WARNING: Lots of talk!! Lots of art and stuff!! If you're looking for short,
sweet, and skanky, look elsewhere!

Summary: F/solo, F/F (7/KJ), art
Rating: NC-17
Disclaimer: All the Star Trek names, characters and everything belong to
Paramount Pictures. I make no claims on them. I'm just having some fun.
Please don't sue me.

Note: This story takes place shortly before the sixth-season Star Trek:
Voyager episode "Dark Frontier." Also, single quotes (' ' ) represent
thoughts, double quotes (" ") are speech.

Warning: Lots and lots of non-sex talk! (Never hurts to be clear)

Star Trek - Voyager: The Secret Explorations Of Seven Of Nine
by Jeremy Ben-Levi ([email protected])

Seven of Nine finished entering the last entry in a long list of variables,
and set the computer to begin analysis. She had been working on her current
project, an examination of the possibility of creating a new kind of
high-warp slipstream, for several weeks, and even the state-of-the-art
Starfleet computer on Voyager would take slightly more than eighty hours to
analyze the tremendous number of complex variables in all of the variations
Seven was requiring. Seven tried not to think about how much faster Borg
systems, linked into the Collective's unified consciousness, would be at
such a process. Besides, she had not allowed herself adequate time to
regenerate over the past several weeks, so the extra time would allow her
to make up the difference.

Seven left the Astrometrics lab, and reminded herself to go to Deck Three
instead of the Cargo Bay she occupied on a part-time basis. The Doctor and
the Captain had both suggested that she try living in crew quarters for a
time, to see what the experience was like. She had not seen much need for
quarters, since she did little as it was in the Cargo Bay except for
regenerate and occasionally work, when others were using the Astrometrics
lab and she was not required on the bridge. But the Captain had thought
the experiment with regular quarters would prove educational, and Seven
had allowed herself to be persuaded...for a short time. So she had taken
quarters on Deck Three, stripped the place of most human foibles, like
vases of flowers, shelves for knick-knacks, paintings, armchairs, and such.
Seven, the Doctor, and B'Elanna Torres had taken parts from one of the
unused Borg regeneration alcoves in the Cargo Bay, and modified the
technology so as to fit around a Starfleet issue bunk. Seven was not
convinced that regenerating horizontally had any more merit than vertically,
but the Captain had thought the horizontal experience would 'feel' more
like regular human sleep. So Seven had agreed, on a temporary basis, despite
the fact that she still often used the Cargo Bay as well, when it was
convenient. The regeneration worked just as well no matter where it was
undertaken or in what position, and in all honesty, Seven was actually
rather pleased with the privacy people accorded her quarters. Although
Seven had not frequently been disturbed by people simply walking into the
Cargo Bay without warning when she desired privacy, she had grown to find
even the sporadic instances rather irritating. She found that private
quarters were actually occasionally conducive to work, and she took what
opportunities she could find for researching in her new-found privacy.

And also, she admitted to herself, any chances for her to continue her
personal research were welcome ones. Seven, who still largely thought of
herself in Borg terms, was conducting extensive research into human culture
in her attempt to re-integrate herself into the incredibly diverse and (by
Borg standards) shockingly loosely-knit society of Terrans. She still found
much of human behavior odd at best, incomprehensible at worst, but she was
beginning to slowly develop appreciation for what Terran society had to
offer. Ever since her educational, but somewhat unimpressive foray into
human social interaction via the Doctor's tutoring, Seven had decided that
it might prove beneficial to pursue a more theoretical path of study before
continuing the more practical, at least regarding the more potent human
passions. She had read numerous sociological and anthropological texts which
maintained that the key to understanding a culture was to understand its art.
So she had begun to study the arts. Though she never would have admitted it,
Seven had become increasingly fascinated by the human concept of art, and by
extension, the more powerful emotions that fueled it. Although the Borg were
familiar with the concepts of visual arts, music, and literature (given that
most of the several thousand species the Borg had come in contact with
shared those concepts or had cognates in their cultures), they paid little
attention to them, and retained no real details. Art, in nearly every form,
served no function in a hive society based on the most practical elements of
the sciences and mathematics, nor did the Borg permit the primal emotions on
which Art is founded to exist in the unified mind. So Seven had little real
experience of Art or the passions which drive it, and found all the forms of
art and passions quite novel to say the least.

Music, in its purer forms, Seven had already begun to understand, and she
found herself developing a strong aesthetic appreciation- a fondness, though
she would never have admitted it was such to anyone else- for traditional
Terran symphonic forms, especially the German and Italian composers of the
'classical period.' Most cultural 'folk' forms, and most later forms of
popular music- including, oddly enough, most electronic musical forms- Seven
found tedious at best. With drama or fiction, Seven understood the concept,
but found it exceedingly difficult to 'suspend her disbelief,' and frequently
she remained impatient with characters' human inabilities to extract
themselves rationally from the confused jumble of their emotional situations.
But she struggled to read not only plays but novels and other prose fiction
anyway, attempting to view the characters and stories through the lens of
human society; thus she would learn how humans thought, and through that, why
they behaved the way they behaved.

Poetry was perhaps Seven's greatest struggle. Nearly all academic treatises
that Seven had read regarding humanoid societies and their literatures
indicated that best understanding of those societies could be best gained by
a true understanding of their poetry. But most poems- even those with highly
stylized forms such as sonnets, haiku, renku, or villanelles- Seven found
almost completely incomprehensible, composed as they were of potent
distillations of those human passions Seven understood the least to begin
with. But she wanted to understand poetry, feeling certain it was important,
and somehow, there were poems she found compelling, even if only in an
instinctive appreciation for their tones and rhythms, like appreciating a
song in a speech unknown to her merely for the sound of the language.

Visual arts Seven found challenging, but not beyond comprehending. She did
not care for most truly abstract pieces, finding them disturbingly senseless.
Nor did she care much for the so-called 'classical' European and Middle
Eastern early works of mosaic, sculpture, and mural, finding them either
unmoving or lacking in power. She found that while she appreciated some
European Renaissance art, and found a certain aesthetic inclination for the
classical works of Asian, African, and Polynesian forms, she was developing
a genuine fondness for classic Impressionist and early Expressionist work
of the European and American schools. She was beginning to appreciate the
third-wave Impressionism of the late 21st century Terran space stations,
but found the Lunar Expressionist following period to be lacking in potency.
She was not completely disinclined towards the holo-art of the late 22nd and
23rd centuries, but they struck her as somehow callow. Most displeasingly,
she found that every genre and era of Scandinavian art- which she had
investigated early, feeling that perhaps there could be some innate instinct
of Annika Hanssen's which might respond to them in her- was quite
unfathomable to her.

Seven idly wondered, as she almost automatically made some notations on her
padd, whether the rest of the crew spent even a fraction as much of their
time in the holodeck as she spent hers, in art museums, concerts, at the
theater, and questioning or listening to the great artists and critics of
Earth's history. She sometimes wondered if her course of study was helping
at all, but she increasingly found herself instinctively feeling emotions
that she would not have believed she'd had a year ago previously. She felt
a surprisingly powerful connection with young Naomi Wildman, and felt that
she was beginning to develop a true appreciation for the comradeship of
some of her fellow shipmates, especially the captain, whom Seven had been
startled to realize she regarded as a friend. She felt she was starting to
understand Tuvok, and perhaps even Chakotay as well. But she still found
B'Elanna Torres impossibly Klingon and therefore beyond her ken, and Tom
Paris and Harry Kim unutterably peculiar. Paris and Kim were fine officers,
but far too immersed in their personal lives and consumed with their
passions, whether for odd holodeck programs, or historical eccentricities,
or sexual relations with females. This characteristically human emotional
entanglement of artistic emotions and psychosocial behavior with what was
essentially a simple, rather haphazard, method of biological reproduction,
Seven found almost ludicrous.

Seven knew that humans spent a considerable amount of their time either
contemplating, pursuing, or engaging in mating behavior, and although they
seemed to find ways to sexualize nearly anything, most of them were initially
attracted by physical attributes of one sort or another. And she knew that
many human men- and several human women- on board ship found her sexually
attractive. Some had been relatively frank about it, though not in a forward
or disrespectful manner, but she frequently felt the gazes upon her face and
body of many who were not so open about their feelings. Seven was entirely
unsure what to think of this. The one time she had responded to Harry Kim's
covert glances in an attempt to increase his efficiency working with her, he
had become notably flustered, and his efficiency working with her had instead
decreased, and remained at a lowered level for several weeks following. Seven
now understood that humans preferred to surround their mating with at least
a modicum of ritual, and her own impatience with this practice had disturbed
Kim, but she still did not really understand their motivations in this.

Seven had left the Astrometrics lab, lost in thought, and only became aware
of her surroundings again when she realized she was walking several meters
behind the very subjects of her current thoughts. Tom Paris and Harry Kim
were strolling down the corridor, chatting amiably. Seven noted that they
were speaking quietly, and slightly inclining their heads together to be able
to converse more quietly than usual. Seven kept at a distance so as not to
accidentally overhear anything personal, but she noticed that both were
grinning, and Harry had the same flush she had noted in his skin when she had
offered to have sexual relations with him, though not as pronounced. Seven
couldn't help wondering what they were saying, and feeling a twinge of guilt
at her intrusive curiosity, increased the reception and focus of her audio
implant until she could hear their conversation.

"I'm telling you, Harry, you will not regret trying this program! This is by
far the best erotic holoprogram I've ever created, if I do say so myself!"

"I'm still unclear on how this is different from any of those underground
'orgy' holoprograms I used to hear about at the Academy."

"Harry, it's not an orgy! It's a Love-In. They used to hold them during the
1960s. Some were just people sitting around talking about love or sharing
their feelings, and some were people getting together to demonstrate the
effectiveness of love in bringing people together." Tom was as enthusiastic
as ever about 20th century history.

"This still sounds like an orgy. Remind me what the difference was?" Harry
said, skeptically.

"It's totally different. An orgy is just a bunch of people getting together
and having meaningless sex. A Love-In is people coming together to make love
with each other as a powerful statement of sociopolitical philosophy! It was
a way of saying that human beings shouldn't be killing themselves off in
pointless wars, or hating each other out of crazy prejudices: they should be
getting together and sharing each other's beauty and uniqueness with acts of
love and trust. They even used to have a saying, 'make love, not war.'
Harry...that's deep!"

"I dunno, Tom. Did it work?" Harry said.

"Well...not exactly. But these Happenings were part of a powerful era that
radically changed the course of history."

"I don't seem to recall that much sex being in my Terran Political History
course at the Academy. It sounds like a pretty idea, but I don't know how
well you could base a society on it."

"Well, maybe you couldn't. But look at it this way: would you rather have
sociopolitical events like rallies and speeches, or like gatherings of people
having sex?"

"Good point."

"The point is, it doesn't matter if it worked or not. They thought it might
work, and it was beautiful while it lasted. And God, is the sex ever good!"
Tom grinned harder, chuckling.


"Okay, Harry. I know you're hooked. But if you don't want to admit it, fine.
Nevertheless...." Tom rattled off a program designation number and a lockout
override code. Harry nodded, repeating the codes after him, committing them
to memory as Tom smirked at him. Ever since the rapid proliferation of
holodecks on starships since the systems were perfected for starship use
during the tenure of the Galaxy-class ships, people had repeatedly run into
accidents of the most embarrassing sorts when other crewmembers- either
accidentally, or in emergencies, or deliberately- walked in on the most
private kinds of holoprograms. So wise officers had taken to creating lockout
code programs: a special computer code blocking access (physically or
electronically) to the holodeck from all except highest-clearance senior
officers during Yellow Alert or higher status only. If anyone broke the code
or circumvented it, an emergency subroutine automatically shifted the program
to some harmless substitute scene, and screened the user, giving them time to
compose themselves in whatever way necessary.

