Disclaimer: Star Trek Voyager and all who sail in her belong to Paramount/Viacom and no infringement of copyright/trade marks is intended. This story includes same sex relationships between women. If you are offended by this or it is illegal where you live or you are underage then please read no further.
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Description: B'Elanna is finding life hard as a working mother. Seven is finding it hard to to live as a human without emotion. If anyone has written a more romantic T/7 then I'd like to see it :-)
|Chapter 1 |
2 Jan 2002
|Chapter 2 |
2 Jan 2002
|Chapter 3 |
2 Jan 2002
|Chapter 4 |
2 Jan 2002
|Chapter 5 |
2 Jan 2002
|Chapter 6 |
2 Jan 2002
|Chapter 7 |
2 Jan 2002
|Chapter 8 |
2 Jan 2002
|Chapter 9 |
2 Jan 2002
|Chapter 10 - Epilogue |
2 Jan 2002
2 Jan 2002
B'Elanna tried to rein in her temper as she argued with Tom Paris over the Comm. "Tom, you promised that you would pick up Kate this morning before your shift. I don't have time to get her ready and still finish my shift report before the morning meeting."
"I'm sorry B'Elanna, I was helping Harry with this new modification for the bar tonight, and I guess we got carried away. I can come up now if you want."
"Just hurry will you."
B'Elanna jiggled her daughter on her hip as she tried to gather the PADDs she would require in engineering this morning. Kate had been born only a few weeks ago and B'Elanna was still trying to adjust to being a working mother. She was effectively a single working mother. She and Tom had ended their relationship several months after B'Elanna had discovered her pregnancy. It had been an amicable separation; it was obvious to both of them that Tom just didn't have what it took to make a marriage work. He had been wonderful in helping B'Elanna come to terms with her fears of having a half-Klingon child, and there was no doubt he loved his child, whenever he was around her he doted and played like an indulgent father should. The problem was he was almost never around. He made promises to look after her and then forgot, or was hours late.
The hardest part was that B'Elanna couldn't set a realistic schedule for herself or for Kate. If Tom had merely been a jerk or refused to help out she could have figured out how to deal with that, but Tom always had the best of intentions, pleading with B'Elanna to allow him time to be with Kate and to be a father to her. So she believed him, trusted him, and then ended up with mornings like this for her troubles. Still, you couldn't stay mad at Tom...you just couldn't stay married to him either.
Tom finally came through the doors to B'Elanna's quarters, obviously out of breath from having sprinted down the corridor from the turbolift in an attempt to limit his lateness. As soon as Kate caught site of the helmsman she threw her hands up, wanting to be picked up and danced around the room by her father who immediately obliged.
"Neelix is going to look after her today, so just drop her by the messhall, and please don't forget the diaper bag this time Ok."
Tom had the good grace to look sheepish as he nodded.
"I've got to go, I'm going to be late," B'Elanna said as hurried out of the room and headed to engineering.
Seven raised her glass and made a toast to the newest member of Voyager's crew. She seemed totally relaxed and at ease with the crew as she spoke eloquently about dreams and made a witty joke at Tom's expense about logic.
Pleased with herself, Seven ran the simulation again, trying to add a bit of spontaneity to her toast this time. She had been running these simulations for weeks now in an attempt to enhance her humanity. Everything seemed to be going well. Her romantic affiliation with the Chakotay hologram was progressing nicely, and her friendship simulations were also successful. The problem was that once she left the holodeck, and her implants and biosuit were again in evidence, she seemed to be unable to replicate the experience in reality.
She had been hoping that the baby shower for Kate Torres-Paris next week would be the event that changed all of that. It was to that end that she had been practicing so diligently on her toasts and social interactions. According to Klingon tradition, baby showers were never held until after the child was born, so she had had plenty of time to practice. She was unsure as to why this particular occasion seemed so important to her. Perhaps it was because of her difficult relationship with Lieutenant Torres; if she could manage to have a civil social experience with the fiery engineer she might feel that she had passed a milestone of sorts, and would feel more confident in her ability to interact with the crew.
Having run the baby shower simulation several more times, she changed the program to the one of her holographic quarters and a date with Commander Chakotay. Things had progressed nicely to this point, and it seemed likely that they would be taking the next logical step in their relationship very soon. When the commander entered the room Seven was quick to engage him in some witty banter while she took his coat. They prepared dinner together while chatting. After dinner the holographic commander began to initiate a more intimate encounter with the young drone. She felt dizzy when he kissed her, hearing an odd buzzing sound that was quite uncomfortable. She pulled away from his arms and attempted to put the encounter back on safer, more platonic, grounds. The hologram became agitated at this point, accusing her of sabotaging their relationship in an attempt to not have to face the consequences of her burgeoning humanity. As she argued with him, the buzzing in her head grew louder, and she called the doctor saying that there was a medical emergency in the holodeck just before she lost consciousness.
