mother..." began Seven, obviously starting on a review of all the liaisons she knew Harry had had...
"Don't go there Seven..." warned Kathryn, much to Harry's relief, before she continued, "...the good doctor's slip was admitting to Harry and me that she has a case of proper scotch on board – we both now know who to seek out when we want a shot of the decent stuff..."
"The Admiral is implying that it would seem I have a sub-conscious desire to get drunk with her and the Captain Seven..." explained Jess, enjoying the surrealness of the conversation, so much lighter than earlier, when the intricacies of the Admiral's condition and dependence on Seven for a monthly dose of nanoprobes was discussed.
"I see..." It was obvious to all that Seven was about to say something else, only to be stopped when Kathryn interrupted her,
"Don't say anything else on this subject..."
"I was only..."
"Very well..." Seemingly complicit, Seven nodded her head briefly before starting to clear the plates, leaving a bemused but amused Harry and Jess trying to work out exactly what Janeway was trying to stop Seven say, or why Seven had given in so easily.
"More wine Doctor?" offered Kathryn, topping up their glasses.
"Thank you..." Taking up the glass of rich red liquid, Jess raised the glass to her lips just as Seven, safely out of harm's way by the replicator, asked far too innocently,
"Did your colouring and stature come from your Mother Doctor?" prompting spontaneous spraying of wine by one short, red-headed Admiral and one, not quite as short but far from tall reddish blonde Doctor...
"I will take that as a yes..."
As the latest Voyager swept majestically through the Delta Quadrant having survived its first Delta Quadrant adventure, the newest Voyager CMO finally felt at ease in the presence of her Captain and Admiral, discovering also, as many on the original Voyager, including her predecessor had, that Seven of Nine was good for Kathryn Janeway, which in turn was good for the crew...unlike many great Captains, Kathryn Janeway was fully aware she was not indestructible, aware that there were chances she had taken that she shouldn't have got away with, chances that one day wouldn't work out in her favour...thing was, as she sat watching the three old friends interact and share with her stories of their first time in the Delta Quadrant, Jess Lourdon wasn't entirely convinced that Janeway wasn't indestructible, that somewhere, someone or something was ensuring that Seven of Nine would always have her Kathryn, always have her 'Collective of Two'...
On the Bridge, the Gamma Shift Ops Ensign checked his terminal, noting the occasional fluctuations (within standard parameters) on the boundary of the warp bubble that surrounded the ship, enabling it to scythe through space.
On the hull, the source of those fluctuations sat, just outside the field of vision that anyone looking out of the window in Kathryn's quarters would have had.
"Is she going to be ok Dad?" asked Q Junior, looking to his father for guidance.
"Of course!" retorted Q, it was obvious.
"Dad..." Q Junior wanted something a little more serious.
"Your Aunt Kathy will be fine..."
"But that disease..."
"Will be kept at bay by your Aunt Seven for as long as is necessary, and you know I'm always watching..."
"I don't understand, why don't you just cure her?" asked Q Junior, slightly reassured that his father was watching over her, but confused – if they were all powerful, omnipotent immortal beings, why didn't he just cure her?
"Because if I did that, she'd no longer be part of this Universe...only one Universe can have Kathryn Janeway at a time, and right now, this one needs her more..."
"No buts," replied Q firmly, standing up, gesturing for his son to do the same, "...it's the order of things..."
"But you're always meddling with the order of things..."
"There are two things I do not meddle with..." replied Q tersely, brushing space dust from his clothes, "...your mother's wardrobe and your Aunt Kathy's will – advice you'd take well to heed...."
"She will be ok?"
"Look at her..." encouraged Q, gesturing for his son to take one final peek through the window, revealing a relaxed, happy Kathryn curled up with Seven as Harry told yet another story, "...she already is..." And, with a click of his fingers, the two Qs winked out of this universe.
"Anything to report Ensign?" asked Commander Jackson, wondering if this shift was genuinely as quiet as it seemed – was it possible to go several hours in the Delta Quadrant with nothing to report?
"No Sir...even the warp bubble is now perfectly uniform..."
"No Sir, there were some minor fluctuations concentrated above Deck Two, section 12 for a few minutes, but even those have disappeared now."
"That's the VIP quarters..." mused Jake, "...run a diagnostic?"
"Already have Sir, everything's exactly in order...just one of those things Sir..."
"Thank you Ensign..."
"Nothing Ensign, just thinking about something..."
"Yes Sir..." And Jake was, and unsurprisingly, they were the thoughts being echoed across the minds of Seven, Harry, Jess and a couple of 'Q's...whatever happened, the Universe felt better with Kathryn Janeway in it, so in it, no matter what else happened, Kathryn Janeway would remain...