Seven was interested. She had heard of romantic encounters as part of
holodeck programs, but the idea of a purely erotic holoprogram had not
occurred to her. Seven wondered what sort of physical response was powerful
enough to provoke humans to seek it out with such abandon and ingenuity.
She had to admit to herself, she was curious. She had experienced pain,
certainly- actually rather more than she would have preferred- and she
understood the concept of pleasure: she found a certain satisfaction in her
companionship with her fellow crewmembers, she perceived a sense of aesthetic
appreciation when contemplating a particularly elegant mathematical phrase
or experiencing certain works of art or pieces of music. She had to admit,
she was even beginning to occasionally feel a definite physical enjoyment
at the taste of certain foods or drinks, though she did not need to consume
solids and liquids with that much regularity. But she did not have any
reference for pleasure so powerful it would provoke such preoccupation with
the feeling. Seven was growing increasingly curious about it. She decided it
would certainly be worth devoting some research to the subject: it might
prove to be a very educational experience. She increased her stride and let
herself catch up with Paris and Kim. They fell silent as they heard her

"'Evening, Seven." They said as she passed. She nodded, and acknowledged them

"Lieutenant Paris. Ensign Kim." She passed them slowly, beginning to
contemplate this new line of research. When she was a couple of meters ahead
of them, out of human earshot, she was surprised to hear their voices
whispering again: she had forgotten to decrease the reception of her audio
implant. She was about to do so when she realized they were speaking of her.

"Wheew!" Harry's breath caught a little.

"What do you suppose she wears under that catsuit of hers?" Paris speculated.

"Nothing at all, Tom. Nothing at all. I think that's all Seven of Nine. And
she may be Borg, but she is all woman." Kim said, his voice somewhere between
wistful and worshipful.

"Harry, my boy, don't even think it. She's too much woman for you, son. She'd
break you in two."

"And I suppose you could take her?"

"I dunno, Harry. B'Elanna keeps me pretty busy. And I'm not certain it would
be the same with Seven. Klingons are pretty fiery beings, but somewhere,
deep, deep down inside that gorgeous Borg, there's a mass of passion waiting
to be released, and when it does, it'll go off like a warp-core going
critical, and take anyone around along with her. You take my word on that."
Tom said, plainly a little curious at what such a thing would be like.

"Maybe. But what a way to go!" Harry said, fervently. Seven decreased her
audio implant's reception, and moved on. Clearly, this was one of the reasons
why human social customs dictated not listening to the conversations of
others. Seven had known she was attractive to most of her fellow crewmates,
but she had not expected to hear herself discussed with such an obvious level
of desire. Seven actually almost found humor in Paris and Kim's expectations
of her powerful passion: she who had never yet experienced true sexual desire
or erotic passion at all. But she was somehow flattered at the worshipful
attitude they presented towards an erotic encounter with her: as if the
experience with her would be somehow different than with any other female.
She suddenly felt very aware of her physicality, very aware of her body, it's
shape and resilience as it was restrained by her garment. The feeling struck
her as quite odd. She was disturbed by how distracting the experience was.
She found herself in front of her quarters, and went in. Seven decided that
this was worthy of immediate study. She went to her console and sat down,
still unused to the apparent human idea that anytime one was not in motion,
one should ideally be sitting.

"Computer, how many files are in Core memory classified under 'Erotica?'"
Seven asked.

"There are one hundred and seventeen thousand, four hundred and seventy-two
items currently classified under 'Erotica.'" The calm computer voice

"Number of those items listed of Terran origin." Seven ordered.

"Nineteen thousand, seven hundred and five."

"Sort by type."

"Written literature: fourteen thousand, eight hundred items. Two-dimensional
images: three hundred thousand, seven hundred items. Three-dimensional
images: thirty thousand, five hundred items. Moving images, two-dimensional:
twenty-nine thousand, five hundred items, no holo-sound. Moving images,
three-dimensional, including holo-sound and syntheti-scent accompaniment,
fifty-four thousand, five hundred items. Music and sound files, six thousand
items. Holodeck programs: two thousand, two hundred and five. Total memory:
sixty-three point nine nine four teraquads." The computer recited. Seven was
taken aback. She had not imagined there would be such a massive volume of
relevant information in the Core memory. And since certain non-critical areas
of information, such as erotica, were not comprehensive downloads of various
planets' library systems, but rather highlighted information selected from a
larger mass, this indicated the existence of a staggering mass of data
relevant to the subject on the planet or planets of origin. Humans, Seven
thought, must devote an outrageous percentage of their time to the subjects
of love and sex. Seven wondered how they had managed to find time to develop
such a thriving and complex society when they spent so much of their time
and energy pursuing physical and emotional pleasures. She actually paused a
moment to let herself absorb this information.

"Computer, compile database of all aforementioned items with the exception
of holodeck programs. Choosing items at random, download ten percent of all
items into visual reference material at this console. Download the other
ninety percent into the Borg data nodule I will provide." Seven removed a
data nodule from a storage area, and connected it to a tricorder as she

"Database assembled. Information divided as requested. Downloads complete."
The computer replied after a moment. Seven sat down at the console and began
to scan.

After several hours, Seven stopped. She was profoundly shocked at herself.
At first, the words and images had meant nothing: crass vulgarities depicting
base passions, nothing which she felt connected to. But after a time, she
had somehow managed to free her imagination, visualizing herself involved
in the sex-soaked stories and pictures, wondering what the potent sensations
described in the fiction and evident in the images must really feel like.
After absorbing about a teraquad's worth of data, Seven found her pulse and
body temperature were both elevated, her nipples were extremely hard, the
skin of her face and palms was warm and sweat-damp, her breathing was
quickened. And she felt a distinct sense of needing something...that
something inside her required relief, like a muscular ache or an itching
irritation, only deeper down: the feeling seemed to spread outward from her
groin and breasts, in soft waves of urgency. Seven, for the first time in
her recent memory, was quite flustered.

She wondered if she should pause and allow herself time to sort out these
feelings and thoughts. But she was intensely curious, and everything she had
absorbed had not dimmed that curiosity at all. She looked at the Borg data
nodule for a moment, wondering if she was foolhardy for assimilating more
information that she was capable of processing at one time. But she knew that
if her neural pathways were truly in danger of permanent damage from excess
information at an excess of speed, her implants would shunt the information
to emergency memory cells, so as to slow the process of absorption, and she
believed that anything less than that level of emergency would be a data load
she was capable of assimilating without malfunction. She lifted her arm, and
inserted extraction tubules into the data node.

The data extraction took several minutes, and at the end, Seven was glad she
was sitting down. Data extraction always took notable energy to deal with if
the mass of information was substantial enough. Dealing with that kind of
mass of data of a sort Seven was quite unprepared for was another matter
entirely. Her mind was a maelstrom of images, sounds, scents, words, and
emotions that she had nearly no referent for. Seven thought she could almost
imagine the sensations: heat, dampness, gentle yet strong hands on her body,
lips on her lips, on her.... Seven tore herself back from the chaos of
images, her mind still whirling behind her thoughts, her body trembling,
soaked in sweat. Seven felt as though she were about to explode, she felt
restrained by her skin, her garment felt too tight, she felt feverishly warm.
With shaking fingers, Seven almost unthinkingly ripped open the fasteners of
her garment. She actually needed the special garment to help stabilize her
Borg biosupport, but a short time- several hours, or even a few days- without
it would do her no harm. The metal-impregnated cloth slid from her body, and
the comparatively cooler air of the room hit her body like a physical force.

Barely thinking about what she was doing, Seven allowed herself to be guided
by the images and descriptions she had absorbed: her fingers traced her own
body, settled briefly on her breasts, first gently brushing the nipples,
then pulling them harder, tugging on them, the sensation seeming to rebound
through her whole body, pleasure singing like an energy arc behind her eyes.
One hand dropped, her strong slender fingers seeking, her long white legs
parting, thighs damp with sweat, with other fluids she had never known in
such quantity before. Her hand slipped to the center, fingers sliding over
soft skin made slippery with juices. Her own scent rose in the room around
her, thick, musky, intoxicating her even more with its power. As the images
she had absorbed flashed in her mind, Seven's fingers found soft flesh,
probing, rubbing, sliding over, around, inside. Parts of her body Seven had
never paid the slightest attention to were screaming into life. Her other
hand dropped to meet the other. She had located a spark of rising pleasure,
and was fanning it into fire. Her wet fingers were massaging her clitoris,
the fingers of her other hand teasing her entrance, fingernails barely
scraping over sensitive flesh, and then she sank two fingers inside, feeling
the crushing grip of her own tightness, the incredible heat as her pleasure
rose to almost unbearable heights. Instinctively, she began moving the
fingers in and out, gliding into herself, then digging in, as she began using
her other hand more strongly, pressing and pinching. Something inside Seven
of Nine coalesced, rose, expanded. A blinding light flooded behind her
tightly-closed eyes, her throat tightened, her lungs burned, her heart
pounded so hard she heard her pulse roar in her ears. Seven felt the pressure
inside her reach an acute apex, and for a moment the thought flashed across
her mind that Tom Paris had been right: it was like an uncontrolled warp-core
breach. Then all thought was banished from her mind as something unbelievably
powerful exploded inside her. Seven lost all control, her body wracked with
spasms, almost slipping from her chair, her usually firm and precise voice
raised in an unprecedented and roughly groaning cry. Seven was blinded,
deafened, she couldn't breathe, she felt she was drowning in a burning white
sea of light and heat. And the feeling grew and grew, as if it would swallow
her whole, the pleasure mounting to such a height Seven wondered if she would
survive the experience. It never seemed to end, the indescribable sensations
coursing through her, wave after wave, until Seven was certain she would lose
consciousness from sensory overload, and yet she couldn't stop herself, her
fingers still working, not wanting the pleasure to end.

Finally, after what seemed like hours, the sensation retreated ever so
slightly, just enough for her to make herself slow her fingers, eventually
halting them. Seven sprawled in her chair, one long leg draped over the arm
of the chair, the other stretched full-length; her arms limp, hands resting
on her knees; her head lolling at an angle, locks of golden hair come undone
from her tight twist and falling about her face; her body still shuddering,
nerves still on fire, musky juices wet on her thighs and hands, soaking the
cushion under her; her face damp, both from sweat and from tears she had not
even realized she had shed. She felt more exhausted than she had at any
previous time since she left the Collective, yet elated- or perhaps elevated
was a better word- at the same time. Seven felt more relaxed, more at peace,
more...happy...than she could ever recall feeling. For the first time in her
adult life, Seven smiled, without thinking about it, without forcing herself.
Was this what humans always felt, this gigantic, consuming pleasure, this
sense of joy and fulfillment and wondrous satisfaction? No wonder they sought
out the experience with such voracity. And to think that their writings
indicated the experience was even better when done with a partner! Seven
could hardly credit the assertion: it was hard to imagine a more potent or
more pleasurable experience than she had just had.