B'Elanna had almost caught up on her work when the Doctor's voice came over the Comm asking her to report to sickbay. Her heart froze as she frantically replied that she was on her way and sprinted out of engineering, terrified that something terrible had happened to Kate. She ran through the doors to sickbay fighting back tears and crying out, "where is she, what happened?"
The doctor and Seven looked at her in surprise and the doctor spoke, "she's right here Lieutenant," as he gestured toward Seven.
"What, where's Kate?" B'Elanna's fear turned to anger.
"I am assuming your daughter is wherever you left her. I called you here to discuss a matter relating to Seven of Nine."
"Kahless, you nearly gave me a heart attack over the Borg. What the hell do I have to do with Seven's health anyway." B'Elanna knew that she was overreacting, but the fear she had felt when she thought her daughter was in danger pushed logic out the window as she vented on the nearest available object.
The doctor began a longwinded explanation of the events of the morning leading up to his discovery of an emotion inhibitor implanted in Seven's cortical node.
As the doctor spoke the buzzing in Seven's head increased; she felt an acute sense of embarrassment as the doctor gave details of her private holoprogram to B'Elanna. She winced as he spoke dispassionately about her relationship with the holographic Chakotay, seeing the look of disbelief and amusement on B'Elanna's face when she heard that little bit of news.
"Ok fine, but I still don't see what any of this has to do with me Doc."
"Well, I was hoping that you and I could work together to establish a series of protocols, both medical and mechanical, to remove the inhibitor and allow Seven full access to her emotions," the doctor explained.
"Always assuming she has any," B'Elanna snapped, still angry.
The doctor was indignant on Seven's behalf and was about to begin defending her when Seven herself interrupted saying, "Lieutenant Torres is correct. I believe that even were such a procedure available I would not wish to undergo it. My explorations into my humanity are already interfering with my duties; to have access to the full range of my emotions would only serve to further degrade my performance. Thank you for your help doctor and your time Lieutenant Torres. I am sorry you were alarmed by the Doctor's hail."
With that, Seven left the room before either the doctor or B'Elanna could respond. The doctor turned on B'Elanna angrily, "your behaviour is inexcusable Lieutenant Torres. How you can be so cold to the plight of a fellow officer is beyond me."
B'Elanna was already feeling a twinge of guilt regarding the way she had spoken about Seven, but she was damned if she would admit that in front of the doctor so she lashed out to cover her embarrassment. "She is not my fellow officer, she doesn't even belong to Starfleet; she's an ex-borg drone who does nothing but argue procedure with me and get in the way of me running my engine room, so don't lecture me about proper behaviour okay."
The doctor could do nothing but shake his head as B'Elanna stormed out of the room. 'And I thought perhaps motherhood would mellow her,' he thought to himself as he returned to his research on Seven's problem.
Several weeks passed during which time Seven steadfastly refused to allow the doctor to help her with the emotional inhibitor. She never returned to her holodeck program and ended all but the most minimal of interaction with any member of the crew. She did not attend the baby shower for B'Elanna's child; in fact she tried to stay as far from B'Elanna and engineering as she could.
Seven walked into the messhall and the loud crying of a quarter-Klingon child immediately assaulted her auditory senses. Neelix was desperately trying to soothe Kate at the same time as he was trying to prepare for the dinner rush. Tom Paris had been supposed to pick Kate up after his shift ended an hour ago, but true to form he had yet to appear. Neelix had called B'Elanna several times in the past when Tom had failed to show up on time to retrieve his daughter and he was reluctant to do so again as it invariably led to a fight between the two young parents. Spying Seven entering the room he hurried over to her, "Seven, you're just the person I needed to see. Could you just hold wee Kate for a minute while I sort out the entrée? She won't be any trouble at all," he said while handing the child over to the drone.
Seven was shocked to find herself holding a squalling, squirming child in her hands. She had no idea what to do, so she simply regarded the young child holding her under the arms and at a distance from her body. Seven was the picture of uneasiness. Neelix hurried back across the room to show Seven the proper method of child holding before he returned to the kitchen. Seven lay the child on her shoulder and was surprised to feel Kate burrow into her neck and immediately cease crying. She began to pace around the messhall holding the now-content child and patting her back in what she hoped was a soothing manner.