Shakily, Seven got to her feet. Her breathing had slowed, and so had her
pulse rate, and she no longer felt so warm. But her body was fatigued, as if
she had exerted herself beyond her endurance. Seven stumbled into the head,
and stood under the shower for a few moments, not even feeling the sonics as
they cleansed her skin and hair. She stepped back out, considered re-binding
her hair, but could not summon the energy to do so. She let her hair fall,
and shook it out of her way as she collapsed onto the bunk, still naked,
letting the sensors lock her regeneration matrix into place. She was glad
none of her crewmates were witness to such uncharacteristic laxness of
discipline on her part. In a surprisingly sleepy voice, Seven said,
"Computer, dim lights and begin regeneration cycle, 1.5 length duration."
The lights dimmed, Seven closed her eyes, and immediately fell asleep.

"Regeneration cycle complete. The time is zero-eight-hundred hours." The
computer voice said. Seven's eyes opened. She was sure she had just lain
down. But no, she felt rested, she had regenerated...she had slept, deeply
and dreamlessly. Seven stretched, feeling her body as she had never felt
it, noticing how it felt, enjoying the sensation of her physicality. She
immediately felt a desire to experience again the pleasure she had last
night. She argued with herself for a moment, weighing her duties against
the fact that her data would not be ready for nearly two more days, and
she had considerable leave time accrued. Although she was not technically
a member of Starfleet, Captain Janeway treated her as one of the senior
officers, and since she demanded the same responsibilities of Seven as of
one of the senior officers, she allowed Seven the same perquisites,
including establishing a Starfleet record for her to accrue 'pay' credits
and leave time. Starfleet policy maintained a six-hour shift schedule and
a five-day work week when the ship was not at alert status, with a maximum
on-shift time allotment of eight hours, six days per week, except during
periods of red alert status, plus vacation allotment amounting to two weeks
'paid' per year, one week 'unpaid' leave, one 'personal' day per month,
plus 'paid' emergency and medical leave as necessitated by circumstances.
Captain Janeway, however, was flexible with Seven, realizing that Seven
preferred to work, and that she required far less time for recreation than
most humans. Nevertheless, as per Starfleet policy, Seven's unused leave
time was tracked as it accrued, and since she nearly never used any, she
had now accrued a tremendous amount of it. Seven decided that under the
circumstances, with nothing happening, no urgent duties requiring her
attention, and her experimental data still in process, it would not be
unforgivable for her to take one day for her own pleasure. It was odd to
think of doing. She sat at her console, making sure only her face was inview of the sensor, and said, "Seven of Nine to Captain Janeway." After
a moment, the screen lit. Captain Janeway was still in her gray uniform
under-turtleneck, holding a mug of steaming coffee.

"Good morning, Seven. What can I do for you?" Janeway said, amiably.

"Captain, I...wish to request 'off.'" Seven said, somewhat
uncomfortably. Janeway's eyes widened, her eyebrows lifting. The hand
holding mug of coffee lowered of its own accord. There was a moment's

"Seven, are you...taking R and R?!" Janeway asked in pleased shock. Seven
searched around for a suitably oblique answer that was also truthful. She
could think of nothing.

"Yes." She said, feeling herself flush slightly. Janeway paused again, her
eyes bright. Seven was uncertain whether she was holding back laughter or

"Granted, of course. Have fun. Perhaps you might have dinner with me this
evening and tell me what you do with your day off." Janeway said with real
interest. Seven tried to think of a reply.

"Perhaps.... Yes...." She said, wondering if the captain could possibly
guess what she planned to do with her day off.

"Good. I get off-shift at seventeen hundred hours. Join me in the mess hall
then." The captain paused for a moment, holding back a smile. With the barest
hint of a wink, she said, "Don't do anything I wouldn't do. Janeway out." The
screen went dark as Seven tried to comprehend what Janeway might have meant
by that last comment. Seven decided that the comment must be some form of
humor which she did not understand: a common occurrence- humor was a
difficult concept. Seven realized that despite regeneration, her body was
still somehow tired. After a moment, it occurred to her that it had been some
time since she had consumed nourishment. Since she also seldom used her
replicator rations, she decided to indulge herself in that area as well. She
thought for a moment, and then went to the replicator.

"One Risian breakfast turnover, warm. One hot cocoa, Viennese style. One
Denevan silver-peach, chilled to five degrees." She ordered. She took the
food over to the table, and sat. With no one to see her, Seven allowed
herself to taste the food as if for the first time. It was delicious, as
the computer had designed it to be. The turnover, a traditional breakfast
item from Risa, was all flaky crust, stuffed with something between a
quiche and an omelet: gently seasoned eggs whipped with sweet cream, baked
with tidbits of fresh vegetables, morsels of spicy meats of several
varieties, and plenty of sharp, strong cheese. Seven found herself savoring
the taste, letting the spicy meat and cheese flavors meld on her tongue.
The hot cocoa was thick and sweet, made with milk, plenty of sugar, a hint
of vanilla and nutmeg, and a quantity of sweetened whipped cream of the
sort so loved by the gourmets of Earth's Austria region. Seven was uncertain
how much flavor was improved by chilling and whipping the cream and adding
it to the top of the beverage, but she had to admit she found the contrast
of textures aesthetically pleasing. She finished the meal with the
silver-peach, so called because the stone inside the fruit was a silvery
color. The flesh was actually a deep chartreuse color, shading to gold on
the slightly fuzzy skin. The fruit was a delicacy from an Earth colony,
Deneva, and was renowned not only for its sweet and pure flavor, but
because it contained such a powerhouse of vitamins and minerals- more than
any other fruit edible by humans- that one felt extraordinarily invigorated
after consuming it. It also had a reputation as an aphrodisiac, but Seven
found that humans considered nearly anything an aphrodisiac at one time or
another: most likely it was easy to assign that status to any substance if
one was well-nigh continually prepared to mate. But after the previous
night, Seven felt inclined not to excessively deride the emotion.... Sure
enough, Seven felt quite well after eating the fruit, and leisurely cleared
the remains of her breakfast back into the replicator.

After the previous night, the long regeneration cycle, the indulgent
breakfast, and the prospect of what might await her this day, Seven felt...
more than intrigue...she felt...excitement, and perhaps even adventurous.
Seven decided she would experiment a bit further today. Still feeling
slightly shocked at herself, she double-checked the privacy lock on her
cabin door, picked up several small tools, and then went into the head.
Seven laid down what she was carrying, and tapped the panel next to the
doorway twice. The door slid closed and the inner side slowly became more
and more reflective until it was a full-length mirror. Seven examined
herself critically. She had not paid any attention to her body since she
first inspected herself following the Doctor's initial removal of most of
her Borg implants. He had done well: there was no scarring of her flesh
at all, and he had removed the visible interfaces of most of her
non-critical implants, since they were rarely used. The result was an
interesting aesthetic.

Seven allowed herself a moment of vanity: her body was certainly everything
that Lieutenant Paris or Ensign Kim could wish. Her skin was pale white; not
the deathly revenant-white of Borg skin, but a lovely, silky-smooth ivory.
Her hair, which was loose around her face, was precisely the color of beaten
gold. She was tall, her body strong, yet supple, giving the appearance of
both power and sensuality. This was reinforced by her eyes, which were large
and piercingly blue, clear as the Scandinavian skies in midsummer (which
Seven had seen on the holodeck), and yet alive with her commanding
intelligence: they could be hard as dolomite or fiery as young stars, those
eyes. But her mouth betrayed her: full, sensual, her deep rose-colored lips
were all too inviting- not even the firm, controlled expression she usually
wore could completely conceal the sweetness of those lips. That rosy color
was repeated in her full, prominent nipples, and the bare, soft flesh peeping
from between her legs. Her tallness was enhanced by her slenderness; but as
long and flowing as her body was, the proud, heavy curves of her breasts and
her superb, lush hips did not speak of strength and hardness- they made
promises of passion, of heat. The harmony of soft color and smooth texture
of her was not even broken by the gleaming silver and black of the remaining
Borg implants. They glistened at her right temple, above her left eye, along
her left arm and hand, at her right knee, along her right ankle, and behind
her left hip near the small of her back, looking more like outré ornaments
than invasive technology. It would take more than dark technology to disrupt
the beauty of Seven of Nine.

She shook her head at her own vanity, though she couldn't help feeling a bit
pleased at her aesthetic appearance. Picking up her tools, she open a small
access panel next to the sonic shower and set to work. The idea had come to
her last night, while viewing a file of a human female using a primitive
vibrational device to pleasure herself. Seven was carefully adjusting the
field shape and strength of the sonics in the shower, tailoring the output
waveform to an intensity and focus never dreamed of by the designers at
Starfleet. By the time she was done, instead of one all-over gentle field
of sonic energy, there were three powerful, directed fields so focused they
were almost wide beams, all aimed at the most sensitive areas on a human
female body plus one slightly less powerful field that rotated constantly
between the three areas. The fields were drawing so many times their usual
power Seven almost feared she would overload the conduits. But Starfleet
engineered its designs to withstand all kinds of unlikely accidents, and
despite the fact that the fields were tuned to only slightly below
weapons-grade sonic output, Seven was certain the hardware would hold. With
a final tinkering, Seven's modifications were done. She closed the access
panel, set down her tools, and stepped into the shower. Seven's auditory
implant picked up a subsonic whisper from the shower sensors, which were
now modified not to determine cleanliness, but to follow a human body in
motion, keeping the new fields focused where they were supposed to be aimed
at. Seven wondered briefly if this was a good idea or not. If she had
miscalculated the field intensity, she could suffer damage to her whole
body. She pushed the thought away, but just to be on the safe side,
deactivated her auditory implant. She was restricted to ordinary human

"Computer," She said, bracing herself, "activate sonic shower." Immediately,
Seven screamed. She was glad she had braced herself. This was in no way like
last night, a gradual building of warm sensuality, a gentle yet rough
urgency. The sonics hit her body like a sledge-hammer blow, yet still
pleasurable somehow. The vibrations were incredible, the rotating field
shaking her whole body, but where the fields were focused, on her breasts,
between her legs, between her buttocks, it was as though every nerve in her
body was not sparking, but simply lit continuously with pleasure. With no
warning, and in a shockingly quick flash of time, Seven was pounded by an
orgasm, the explosion violent this time, the pleasure fierce and hot as it
coursed through her. Her fingers shook against the shower wall, and beneath
the roaring in her mind, she could hear the transparent aluminum shower
doors rattling in their settings. The waves of climax kept coming,
relentless. Seven barely remembered to breathe, she was so lost in the
whirling, boiling maelstrom of golden-white rapture. It was nothing like
her own hands and fingers, she did nothing, merely experienced. And the
pleasure came, and came, and continued.

Her hands still shaking, her staggering legs gave way beneath her, and she
slowly slipped to the shower floor, the fields following her perfectly as
she slid downwards. She lay there, unthinking, unknowing, uncaring of
anything except the inevitable wave after wave of ecstasy, the wash of
burning sensation exciting and stimulating her until it ached, the feeling
was so strong. Nothing could have prepared Seven for the intensity of the
experience. For nearly ten full minutes she lay shuddering, writhing,
almost convulsing with passion, climaxes coming with the regularity of
breath, multiple orgasms beyond number. She had never spent so much time
focused on a feeling instead of a thought or idea. It was only after what
seemed an eternity of glowing bliss that the bright haze of her vision
started grow dim, and Seven realized amidst the fog of sensuality that she
would lose consciousness soon if she didn't deactivate the shower. Doing
her best to draw breath against her wildly fluttering muscles, she managedto force out something just above a hoarse whisper, "Com... Computer...
D...deactivate...sonic...shower...." The sonics immediately ceased, and
Seven grunted and went limp, the cessation of the pleasure pushing her
over the edge. She fainted.

When she came to, her internal implants told her she had only been
unconscious for a few moments. But she couldn't move yet. Although the
titanic orgasms had ceased, the aftershocks were like tiny orgasms
themselves, rushing through her body with sudden bursts of electric
rapture. Her muscles rippled in involuntary contraction and her vision
had not cleared yet. But more than that, Seven felt somehow...different.
In some primal way she could not possibly explain, Seven understood
erotic pleasure in a way she had not even understood after last night.
She still was not certain what to make of the entire human culture of
the erotic, but there was something elemental that she felt deep down
made a degree of sense. It would almost have bothered her that the
feeling was so imprecise and vague, except it felt too good.

After a good fifteen minutes or so lying on the floor of her sonic shower,
Seven got unsteadily to her feet, and got out. With fingers still shaking
a little, she got her tools and reconfigured the shower controls back to
normal. And then took a long, long shower, letting the gentle field, almost
completely imperceptible after the last half hour, soothe her tired muscles,
and clean the sweat and other fluids from her skin and hair. Consciously
summoning energy, Seven got out of the shower again, stumbled out of the
head, and collapsed on her bunk. She had never taken unexpected or unplanned
regeneration before, but....

"Computer, dim lights. Begin regeneration cycle. Wake me at ten minutes to
seventeen hundred hours." And immediately, she fell asleep.

The computer woke her on schedule, and Seven felt much better when she awoke.
She felt infinitely relaxed, and a vague sensation of lasting peace seemed
to go with her as she took another sonic shower and pinned up her hair. Seven
slipped into her garment, grateful for the extra biosupport after so much
time without, and made certain her hair was tightly and neatly bound. She
took a deep breath to steady herself before exiting her quarters. She had a
sudden, irrational fear that everyone who saw her would know what she had
been doing. Her muscles still felt unnaturally relaxed and loose, and every
so often she could still feel an involuntary twitch and jolt as her
over-fired nerve endings sparked again. Seven was amazed that the human
body's sense memory of pleasure was so complete and lasting. She went back
to the head for a final look in the mirror: she appeared as disciplined and
tidy as ever, and fortunately, the deep flush of her skin had faded, leaving
only a faint pinkness to her cheeks and ears. She paused for a moment,
watching herself move in the mirror. Was there a liquidity, a certain loose
flow to her movement that had not been there before? She shook her head a
little at her thoughts, impatiently dismissing them. She was Seven of Nine,
Tertiary Adjunct of Unimatrix Zero-One, and humans were not likely to have
sufficient perception to notice any changes in her body language at more
than a highly subconscious level! She gathered herself together and strode
out of her quarters. Almost as soon as she had exited, she passed Lieutenant
Paris and Ensign Kim, who were talking with Lieutenant Commander Tuvok.

"Very well. I will expect your report on the modifications to the Delta
Flyer by tomorrow morning. You are both to be commended on your ingenuity."
Tuvok finished up. He took a padd that Paris was offering him, and turned
to leave. Seeing Seven, he nodded politely as they saw each other, stopped
for a moment, and looked back at her. Had her kinesics altered since the
last time he had seen her? She seemed subtly less controlled, her body more
indicative of human emotional tensions. He dismissed the idea: she still
largely thought as a Borg, and Tuvok knew of nothing that was likely to
change that except considerably more time living as a human.

"'Evening Seven." Paris and Kim said.

"How was your day off?" Tom added. Seven tried her best to maintain control,
but felt a slight blush warm her her cheeks again. Her request for "rest and
relaxation" time had apparently become well-spread gossip amongst the crew:
she wondered what the speculations were as to how she had spent the time.

"The time was satisfactory." There was a brief pause. Seven added, a little
uncomfortably, "I required additional regeneration cycles." Which, she
thought to herself, was technically true, although it made no mention of
what else she had done besides regenerate.

"Ah. What fun." Tom and Harry exchanged a glance. Seven took the opportunity
to examine them in a different light. They were both good-looking men, with
aesthetically pleasing features of face and body. Both were more than
intelligent, of course, as any decent Starfleet officer would have to be.
Seven had to admit that she found Tom Paris compelling in a certain way: he
was charismatic, and more magnetic in personality than one would expect, to
say nothing of being gifted to the point of virtuosity at piloting. But she
felt that he and B'Elanna were well suited to each other: both were not only
good-looking and brilliant, but also powerfully impulsive, uncontrolled,
headstrong, and stubborn, given (as humans were fond of saying) to 'leaping
before they looked;' qualities which Seven did not find so compelling. But
in truth, she found Harry Kim rather intriguing. He was a brilliant
scientist, though quite young. He was more reserved, and more deliberative
than Tom, and was known to be fascinated with meditation, classical music,
and games of skill and strategy: these qualities Seven found extremely
compelling. She wondered what their bodies would look like without clothing.
She also wondered what it would feel like to touch a man's nude body- or
anyone's body besides her own, for that matter. She wondered what it would
feel like to have another person's hands on her own body, to feel a man fit
himself inside her, to feel someone's tongue on her skin.... She felt a
quick flash of desire pass through her. Shocked to the core at herself, she
pushed the thoughts from her mind.

"Lieutenant, Ensign, Commander." She said, and turned and began walking.
Tom turned to Harry when Seven appeared to have walked out of earshot.

"If I didn't know Seven, I'd swear that was a woman who just had nookie."
Harry laughed, both at the idea of Seven (who had never understood human
sexual interaction, as he well knew) 'getting lucky', and at the ancient
slang Tom used, which Harry hadn't heard since his Academy days. Tuvok,
who had been turning again to leave, raised an eyebrow. If he understood
the reference correctly, Paris was speculating on Seven of Nine's sexual
life, which was technically a violation of Starfleet etiquette. Strictly
speaking, senior officers were within their rights to issue verbal
reprimands for such behavior (and in fact, such speculations were
considered inexcusably rude in Tuvok's home society on Vulcan). But Tuvok
was inclined to overlook moderate infringements of etiquette among human
crewmembers, as long as they did not lead to infractions of privacy and
propriety regulations. Humans were distressingly preoccupied with other
beings' personal lives, but Tuvok believed it was an inherent characteristic
of the species, and thus not worth reprimanding. And he had to admit,
Seven had indeed exhibited the kinesic characteristics of a human female
recently engaged in the sexual act. Since humans seemed to engage in the
sexual act with truly shocking frequency, Tuvok had seen the look of
humans arriving in the nick of time- and occasionally even late- for their
duty shifts, fresh from the completion of the act: kinesics, skin tones,
breathing, and pulse all altered, reeking of human sexual pheromones. Tuvok
moved on, making a mental note for his own curiosity's sake to investigate
the etymology of the word 'nookie.'

In the meantime, Seven was in a turbolift, on her way to the mess hall. She
was assiduously attempting to ignore the protrustion at the front of the
uniform trousers of Crewman Raskin from Xenosociology, which had appeared
immediately after she had entered the lift. It was not as easy for her to
do as it generally was, since the protuberance presently in question was
not of insignificant size, and Seven's mind was still full of the several
dozen teraquads' worth of erotic information she had assimilated the
previous night. Crewman Raskin, in turn, along with Crewman Wahid from
Environmental Sciences, whom he had been chatting with before Seven showed
up, were both making a distinct effort not to undress the exquisite Borg
with their eyes. Although not getting caught in momentary fantasies about
the spectacular Seven was a routine challege for most of the human males
aboard Voyager, it seemed to Raskin and Wahid that it was much more
difficult than usual to take their eyes and minds off her today. There wassomething about her.... Raskin couldn't help wishing that he had not chosen
today to disregard the well-known word-of-mouth rule advising humanoid male
crewmembers to wear restraining undergarments, since Starfleet uniforms
were mercilessly unforgiving when it came to the involuntary physiosexual
responses of most humanoid males. When the lift stopped and Seven exited,
all three sighed quietly in relief.

Seven, who had noticed human males' sexual responses to her presence before,
though she was usually not so preoccupied with the noticing, managed with
long experience to dismiss the thoughts- which she would certainly never
have otherwise entertained about Crewman Raskin!- from her mind. Seven began
to wonder if this human sexuality was a psychological trap: would she be
forever doomed to be preoccupied with physical pleasure? For, how she would
be able to concentrate on her duties was certainly beyond her ken at the
moment. Suddenly, she became quite nervous about the feelings and thoughts
she was having. Seven was accustomed to understanding things, especially
herself, and being in a state of unparalleled confusion and unfamiliarity
made her acutely uncomfortable. She wondered if she ought to confide in the
Doctor: he was, after all, programmed for confidentiality. On the other hand,
if she were going to seek advice, she wished for advice based on experience,
of which the doctor had none. Seven sighed again, this time from frustration.
The mess hall was quiet and nearly empty, which either meant that people were
tired and eating later or in their quarters, or it did not bode well for
Neelix's choices of menu tonight. She saw the captain sitting at a table off
to one side, by a viewport. Janeway caught Seven's eye, and Seven nodded.

She went to the replicator, declining to sample what Neelix might have
improvised for the evening's supper choices. Since she did not require much
additional nutrition, she only ordered soup and a beverage. She had found a
certain weakness in herself for beef-and-barley soup, a Terran dish of rural
European origins which she found somehow familiar to her palate, in such a
way that she wondered if she had tasted it as a child, before being
assimilated. She ordered another hot cocoa: nutritionally it served little
enough purpose, and Seven could think of no reason she needed it, but she
found the warm, sweet drink soothing, and enjoyable, though she also could
not defend such a position. She made her way to the captain's table. The
captain had apparently not been there long, since she was just beginning to
work on her dinner: she too had decided to pass on Neelix's choice of
entrees; although next to the plate of coq au vin that clearly came from
the replicator, she did have a bowl of thick, rather pearlescently-sheened
orange soup with an oddly floral fragrance that seemed to bear the signature
of Neelix's unorthodox cooking. She had a tall flute filled with an almost
viscous, pale-green liquid, which by the sharp, citric scent Seven identified
as Aldeberan koray: a dry, light wine made from a yellow fruit somewhat akin
to a Terran grapefruit. The juices had a relaxant effect on most human
beings, and occasionally when properly fermented, were reputed to act as an
aphrodisiac on some.

Kathryn Janeway looked with mild amusement at Seven's dinner as the tall Borg
sat down across from her. Seven had chosen some sort of hearty country-style
soup, and a tall, thick ceramic mug of what appeared to be hot chocolate,
heavy on the whipped cream.

"Is that hot chocolate?" She asked Seven, the corner of her mouth twitching
a little.

"Yes, Captain...." Seven admitted, slightly abashed. "I find the taste...

"Many people do." Janeway agreed, her mouth fighting to keep from smiling.

"And you are drinking Aldebaran wine?" Seven asked, trying to remember her
lessons on polite table conversation.

"Yes. I find that a glass now and then relaxes me." Janeway said, pleased
that Seven was learning small talk. There was a comfortable pause as both
ate for a few moments.

"So," Said Janeway, "What did you do on your day off?" There was another
pause, this one slightly less comfortable, as Seven struggled to think of
something to say.

"I...engaged in a private course of study." She finally said.

"How interesting." Janeway replied. "What are you studying?"

"Human thought and behavior."

"Really? How so?" Seven's heart sank a little as she realized that, wittingly
or unwittingly, Janeway was not about to let this go.

"For some time now I have been...studying...human art." Seven slowly
admitted. Janeway made a creditable effort not to show her pleased surprise.

"You have? Why, Seven, I had no idea. What prompted this...course of study?"

"I wish to better understand what motivates human behavior, why humans think
the way they think. All the anthropological and sociological literature I
have consulted indicates that one cannot understand a species or a culture
until one understands their arts. So I have undertaken a study of all human
art forms: visual, musical, performing, literature both poetry and prose,
and the minor arts also."