B'Elanna was exhausted after being up half the night with a crying child followed by a full day's work in engineering. She was glad that Tom was looking after Kate for the evening as it would give her a chance to relax a bit and eat a quiet meal with no interruptions. She walked into the messhall and was shocked to find her child cooing contentedly in the arms of Seven of Nine.
Neelix saw the flash of anger cross the volatile Klingon's face and he hurried to intervene. "B'Elanna, so good to see you. Tom was delayed and Seven volunteered to look after Kate for a minute while I put the finishing touches on dinner. Please don't worry, everything is fine."
"Um, sure Neelix, thanks," B'Elanna said distractedly as she hurried to take her child from the clutches of the Borg.
Seven was surprised to feel such a sense of loss when B'Elanna took Kate from her arms. She felt a slight headache begin to form and knew it was the cortical inhibitor working. She followed B'Elanna, watching as she lay Kate in her carry seat. The baby was gurgling happily and upon catching sight of the light gleaming off Seven's Borg-enhanced hand she reached out to try to grab the shiny object. Seven reacted to Kate's gesture by automatically extending her hand so that the child could grasp her fingers. The baby, who was starting to teethe, immediately tried to stick Seven's fingers in her mouth. Seven allowed the child to gnaw on her hand and was surprised at B'Elanna's reaction.
"No, Kate," B'Elanna cried as removed Seven's hand from that of the child. Seeing a flash of emotion cross Seven's face B'Elanna tried lamely to explain, "I'm sorry, I don't want her to cut her mouth, look, thanks for helping out Seven, we're fine now."
Seven felt the buzzing in her head increase in volume, her head was splitting with pain and she had to put a hand on the table to steady herself.
B'Elanna couldn't believe the effect her words had on the ex-drone, and then her Klingon hearing picked up the sound of a buzz emanating from Seven's cortical implant.
"Jeez, Seven, are you Ok, maybe we should call sick bay."
"I am fine Lieutenant Torres. I just have a slight headache. I am sorry for touching your child, but I assure you she was in no danger, my implants are not sharp."
B'Elanna felt like a complete fool. She reached out a hand and put it on Seven's shoulder, saying, "I'm the one that's sorry Seven. I overreacted completely. I'm just really tired and I'm still getting used to this whole motherhood thing. I'm also sorry about what I said in sickbay the other day, I was way over the line."
She was about to inquire further into Seven's health when Tom came sweeping into the messhall, a mass of energy and apologies as he picked up Kate, explaining that he had arranged to spend the evening in the holodeck with a new baby program he had created. By the time he left, Seven had already retrieved her nutritional supplement and was consuming it on the other side of the room. B'Elanna picked up her meal and took a seat away from Seven, eating in silence as she digested what had happened earlier.
The next day B'Elanna was surprised to see Seven of Nine walk into engineering. This was the first time she had come to the engine room since the incident in sickbay. B'Elanna was torn when she saw the young drone approaching the dismantled console she was working on. She had been happy to be rid of what was essentially an annoyance to her, but also felt badly about her behaviour toward the younger woman, worried that she had gone too far and damaged Seven somehow by her comments.
"Good afternoon Lieutenant Torres."
"I have completed my duties in Astrometrics and wish to know if you have need of my assistance here," Seven stated calmly, linking her arms behind her back and cocking her head to one side in a gesture that weakened the knees of most members of Voyager's crew, but usually served to infuriate the chief engineer.
B'Elanna bit back the answer she had been about to give and instead opted for a more neutral tone. "Um, sure Seven, there's some kind of feedback loop in this console and we've been trying to isolate it for about an hour now, why don't you give it a try."
Without further comment Seven turned to her task. She was functioning at less than peak efficiency lately as she had been suffering from an almost constant headache ever since discovering the emotion inhibitor. It seemed that once she had reached the point in her development that she was experiencing strong emotions the inhibitor began to work, and was now creating a neural disturbance when Seven experienced any emotion at all. Thus it was that she was distracted as she reached out her Borg-enhanced hand to make an adjustment to the console's power supply, not seeing that the power was still turned on.
B'Elanna, upon seeing that Seven was about to grab a live wire, gave a shout and moved to push the young drone out of the way, but she was too late. The metal of Seven's implants came into contact with the live wire and she dropped like a rock. She lay on the deck plating, her implants all malfunctioning in the wake of the power surge that had ripped through her body. Her ocular implant was twitching wildly and her eye was forced closed. Her hand was opening and closing, and the assimilation tubules shot out and retracted randomly. B'Elanna could hear the emotion inhibitor buzzing loudly as Seven's embarrassment at her situation was compounded when her cortical implant malfunctioned, causing her to lose control of her bladder.