"Seven, that's remarkable." Janeway said, still both pleased and concealing
her astonishment. "What have you covered?"

"I have chosen to begin with a focus on Terran forms, since my own heritage
is Terran. I have so far covered the majority of the classical periods in
visual and musical arts, as well as the major works of Euro-American,
Mid-Eastern, Chinese, and Japanese literature and performing arts through
the twenty-third century." Janeway shook her head slightly, in mute, bemused
wonder: sometimes the golden-haired Borg reminded her all too much of Tuvok
and his characteristically Vulcan methodicalness and relentless curiosity.

"Anything in particular strike your fancy?" She asked artlessly, unable to
completely conceal her powerful interest in what Seven would say. Seven
hesitated, and decided suddenly that she could confide in the captain, who
was her friend, without fear of judgment or of breach of confidence.

"There are many artists and works of aesthetic appeal that I have found, but
I will admit that there are several artists I have found especially...
compelling. I believe the composers Mozart, Bach, Vivaldi, and Chopin to be
worthy of note. And the painters Rembrandt, Breugels, Monet, and Seurat.
Also the sculptor Rodin." Janeway was mightily shocked. If anyone had ever
asked her to speculate on the art Seven would prefer, she would never have
come up with those choices. She would have been willing to wager good latinum
that Seven would appreciate highly ordered or emotionally uncomplicated
works, of artists such as Mondrian, or Rothko, or the twenty-second century
synthetic-musician Von Lärmer, who composed his symphonies with differential
calculus. Yet Seven clearly preferred artists with a profound complexity of
emotional appeal and uniqueness of vision, though Bach was certainly as
well-ordered a composer as one was likely to find outside those who actually
used mathematics to write. Janeway realized what shocked her the most was
that Seven seemed to be admitting a clear propensity for art of great warmth
and passion, which to Janeway indicated a depth of warmth and passion in
Seven that Janeway had not even guessed at.

"What about literature?" Janeway pressed, fascinated.

"I...have had more difficulty...understanding literature than the other arts.
The motivations and behavior of characters in fiction and drama frequently
eludes me, and there is a very great deal concerning the art and forms of
poetry that I do not yet comprehend. I am still not certain I understand any
of what I have read, especially the poetry. But I have found interest in the
poems of Milton, Thomas, Hopkins, and Eliot, as well as the classical works
The Odyssey, Beowulf, and The Epic of Gilgamesh. I also found Moby-Dick, Les
Meserables, and Jane Eyre to be worth considerable study. Drama in many ways
has been most difficult for me, despite the advantage of being able to see
it interpreted as well as read it. Yet I somehow still feel drawn to several
of the plays of Shakespeare, and perhaps one or two by Marlowe, and certainly
the major works of Miller." Seven unconsciouly grew more animated in her
discussion as she went over her favorite artists. Janeway leaned her chin
against her fist, mostly to keep her jaw from dropping in amazement. 'She
really likes art! She's enjoying the hell out of this so-called study.'
Janeway thought to herself. 'You could just knock me over with a feather....'

"It sounds to me as if you're doing fine. What don't you understand?"

"I do not understand religion. Much of Terran art seems to focus on the
artist's personal or cultural relation to their mythology or mysticism, and
I am uncertain how to deal with such systems. Many of the Terran religions
focus on establishing a system of ethical behavior, a concept I have no
objection to. But their definitions of morality frequently seem simplistic,
unrealistic, and irrational. I also am unable to reconcile belief in a
Supreme Being or higher beings of such nature, which there is no empirical
evidence to support. And yet the majority of species the Borg encountered
fostered beliefs in such a being or beings, and nearly all spoke of the
understanding of that Being or beings as a supremely subjective experience,
unable to be accurately conveyed by normal means.

"Yet though this is a central concept, it is of less importance to me than
the fact that I do not understand love. I understand the theoretical
definition, but the concept in application means nothing to me. I understand
the elements of which it is supposed to be made, but not the thing itself.
Hurt, fear, pain, anger: these I understand well. I believe I understand
happiness, though less well. I understand friendship certainly, and trust,
and respect, and even the feeling of kinship one has to family. And I
understand the aesthetic appreciation of and satisfaction derived from
beauty. And I am growing to understand physical attractions and sexual
desires. But I do not understand so-called 'romantic' love, which is more
than the sum of those parts, at least according to the vast majority of the
human writings on the subject I have read." Janeway pressed her fist harder
into her chin, to keep her face from slipping off her hand and showing her
shock and utter staggerment. Seven had not only casually admitted to
understanding things which she would never have grasped (or at least
admitted grasping) when she came on board, but was indicating a familiarity
with physical attraction and sexuality. 'I've got to make sure Chakotay
keeps me better informed as to ship's gossip! I haven't heard a thing about
her and anyone else, and you'd think that would be number-one tidbit on
everyone's newspadd.'

"Well, I'm afraid I have little advice for you when it comes to religion;
I was raised non-denominationally, and I'm really something of an agnostic,
anyhow. Try talking to Chakotay about it: he'll be able to explain it better
than I. Or you might try Ensign O'Connell: she studied for the Catholic
priesthood before leaving to attend the Academy." Janeway admitted.

"And love?" Seven asked.

"Love...yes.... Well, I suppose that is more difficult. If you understand
the love of friendship, and the love of family, you're almost half the way
there. If you love someone romantically, they are your close friend as well,
and usually they are your friend before you fall in love with them. And when
you are in a long-term relationship with someone, they become like family
in some ways: you live with them, share with them, are bound up in their
life. And to a certain point, when you are truly in love with someone, you
love them unconditionally, the way that you love family: regardless of what
happens, regardless of what they do or say...up to a point. I know that
doesn't really help.... But you were right when you said love was more than
the sum of its parts: in some ways, you will simply never fully understand
until you fall in love with someone." Her gaze lowered, as she lost herself
in thought for a moment.

"Captain.... Do you miss your fiancé?" Seven asked, hesitantly. Janeway
looked up with a flicker of surprise in her eyes.

"I do, sometimes. When we were first flung out here in the Delta Quadrant,
I used to miss him very much. I used to think about him every day. But he
and I were used to being apart for long periods of time: he knew I was
career Starfleet when we met, and that my goal has always been deep-space
exploration. And when I realized that no matter what we do, even if our
good luck keeps up for finding or inventing shortcuts, it will very likely
take us half our lives to get home again, I began to get myself used to
living without him, to the idea that he has most likely found it necessary
to move on with his life, and perhaps has even found someone else, by now.
And now I only think of him occasionally, and I miss him less as a lover,
more as an old friend." Janeway related, quietly, her eyes bright.

"And have you...moved on?"

" there more to that question than the obvious?"Janeway raised
her head, letting her hand drop to the table.

"I have overheard speculations entertained by the crew. There is a theory...
about you and Commander Chakotay...." Seven carefully did not meet Janeway's
eyes. Janeway regretted letting her hand fall, since now her jaw did drop.
Chakotay really does keep the best gossip from me! she thought. I can't
believe it, and yet....

"Well, I hate to disappoint the crew, but Chakotay and I are not carrying on
an affair. But I understand the speculation. I do love Chakotay, although
I'm not in love with least not as far as I know. He's my first
officer, my best friend, my mentor when it comes to matters spiritual. And
like many of this crew, he's like family to me." Janeway paused.

"And he is a charismatic and physically attractive male." Seven observed.

"I suppose it's not such a curse to have to look at him so much," Janeway
said softly, with a wry grin. "You're developing something of an eye for
beauty, Seven."

"The human form is much represented and worked with in Terran arts, Captain.
And part of my goal in this personal study is to develop a sense of aesthetic
appreciation, so as to better comprehend human beings. If I see beauty, I
must indentify it truthfully, if I am to learn."

"You call 'em as you see 'em, is that what you're saying?" Janeway smiled,
trying to fight back a laugh.

"Yes, Captain." Seven said, a glint of amusement in her eye.

"You know, Seven, when we're not on duty, you might consider calling me
'Kathryn.'" Janeway impulsively said. Seven hesitated again.

"Very well. If you wish...Kathryn." Seven said, uncertainly. She gave the
name the exact intonation of the way she had said 'Captain,' almost as if
it were another title for Janeway, not a name. Janeway mentally sighed.
Well, nothing changes overnight, she thought.

"See? That wasn't so bad?" Janeway gave Seven the merest hint of a wink.
"So out of all this welter of art and religion and love, what did you study
today?" Janeway's eyes widened as she watched Seven of Nine, who to her
knowledge had never been shy or embarrassed or anything less than coolly
forward about anything, flush bright pink from her cheeks to her ears, up
to the roots of her hair. After a considerable silence, Seven very quietly
said, "Last night and today I was studying...the erotic." Kathryn Janeway
gulped and then coughed as she nearly swallowed her tongue in surprise.
And I thought I'd heard it all!

"The erotic...?" She asked, a little hoarsely. Do I want to know?... Yes,
I really think I want to know, she thought.

"I downloaded all files in memory of Terran origin classified under Erotica
to a Borg data node, and assimilated the knowledge." Seven admitted.

"You did what?!"

"I downloaded...."

"Yes, I heard you, but that's.... There must be thousands of files of Terran
Erotica in memory!" Janeway said in disbelief.

"Yes. Almost sixty-four teraquads' worth of information in various forms. It
was...not what I had expected."

"I'll bet!" Janeway couldn't imagine assimilating that quantity of any
information in such a brief time. If she had absorbed that quantity of erotic
information in a comparative flash, she would have...well, she certainly
wouldn't have left her quarters for.... 'Oh my God...I wouldn't have left my
quarters for at least a day, that's for sure....' Seven saw the realization
flash across Janeway's face, and both of them blushed.

"Kathryn...." Seven began.

"No, Seven, you don't have to say anything. I don't want to pry. We're all
entitled to our private lives." Janeway said, meaning it. Yet, despite her
unshakable commitment as a Starfleet captain to respecting the privacy of
others, especially crewmembers, she couldn't help wondering what Seven had
really done.

"No, Kathryn, it is...all right. You have been my chiefest mentor in my
search to rediscover and examine my human heritage. And
you friend. Truthfully, I would be grateful for advice in these
matters from one with experience." Seven found herself saying. Janeway's
eyes brightened again at hearing Seven admit that Janeway had helped her,
and was indeed her friend. But she couldn't help laughing at being called
"one with experience."

"Well, I wouldn't call myself an expert in the field, but I suppose I've
been around the block."

"Around the block?" Seven said in complete incomprehension.

"It means that I have had a certain amount of practical experience."


"Well, if you truly don't mind my did...."

"Yes. I had not previously known of self-pleasure: the Collective disregarded
the majority of most species' sexual habits as irrelevant. I knew only of
sexual intercourse between male and female as part of the process of
biological reproduction. It is, incidentally, a characteristically human
trait that you have developed even that simple process into an art form."

"I expect you're right. To tell you the truth, I never really thought about
it before. I take it this was your experience?"

"Yes, Kathryn."

" was it?" Janeway leaned forward with a conspiratorial grin.

"I have no words to comprehensively and accurately describe the experience.
It was in all ways unlike anything I would imagined, and the experience was
vastly more powerful than I had anticipated. Is it always that way?" Seven
said with quiet simplicity.

"Well, it differs very much from person to person and from experience to
experience. Some times are better than others, some less potent. What was
it like to you?" Janeway couldn't help thinking for a moment that this was
very much like one of her more surreal dreams: discussing sex, masturbation,
and orgasms with Seven of Nine over a cozy dinner. 'Oh brother, is this ever
one for the books....'