The rest of the crew could only stare at the beautiful drone lying on the floor, thrashing about in a pool of her own bodily waste.
"Everybody out of here, NOW," B'Elanna yelled.
She knelt over the obviously distressed young drone, saying, "it's going to be Ok Seven. I just need to get a couple of tools and we'll get you fixed right up."
B'Elanna quickly retrieved a set of micro spanners and a power meter and returned to Seven's still twitching side. She used a small hyperspanner to gain access to the controls of Seven's ocular implant, making a small adjustment that allowed her eye to open again. She then reached for Seven's enhanced hand.
"Please be careful Lieutenant Torres, I do not have control over my assimilation tubules at this point."
"Don't worry Seven, I'll take care of it, you're going to be just fine."
B'Elanna knelt down on Seven's forearm with just enough weight to hold the arm still, she then quickly reached out grasping her hand just above the tubule port. She made a few quick adjustments and Seven's arm was still.
"Sorry about that Seven, hope I didn't hurt you too much."
"I was not damaged further," Seven replied quietly.
B'Elanna made a few more adjustments and did a quick scan of Seven's systems to ensure that everything was in working order. "I think you need to go to sickbay for a checkup and then you should probably regenerate, the alcove should bleed off the excess energy you still have running around in your system, but other than that I think you're going to be Ok," B'Elanna said as she helped Seven regain her feet.
Seven looked down at the large damp stain on the crotch and legs of her biosuit. The emotional inhibitor began to buzz again as she felt an overwhelming sense of shame at being seen like this by the chief engineer.
"Hey, it could happen to anybody," B'Elanna said softly, removing her jacket and tying it around Seven's hips in such a manner as to hide as much of the stain as possible.
B'Elanna took Seven by the arm and began to lead her out of engineering. She shouted at a group of young crewmen who were staring at the scene in front of them to clean up the mess and get back to work. She took Seven down the hall to the turbolift and ordered it to deck 9. Seven raised her ocular implant, knowing that this was not the way to sickbay.
"I thought you might like to change and shower before you go to sickbay. You can replicate a new biosuit and use my sonic shower if you like. I, ah, I guess I need a new jacket as well," she finished.
"Thank you Lieutenant Torres."
B'Elanna showed Seven where the shower was and got out a large fluffy towel for her to use. She then went to the replicator and ordered a biosuit identical to the one Seven had been wearing and a new uniform jacket for herself before dumping the soiled clothes into the recycler. She had intended to head back to engineering at this point, leaving Seven to make her own way to sickbay, but something stopped her. She thought back to the sight of Seven lying helplessly on the floor of engineering, and the sound of the buzzing cortical inhibitor she had now heard on several occasions, and made the decision to accompany Seven to sick bay to talk to the doctor about his research into the removal of the device.
Finished her shower, Seven dried off and was gratified to see that B'Elanna had already created a new biosuit for her to wear. She dressed quickly and was surprised to find the engineer still in her quarters.
"I thought you would have returned to engineering. I assure you I am well enough to go to sickbay on my own," the young drone said nervously.
"I thought I'd go with you and speak to the doctor about disabling that emotional inhibitor," B'Elanna said casually.
"NO, I thought I made it clear that I did not wish to pursue that idea any further," Seven's voice sounded panicked and once again B'Elanna's hearing detected the sound of the inhibitor working.
"Look, Seven, you can't go on like this. You're going to do yourself real damage if you try, in fact, you're lucky you didn't kill yourself just now in engineering."
Seven knew that B'Elanna was right, but she was still reluctant to have the inhibitor removed; it was obvious to her that she was not able to deal with her emotions. She was afraid that she would be unable to perform her duties for Voyager any longer if she was unable to cope with her humanity properly, and frankly, what else did she have in her life except for her duties.
B'Elanna could see the pain and confusion on the young drone's face, so she took her arm and led her from the room saying, "let's just listen to what he has to say alright. I'm sure everything is going to turn out okay ."
The doctor looked surprised to see the famous adversaries coming into sickbay together, especially since Seven was holding onto B'Elanna's arm as if her life depended upon it. After hearing her story the EMH did a careful scan of Seven and concurred with B'Elanna's opinion that all Seven really needed was a long regeneration cycle to rid her body of the ill effects of the accident. He was about to tell Seven to go and get some rest when B'Elanna spoke.
"Doc, I think we really need to look at your ideas for getting that emotion inhibitor disabled or removed, I don't think Seven can continue to function like this any longer."