"Well, the first time it was typical enough, from what I understand: elevated
pulse, increased respiration, elevated body temperature to begin with, and
when I began sense of time seemed affected, and the
experience built upwards, like a wave-form charting upwards to a peak. And
when I reached was unlike anything else I have ever
known. It I once heard Lieutenant Paris an uncontrolled
warp-core breach. The sensation consumed me totally: it seemed to go on for
an extremely long time, though in retrospect it must only have been a minute
or two; and the intensity seemed not to decrease and in fact, increased
repeatedly to the point where I feared sensual synaptic overload. Afterwards,
I was drained, yet still somehow elated. I felt all my muscles were limp and
slack, and I was physically exhausted, yet the sensation was still quite
pleasurable. And the stimulation was great enough that I continued to have
random nerve firings for a substantial period of time afterwards, though
soon after the experience, I entered the regeneration cycle." Seven related
softly, her voice slightly roughened and her eyes slightly unfocused as she
recalled the pleasure. Janeway shook her head slightly, feeling more than a
little warm under the uniform turtleneck herself, despite the clinicalness
of the explanation.

"It sounds as though you really hit the mother lode. It isn't always quite
like that, although it's never really bad. It probably has something to do
with it being the first time. Frequently- though not always-the experience
becomes less intense the more frequently you do it in succession."

"I am not certain of that. This morning when I did it again, it was vastly
more intense, to the point where I nearly lost consciousness. Of course,
the first time, there was no artificial assistance." Seven reflected

"First time?! Artificial assistance? Let me guess...item number SE909?"
Janeway asked, using a replicator stores request item code.

"No.... I have not yet sampled the replicated sexual enhancements menu. I
reconfigured the sonic shower in my quarters to...."

"To emit sonics in a wider band at an increased frequency with a more
coherent focus." Janeway finished with a grin.

"Yes! How did you know...?"

"It's the oldest trick in the book. That was the first thing I learned in
high school engineering, though from an older student, of course, not from
the instructor!"

"I had not realized the idea was not original." Seven confessed,

"Seven, if there's one thing you should know about humans and sex, it's
that someone somewhere has already thought of everything that can be done,
and probably a fair number of things that can't." Janeway said kindly,

"I will keep that in mind."

"I did the same trick when I was sixteen; tuned it to something like 200
watts, and knocked myself for a loop. Nearly blew out the shower doors. I
hope you didn't make the same mistake." Janeway said with half-rueful

"Actually, I tuned it to 1.3 kilowatts." Seven admitted. Janeway gasped.
She had never hear of any human being using sonics for pleasure at more
than 100 or 200 watts, though nearly every human female she had ever met
had tried the trick at as much power as they felt they could survive.
Sonics at the power level Seven was indicating would have surely have
physically injured any human not enhanced as Seven was with Borg
technology. Although...Janeway supposed that if you could physically
handle it.... It must have been incredible! The first time she had tried
the trick was still to her mind one of the best times she had ever had.

"What...what was it like?" Janeway asked, her curiosity overpowering.

"The sensation...the pleasure...was remarkable. It was instantaneous, the
climax coming almost immediately, and not ceasing. It was a series of the
most potent sensations I can imagine, one after the other, for approximately
ten minutes. After that time I was forced to disengage the sonic shower, as
I was about to lost consciousness. As it was, I was unable to move or get
up from the floor of the sonic shower for perhaps a quarter of an hour
following." Seven said, quietly. Janeway's jaw dropped again. Unbidden, the
image formed in her mind of the impossibly beautiful Borg writhing, naked,
in the throes of multiple orgasms, on the floor of the sonic shower.
Janeway's breath caught in her throat. She made no secret of her preference
for men, but she was certainly able to appreciate female beauty, and there
had been a couple of times in her younger days, mostly at the Academy, when
she had done more than appreciate a female friend's beauty. Before she could
stop it, the thought came: 'God, I would have liked to see that!' She managed
to catch the thought before she wound up saying it aloud.

"Incredible.... What a way to begin one's sexual life! I wonder if sex with
another person will ever match up to that."

"I have no reference yet for that experience. Yet I do not expect that
precise sensation with another person. This was...certainly more than
pleasant, but there was still something lacking. A human trait that I
believe I am beginning to evince is that some exceptional things are best
experienced when shared with another properly able to appreciate them.
Also, as pleased as I am to discover such a pastime, I am primarily
interested in the erotic as it pertains to relationships of love. Self-love
is not what I am interested in, and one cannot love a sonic shower." Seven
said, straightfaced. Janeway had to laugh.

"I suppose that's true, though I heard a few arguments made at the Academy.
But although I will be the first to tell you that sex is never better than
when you are in love, you should prepare yourself for the fact that you may
want to have sex with someone before you fall in love with anyone."

"I had considered creating a holo-program...." Seven said.

"You mean like one of Tom's special projects?" Janeway grinned again.

"I had not realized Lieutenant Paris' more creative programming was so widely
known." Seven said with slight surprise.

"Oh, Tom is convinced he's hidden them well and nobody knows about them. But
Tom's underestimated or forgotten about the complexity of several important
safeguards: when you try to keep your holoprograms- or anything else of such
size- off the main catalogue, the computer will automatically notify the
executive officer that an individual is using such a large amount of memory
for private files. Also, the first officer and captain are automatically
notified when an individual uses images and response files of current
crewpeople in personal-coded holoprograms. Though God knows I would never
tell him I went and looked over a couple of the programs in question."
Janeway chuckled.

"Lieutenant Paris has used image and response files of current crew in erotic
holoprograms?!" Seven was quite surprised. Seven had thoroughly researched
Starfleet regulations, and knew that although there were none specifically
governing such things, such uses when discovered were greatly frowned upon by
Starfleet Command, and it was not unknown for officers to receive formal
reprimands in their personnel files for behavior infringing upon privacy
regulations in those instances. There had even been one or two more severe
cases, when a less than open-minded commanding officer decided to treat some
of the more exotic instances of the offense as personal misuses of official
Starfleet property, resulting in demerits and summary demotion for the
crewperson in question.

"Oh, yes. If I were of a mind, I could have his special commission on a
silver platter for a few of those programs. But they're his fantasies, and
he's done more than enough to keep them private, and he has never behaved
with anything less than perfect courtesy to any fellow crewmember or anyone
else, either. Well...except for some unrelated and largely understandable
incidents. But our Tom thinks very highly of you, Seven."

"I am...featured in one of Lieutenant Paris' programs?!" Seven was shocked.
Tom had never been less than forthright in his body language that he
considered Seven attractive, but he had always acted towards her as a friend
and fellow officer only. She would never have guessed.

"You are, though not one of the ones I inspected. But you're in good company.
I can tell you Mr. Paris has quite a high opinion of his captain's abilities,
I'm pleased to say." Janeway said with a good-humored chuckle. Seven's eyes
widened in shock.

"He wants to...?" She found she did not know what to say. Janeway laughed

"Let's just say that Tom apparently would like to help me put the captain's
chair to uses that were never planned for at Utopia Planetia. And I do
believe he would be quite good at it. I'll let you in on a secret: I turned
the tables on our Mr. Paris. When I had the computer run a simulation of the
program using a holographic substitute for Tom, I decided that turnabout was
fair play: I eliminated the Janeway image and tried out the program for
myself." Janeway said, conspiratorially. Seven raised an eyebrow in surprise.

"Indeed, a very fair solution. Did Lieutenant Paris perform to

"Well, if the imaging/response file is accurate, not only did Mr. Paris do
very well in his Academy courses in biocontrol, but he's...well...strictly
Galaxy-class when it comes to the warp nacelle, if you know what I mean."

"Galaxy-class warp...oh! Ah." She considered that Galaxy-class starships were
Starfleet's largest, and recalled reading the somewhat quaint discourses of
sexual imagery by a late-nineteenth-century pioneer of Terran psychosciences
named Freud, and suddenly the reference became clear to Seven.

"Is the size of the male's penis relevant to sexual performance?" She

"Well, yes and no. Certainly if a man is a skilled enough lover, penis size
matters infinitely less. But in general, the larger it is, the better it
feels, up to a certain point. Although, no matter the size, few women
regularly achieve orgasm during intercourse. Size was actually a major issue
in male ego for a long time on Earth, until we developed the genetic
technology to alter the size and shape of the body as desired."

"Interesting. But if most women do not experience the maximum pleasure during
intercourse, why does it represent such a large focus of human sexuality?"
Seven asked.

"Well, at first it was due to male-biased gender discrimination that was
prevalent in most Earth cultures up until a couple of hundred years ago. Now
we give it a certain amount of focus not only because it is still our primary
method of reproduction, but also because it is still the chiefest sexual
pleasure for most men, and there's no real use in we women turning the tables
and discriminating against them out of sheer spite; but also because even if
we don't usually get an orgasm out of it, most women still enjoy the act
very much and find it extremely pleasurable. Besides, in some ways it is
considered the most emotionally or psychologically intimate of our
heterosexual variations: something about the joining, the closeness, the
fitting of two people together like that, I think." Janeway explained.

"I see. If this is so, what is the usual method used for the woman to achieve

"Well, it varies from partner to partner. But I'd say the standby is
generally oral sex. Most women achieve the best orgasms with a partner they
can that way."

"Have you found it to be pleasurable?" Seven asked, frankly.

"Extremely." Janeway said, with unhesitating directness. Seven contemplated
this for a moment. This advice was proving to be much more helpful than she
had even expected. All of a sudden, a thought coalesced in her head, and she
spoke with resolution, before she could change her mind.

"Kathryn.... Have you ever experienced sex with another female?" Janeway's
breath caught again. Was this a simple question or a proposition? And if the
latter, what would she say or do?

"I have. Several times at the Academy, when I was a cadet, and once when I
was an ensign on the Kennedy." She replied, cautiously.

"Did you find it a pleasant experience as compared with sex with males?"

"It's not really a comparable experience. Aside from intercourse, the methods
are largely the same, but the emotional and psychological quality of the
experience is totally different. The desire, the quality- or quantity- of
arousal is no less or more, but there is a certain sense of intimacy- a sense
of connection perhaps, or at least comprehension- with another woman that's
not frequently so immediate with men. Perhaps it's because as women, we
understand the psychological workings- the ins and outs, if you'll forgive
the expression- of other women better than we do those of men. I have very
much enjoyed those times I slept with men, and enjoyed just as much those
times with women." Janeway said, quietly. There was a pause, as Seven
absorbed this and Janeway wondered with momentary wildness, Am I insane? I
can't believe I'm saying this, let alone to Seven of Nine. I don't even want
to stop and think about the ethics of this whole conversation, let alone the
ethics of what I'm starting to think about now. After a moment, Seven very
quietly, and with some effort said, "You understand, Kathryn, that I have no
real experience or reference for the relations we have been discussing. I
wish to understand these things very much, but there is a difficulty. I do
not understand most human beings well, and I find that I trust even fewer.
Certainly my shipmates on Voyager are those I trust, yet I am still
concerned. If I understand the nature of human sexuality at all, and I
believe I am beginning to, it is an integral part of personality. Since it
will inevitably become an integral part of my personality, I find that I
am reluctant to so freely trust others in exploring it at this juncture as
I would be with other matters."

"That was difficult for you to say, Seven. More than it would be for most.
It took great courage to do so." Janeway acknowledged, allowing herself to
clasp Seven's hand as it lay clenched on the table. Janeway noted with
relief that Seven, who seemed unutterably tense, relaxed fractionally as
she took in what Janeway had said, and the soft, comforting, openness with
which she had said it.

"Thank you. In a way, this only enhances what I was aiming towards. So far,
you are the person I trust most, on Voyager or anywhere else. Will you help
me, guide me in exploring these matters?" Seven said, with effort. She
tensed as Janeway paused for a moment. Seven suddenly understood the fear
of rejection. She had opened herself, let Janeway see a part of herself she
was not inclined to show others. What if Janeway found her request
inappropriate, what if her only real friendship with an equal was irreparably

Kathryn Janeway had to take a moment. Just for a moment she had to think
honestly with herself. 'Why do I feel this should be wrong? Is it because
I consider her a member of my crew, one of my senior officers, even though
she's not, she's not even in Starfleet? But even regulations don't
completely forbid personal relationships between captains and senior
officers. Is it that I'm still almost married, and I can't deny it, even
though I don't think of it very often any more? But Mark is most likely
seeing other women, and when we discussed my being career Starfleet, we
said we would overlook passing sexual encounters- infidelity, as they used
to call it. Perhaps because this wouldn't be meaningless, or entirely
casual: I love Seven. But I'm not in love with her, she's...a friend,
albeit a somewhat unsual one, and one that I seem to want very much. I
can't remember the last time I wanted someone this badly. Nobody since I
became a captain, maybe nobody since I first wanted Mark. Maybe not even
since I was a girl at the Academy. Am I afraid of the strength of my desire
for her? Perhaps. It's not regulations, it's not Mark.... Is it that I
don't want to ruin the friendship, or our working relationship? Maybe. But
I think if Seven believes she can take the risk successfully, I need to
trust her and believe it, too. And oh dear, look at her...I must have
looked like I was thinking of a way to let her down...poor thing, I'd
better say something.' But before she could, Seven began, stiffly, "Kathryn,
if you do not...." Janeway cut her off, clasping Seven's hand again.

"But I do. I'm sorry. I had to think for a moment. It's been a long, long
time. But I very much want to.... You are my friend, Seven. And more, you
are the closest female friend I have here, the closest female friend I
have had anywhere since Kes translated to her new plane of being. Ever
since you left the Collective, you and I have taught each other many
things. We work well together as friends, as a team, despite our occasional
differences in view. But I respect you for your opinions. And as your
friend, I love you. a woman, I want you. You're very beautiful,
though I suspect you know that."

"I...thought I had known it. I have noticed many aboard find me attractive,
if I read their kinesics and physical responses correctly. And I did overhear
Lieutenant Paris tell Ensign Kim that I was 'too much woman' for him."
Janeway laughed, interjecting, "I'll just bet you are."

"But I have never been told 'to my face' that I am beautiful. I had not
expected it to feel different than knowing it in the abstract. I was correct,
then? I am considered attractive by Terran standards?" Seven found she wanted
to know. She wondered if this were the beginnings of egotism. Janeway just
laughed again.

"Oh, yes! Most Terrans would consider you almost physically perfect, Seven.
Chakotay says that easily half the crew get tongue-tied and swoon when you're
around, from what he hears!" Seven raised an eyebrow, amusement glistening in
her eyes.

"Swoon?" She said.

"Chakotay's words, not mine."

"It is something of an odd concept that people desire me." Seven admitted.
Now it was Janeway's turn to cock an eyebrow.

"Is it an odd concept that I desire you?" She said, with a grin.

"Well...not as much. But perhaps that has something to do with my own desire
for you." Seven replied. Janeway shivered to hear her say it. She hadn't felt
this way in a long time.

"Seven, I think it would be prudent to continue this discussion elsewhere."
Janeway said.

"You are undoubtedly correct, Kathryn." Seven agreed. Her blue eyes met
Janeway's brown eyes, and both flushed a little at what they read in the
other's gaze. They both got up, and despite the sparseness of crew in the
mess hall at the moment, both were eminently casual as they returned their
trays to the replicator, and strolled out the doors.

"Kathryn, there is an expression that I learned from the erotic material I
assimilated." Seven offered as they reached the turbolift and waited for it
to arrive.

"And that is?" Janeway said, the corner of her mouth twitching.

"'Your place or mine?'" Seven said, straight-faced. Janeway laughed again.
She's developing quite a sense of humor, Janeway thought. Who would have
believed that a year or two ago? The turbolift arrived, and the doors sighed

"I'll tell you what," Janeway said as they got on. "Let me take you someplace
a little special this time. Deck three." She addressed the last to the
turbolift. It hummed into motion.

"Deck three?" Seven asked.

"Our Mr. Paris isn't the only one who does a little recreational
programming." Janeway said with a wink. Seven's eyes widened in surprise.

"I see there are many things about you I had not known or guessed
previously." She said.

"Oh, you just wait...!" Janeway said, mischievously. The lift halted, and
they stepped out near the Holodeck Two. Seven wondered what the program would
be like. She found she was quite excited by the prospect. Kathryn was turning
out to be most surprising: Seven liked it. Odd, that usually she was most
displeased with being asked to blindly follow anyone, to face a completely
unknown situation. Yet this once, she felt rather excited not to be in full
control of herself or her situation. They halted outside the holodeck, and
Seven waited as Janeway instructed the computer in a low voice, "Computer:
program Jay Six-Five-Nine Sigma Rho Seven. Code Janeway Alpha Pi Seven Seven
Three Five Blue. Command Priorty." The panel briefly flashed 'Security
Lockout: Command Authorization Level One.' And then the computer said in its
normal voice:

"Program running. You may enter." The doors opened, and Seven and Janeway
stepped into a different world. They barely noticed the doors closing behind
them, or the extra beep as they did, indicating a security lockout was in

They appeared to be in a very large chamber constructed of grey stone.
Tapestries of wool and silk in the medieval styles of southern Europe and
Persia, alternating with huge paintings of the Italian Renaissance period,
hung on the walls, depicting scenes of sensual delights. There was an
extremely large bed of carved dark wood facing them, four-posted and
canopied in the old European style, the overstuffed mattress and mound of
huge pillows laid with sheets and cases of linen and silk, everything
draped in gauzy silk veils and silvery netting. The stone floors were
strewn with rugs of animal skins. Torches of fragrant wood flickered in
sconces along the walls, and from the high vault of the ceiling there hung
an enormous chandelier of silver and crystal, bearing many beeswax candles.
In addition to several marble pedestals bearing sculptures or arrangements
of flowers, plants and pungent herbs; several large, well-upholstered
chairs and divans in dark, carved woods, rich wools, and leathers; and
several beautifully-carved, dark wooden chests along the walls, there were
several large tables bearing delicacies of every kind: fruits and nuts;
pastries and confections; platters of small savory dishes to be eaten with
the fingers; flasks of wines and other beverages, some chilling in dishes
of ice, some standing alone and opened to let the contents breathe or
settle, some warming over tiny candles. There was a wide fireplace on one
side of the room, and a sweet-smelling fire burned brightly.

On the other side of the room was a large window, with wooden shutters
flung open: through the open space they could see a view down upon what
appeared to be Venice, sometime around the fifteenth or sixteenth century.
They looked down upon it from some height indicating that they were in a
tower of some sort. It was just past sunset, and the skies were still
banded with gold and crimson beyond the harbor. Still pale and shadowy,
the moon was visible in the darkening sky over the waters. In the city,
torches and lamps were burning everywhere, and the sounds of water from
the canals mixed with the distant sounds of people talking and laughing.
Somewhere closer to them, they could hear clear music: something slow
and lovely being played on lute, harp, recorder, and violin.

Seven looked around for a moment, stunned. She had not previously imagined
a scene of such inviting beauty, luxury, and sensuality. She just stood for
a moment, taking in the perfect way the colors melded, the superb balance
of light and darkness, as though she stood inside a painting and were part
of it. The colors mixed perfectly with the harmony of sounds, both the
music and the comfortingly genial, far-off sounds of happy people enjoying
a celebration; and with the dizzying knot of scents that enmeshed her: the
fragrances of burning sweetwoods and pine, of new-cut flowers and herbs,
of fresh sea air cooled by the late autumn evening, and the rich mixture
of warm scents from the tables: hot wine mulled with warm honey and spices,
the buttery and fruity aromas of pastry, the aromatic smells of savory
dishes, the thick, yeasty odor of fresh bread. The air in the room was
fresh, cool from the window, but warmed somewhat by the fireplace, and all
the torches and candles alight.

"Are you all right? You've been standing there without moving for almost
two minutes." Kathryn's gentle voice cut into Seven's reverie. She turned
to find the captain had taken off her uniform jacket and turtleneck, and
casually tossed it over a chair standing near the bed. Her arms looked
strong and smooth coming from her sleeveless undertunic, and her nipples
made prominent points where the thin grey fabric was stretched tight over
her breasts. Kathryn's lovely, aristocratic features were made golden by
the fire- and candle-light, and the short, thick curtain of her
wheat-colored hair shimmered in the dancing glow. Seven took a breath,
and replied, "I am...fine. I was just.... You are a very skilled programmer,
Kathryn. I had no idea setting could provide so much enhancement to the

"I'm glad you like it. It's a favorite setting of mine."

"It is lovely. As are you." Seven reached up, and slipped the twist that
bound her hair in place. She shook her head, almost imperceptibly, and it
fell to her shoulders, more golden than ever in the firelight. Kathryn's
breath caught in her throat, Seven looked so beautiful. A little cautiously.
the two stepped closer to each other, both almost brushing the coverlets on
the bed, they stood so close to it. Kathryn let one hand touch the golden
hair where it fell: it was feathery soft, and Kathryn almost laughed to
think it should have been harder, just because Seven was usually so severe
and cool in her attitude. Seven allowed her fingers to trace the line of
Kathryn's neck and shoulder, unsurprised and yet still wondering at the
other woman's strength, her force of personality, her personal magnetism
and charisma; and at the soft, warm, feel of her skin, the taut energy of
muscle underneath. Seven almost gasped as she felt Kathryn's other hand
clasp her waist, resting on her hip.

"Kathryn.... I.... Show me...." She began, unsure of how to begin, despite
the hundreds of terabytes of information she had assimilated.

"Shhh." Kathryn said, comfortingly, drawing Seven close. Seven felt Kathryn's
hand slide under her hair and gently clasp her neck, and she let her head be
pulled downwards, not knowing if she tilted her head instinctively or from
conscious knowledge, not caring which once her mouth met Kathryn's. Seven had
a curious sensation, as though her stomach had turned over and slipped itself
into a quivering knot. A staggeringly powerful wave of desire swept through
her, leaving her knees trembling. Kathryn's lips were soft on her own, the
kiss firm. Seven instinctively let her lips part, and felt Kathryn's tongue
slip strongly between them, into her own mouth. The desire inside her flamed
hotter, and her body responded with a roaring surge of adrenaline, her
nipples hardening to an almost painful degree, the juncture of her legs
suddenly flooding with moisture, her body temperature spiking as though she
were fevered, her pulse racing. Part of Seven's mind was bewildered, unable
to come to rational terms or explain her feelings, her reactions, the feeling
of profound emotional intoxication she felt as her tongue slid against
Kathryn's. But for the first time in her adult life, Seven utterly dismissed
that part of her mind, and consciously gave herself completely over to the
moment, the experience, to Kathryn.