While he seemed surprised at B'Elanna's change of heart, he wasted no time in fetching the PADD that contained his research so far. The three of them pored over the document, each coming up with possible solutions and then critiquing them thoroughly. Finally, after an hour or so, the doctor insisted that Seven go regenerate while he and B'Elanna continued to work on the problem. By the time B'Elanna had to go and pick up Kate they were fairly certain that between the two of them they would be able to help Seven.
Seven stepped into the conference room the next morning and was surprised to see the chief engineer staring at her intently. She took her seat across from B'Elanna and nodded her head in greeting. The meeting started as all the department heads gave their various reports. Just as the Captain was about to end the meeting B'Elanna spoke.
"I think there is one more thing we need to discuss. As some of you know, Seven has been having some trouble with her cortical node lately. The doctor has discovered that she has been fitted with an emotional inhibitor that causes her great discomfort whenever she begins to experience a strong emotion."
There were some gasps around the room as people took in the enormity of what B'Elanna was saying.
"The doctor and I have done some research and we believe we've found a way to remove the inhibitor. This should allow Seven to function normally, and have access to all of her emotions."
Once again there was a flurry of talking around the room.
"What do you need," Janeway asked?
"Well, all we really need is a bit of time off duty for myself and for Seven. It should only take a couple of days to perfect the treatment, and Seven will require at least 2 or 3 days of solid regeneration time after the procedure. That's pretty much it really," B'Elanna explained.
"If you need any help all you have to do is ask," Harry Kim offered immediately.
"As of this moment consider yourself and Seven to be assigned full time to this project," Janeway stated emphatically.
"Hang on a minute. I think maybe there are some larger issues here that need to be discussed," Chakotay's calm voice interrupted the chatter at the table. "One of Seven's greatest assets is her ability to perform her duties without passion or prejudice. I believe that if we tamper with her cortical node and allow her to feel she will be diminished in her capacity to perform her duties."
"You aren't seriously suggesting that Seven shouldn't be allowed access to her own emotions just to benefit us are you?" B'Elanna demanded.
Seven was a little surprised at the vehemence of the Klingon's defense of her. B'Elanna had been solicitous over the past couple of days, but Seven didn't realize that she felt quite so deeply about her plight. It was a strange feeling for Seven to sit back and watch as the rest of the senior officers argued over her fate, but she feared for her health were she to engage in such an important and emotional debate at this point. She was still reluctant to have the inhibitor removed, but she recognized that B'Elanna had been right when she said that Seven was going to be hurt or killed if she continued on as she was any longer, so the drone had resigned herself to having the operation.
"Look, the bottom line is Seven was nearly killed in engineering yesterday as a direct result of the effect the inhibitor is having on her physically. All that aside, she's not a piece of property that we get to own and manipulate at will, she's a human being and a member of this crew. Nobody has the right to tell her that she isn't allowed to feel, or be less than perfect at her duties just because she gets emotional, after all isn't that what being human is all about," B'Elanna's voice rose over the din.
Chakotay looked a bit shocked at B'Elanna's emphatic defense of someone he knew she didn't really like, but he had to admit that, despite his discomfort with the idea of an emotionally functioning Seven, she did have a point. He tried one more time to make her understand his point of view, "I just think that we need to think about the fact that Seven is the most powerful person aboard Voyager. She has the ability to assimilate every member of this crew in a matter of hours. She has no experience with emotions and quite frankly no one in this room is qualified to tell if she can handle them or not. Do you really want to restore her emotions to her and risk that the next time she gets angry or overwrought she might get out of control...that someone might get hurt or killed? I would think that you of all people would be wary of that B'Elanna."
"You can't be serious. If she wanted to assimilate this crew or do bodily harm to someone it would be done already, trust me I know. She's not Borg anymore she's human. Giving Seven her emotions back isn't going to endanger this crew, and not giving them back is going to endanger her." B'Elanna was only getting started when Janeway's voice brought silence back to the room.
"Enough! There is to be no more discussion, B'Elanna, Seven and the doctor are going to go ahead with this procedure. I will not have any member of my crew treated like an object. Seven's health and her rights are paramount here."
That ended the discussion and the meeting as well.
As they filed out of the room Seven could see that Janeway and Chakotay were arguing at the head of the table. She felt her head begin to ache as she thought over everything she had seen and heard in the meeting. She'd thought that Chakotay was a friend and B'Elanna was, well, if not an enemy certainly not a friend, and now everything was turned upside down. She worried that B'Elanna or the doctor had told Chakotay about the hologram of him on which she practiced her romantic skills, perhaps that accounted for his hostility. She could only imagine how much more difficult things would become once she was able to really feel her emotions. Her headache increased as she walked toward sickbay.
To be continued....