She was lost in the kiss, the circuit of passion connecting her and Kathryn
growing as they remained locked in embrace, their arms twined around each
other, holding each other close. Seven was barely used to the feeling of
another's body pressed to her own-so sensuous, even through clothing-that
she almost broke the kiss as she felt Kathryn's embrace slacken ever so
slightly, and Kathryn's hands begin to trace the curves of her body, touching
her where no one besides herself had yet touched. After what seemed a long,
long time, Seven felt Kathryn's mouth leave hers, and almost moaned at the
loss of connection. A moment later, she did moan as she felt the warmth of
Kathryn's lips on her neck, in the hollow of her collarbone, and Kathryn's
strong hand releasing the seals on her garment. Seven couldn't believe how
erotic, how arousing the other woman's mouth on her throat was. She would
never have guessed that such a seemingly prosaic area of her body would be
such an erogenous zone. Seven felt preternaturally aware of every centimeter
of her skin, and gasped as the chill night air hit her exposed body as
Kathryn gently but firmly peeled her garment from her. She felt completely
beyond herself, unable to do anything except experience the sensations as
Kathryn made love to her.

Kathryn almost gasped herself as she tugged the garment from Seven's body.
It clung to her, as if not wanting to cease touching her flesh: Kathryn
couldn't blame it. It had always been crystal clear to anyone on Voyager
that Seven had an breathtaking body. But it was only now, as Kathryn
stripped the young Borg, Seven's impossibly blue eyes misty and slightly
unfocused with desire, her strong body pliant and yielding in Kathryn's
arms, that Kathryn saw her true perfection. Kathryn devoured the sight
with her eyes: Seven's pale skin was glimmering in the firelight, almost
nacreous in appearance; her sharply hardened nipples a perfect rose-pink;
the dancing shadows making the sweeping curves of her magnificently full
breasts all the more dramatic; every sinuous line of her form utterly
flawless. Kathryn found she did not even mind the severe silver and black
of Seven's implants: they flowed seamlessly with her skin, and though hard,
the flexile metal was warm to the touch. She also noted with a certain
degree of interest that although the Doctor might have regenerated and
stimulated the hair follicles on Seven's head, he had done nothing about
the follicles on the rest of her body, which was perfectly smooth and
hairless everywhere.

Kathryn, who was usually as healthily aggressive in bed as in the rest of
her life, had never considered herself as someone who favored either
dominance or submission during sex, but rather a middle course-or perhaps
neither, not being interested in sex primarily as a relationship of
authority. Yet she found something powerfully arousing about the way that
Seven seemed to have consciously decided to give up control, and now seemed
unconditionally submissive to Kathryn's ministrations. There was something
in the way that she utterly surrendered herself to the experience of passion
that took Kathryn's breath away in its pure sensuality. 'Maybe it's because
she doesn't take the experience of any pleasure for granted, and perhaps we
do, being accustomed to the idea from Day One,' Kathryn thought. 'Maybe
it's because she's never had a bad sexual experience to scar her, so she
holds nothing back. Or maybe it's just because- under all the icy
perfectionism- she is the most passionate woman I've ever known.'

She bent her head to kiss Seven's shoulders, her collarbone, her chest. She
let her lips barely graze the sides of Seven's breasts as she kissed lower
and lower. Seven moaned again, softly, a sweet-voiced whimper of desire.
Kathryn smiled, knowing what she was doing to the other woman. Seven's breath
was coming quick and shallow, her creamy skin flushing a deep carnation
color, the expression on her face one Janeway had never seen before, or
thought to see any time soon: eyes closed, she wore a completely relaxed,
unguarded expression of abandon and ecstasy, colored by a little genuine
wonder. Except for its sultry sensuality, it might have been the delightedly
surprised face of a child hearing some sort of beautiful music, or tasting
something unexpectedly delicious and sweet, for the first time. Kathryn kept
kissing Seven's body, slowly sinking to her knees, letting her hands slowly
begin to peel Seven's garment from over her hips. Seven's skin twitched and
contracted, and she gave a half-stifled gasping cry as Kathryn's agile tongue
flicked over and in and around her shallow navel. Kathryn ever so slowly
moved downwards, covering Seven's skin with kisses as it was uncovered from
beneath her garment. She found every one of Seven's most unexpected erogenous
zones, from the curve of her hips to the back of her knees. By the time she
reached Seven's ankles, the young Borg's knees were shaking, and the inside
of her thighs was dripping with her aromatic juices. At a nudge from Kathryn,
Seven allowed her legs to give way, and she sat heavily on the side of the
bed, not even noticing the luxurious yield of the feather mattress under her.
Kathryn finished removing Seven's garment, and then paused briefly to remove
her own undertunic.

Seven moaned again as Kathryn kissed and massaged her feet- another wholly
unexpected erogenous zone!- and then began to slowly work her way back up
Seven's legs. Seven flickered wildly from sensation to sensation, her body
not knowing what to focus on, what to experience first. The hot, soft
moistness of Kathryn's lips made Seven ache with desire, and the brush of
Kathryn's silky, warm skin against Seven's cooler skin made her flesh twitch
in anticipation and longing. Seven was almost weeping with frustration as
Kathryn once again delicately kissed her way around the juncture of Seven's
legs, carefully steering clear of where Seven so badly wanted to feel her
mouth. Kathryn's fingers moved lightly over Seven's body, leaving trails of
raised goose-flesh in their wake. Kathryn slipped onto the bed beside Seven,
her mouth never leaving Seven's body, her own body crying out as she slid
sensuously against Seven's skin. She finally yielded to her own desire and,
as she kissed Seven's throat again, allowed her hands to move upwards to cup
Seven's breasts, the nipples hard between her fingers. Seven cried aloud,
the sensation of being touched there almost overwhelming her: why was it so
much more intense than when she had done it herself? Kathryn's fingers were
playing over Seven's breasts like a musician expertly strumming and plucking
an instrument. Seven couldn't believe there were so many different ways to
touch someone: sometimes gentler and softer, sometimes rougher and harder;
stroking here, pulling there, rubbing a little everywhere. Every time Seven
felt she must have experienced all the sensations possible from the act of
being caressed, Kathryn did something new and different that brought her to
an even higher level of pleasure.

Kathryn's fingers were never still, her lips always gentle on Seven's neck,
her shoulders, her breasts. Just as she was sure nothing could feel better
than this, she felt a burst of glorious warmth as Kathryn's tongue touched
her nipple. Seven could feel the tension rising in her, the sensation of
something under her skin waiting to explode. She could not hold back a soft
whimper...the feeling was so close.... It was like the most exquisite
torture ever conceived of: Kathryn's tongue and lips softly dancing over
and around the most sensitive parts of her breasts until she was sure her
nipples would explode, they were so hard; keeping her teetering on the edge
of climax for what seemed like hours. Seven didn't know how much more she
could take: she needed the release more than she had ever needed anything
before. Kathryn sensed Seven's nearness to completion, her tense need and
mounting frustration; she gave Seven what she needed. With startling
swiftness and force, Kathryn simultaneously closed her mouth over one of
Seven's nipples and snaked her hand down to cup the gentle mound between
Seven's legs, putting pressure on her clitoris with the base of a finger,
letting the tip of that finger part Seven's lower lips and tease her
entrance. The combined sensations were too much for Seven. She let out a
piercing scream and convulsed.

Kathryn was amazed, holding on with main strength, barely able to continue
what she was doing with her mouth and hand. Kathryn was glad the holodeck
was soundproof, because otherwise Seven's screaming would surely have been
heard all the way to Engineering. Seven was lost in the maelstrom of climax,
so different from what she had given herself. She was engulfed in a swirling
glow of heated rapture, unable to feel anything but the pleasure, except for
the closeness of Kathryn. She had never felt as connected to another living
being since she left the Collective as she now felt to Kathryn. Seven
abandoned herself to the feeling, one hand pressing Kathryn's head to her
breast, the other grasping the bed linen in a vise-like grip. Kathryn had
never seen anyone have multiple orgasms of such power before. Seven simply
kept writhing and shuddering, her damply glistening skin flushed deep
crimson from her hairline to her waist, her breasts swollen with passion to
almost half again their impressive size, her golden hair darkened to streaky
ash with sweat, every breath a moan or a scream. She was ceaselessly carried
from wave to wave of orgasm, as Kathryn did whatever she could to keep the
intensity of stimulation going. Unheeded, tears streamed from Seven's eyes,
further dampening her face and hair. After nearly five full minutes of climax
so intense Kathryn began to wonder if Seven would ever cease, the spasms
seemed to begin decreasing in intensity, and Kathryn slowly eased the
pressures of her lips and tongue and fingers.

Gradually, Seven came back to herself, breathing hard, and only occasionally
moaning or whimpering as yet another sparking tremor passed through her, like
seismic aftershocks from a tectonic shift; her pulse loud in her ears; her
sweat-dampened skin now cooling in the night air. She opened her eyes- she
had not even been aware of closing them to begin with- and was surprised to
find that everything appeared to be surrounded by an oddly crystalline haze,
until she realized that she was looking through tears...her own tears.
Languorously, she brushed the tears from her eyes. She barely felt the
sensation of Kathryn's hands leaving her body, just registered the lessening
of warmth as Kathryn reclined next to her. It was something of an effort to
turn her head and look. Kathryn lay reclining, head leaning on her fist. She
was absently pushing her boots off with her toes. She was a little flushed,
her smoothly tanned skin just barely glistening with a sheen of sweat. Her
thick, even hair was mussed, her brown eyes glinting at Seven, full of
meaning and desire. Her nipples were hard, and pointed at Seven like two
small brown fingertips. Idly, Kathryn lifted her other hand, the hand that
had pleasured Seven, and licked her fingers, drenched with the juices of
Seven's body. The evident relish Kathryn displayed for the way Seven tasted
was unexpectedly arousing to Seven. She would not have expected there to be
an actual aesthetic appreciation for bodily secretions: in the erotic
material she had assimilated, she had assumed such references to be
metaphorical. It was extremely pleasing, in some peculiarly primal way, for
Kathryn's desire for her to be so strong that she wished to enjoy even such
a small taste of Seven. She felt another wave of desire course through her,
followed by another small after-shock of pleasure. Her gaze locked with
Kathryn's for a moment, and another after-shock rippled through her: she
savored the feeling.

"Oh.... Kathryn...." She murmured, weakly. Kathryn smiled, took Seven's hand,
and pressed Seven's fingers to her lips.

"Kathryn.... I had no idea...." Seven said, softly.

"It only gets better, you know." Kathryn said, her low voice purring. Seven
suddenly felt her lassitude wash away under a wave of energetic desire. She
rolled over and kissed Kathryn forcefully, letting herself be the aggressive
one this time, letting her tongue wrestle with Kathryn's. She felt Kathryn's
delight in her sudden assertiveness, and briefly wondered if she shouldn't
take things a little more slowly: her knowledge of sexual skills, though
broad indeed, was still very much theoretical. Seven dismissed the thought:
she was well used to putting theoretical knowledge into practice with little
preparation, and perhaps there were still instincts lurking somewhere deep
in her subconscious that might help her, as they had the previous night on
herself. Breaking the kiss, Seven knelt swiftly by Kathryn, and in something
resembling her usual tone of brooking no denial- though well-tempered by the
amusement and desire twinkling in her eyes- imperiously ordered, "Remove your
clothes." Kathryn raised an eyebrow at the Borg "you-will-comply" tone, and
the corner of her mouth twitched with a contained smile. But she obediently
peeled off her socks, her uniform trousers, and her underwear, which was all
she had left on of her clothing. Seven watched, appreciating Kathryn's beauty
of form: she was tanned, her skin smooth; her arms and legs were strong; her
hips curved in just the right way; her breasts full and firm, though not as
large and round as Seven's, the brownish nipples hard and pointing. Now it
was Seven's turn to raise an eyebrow: the hair at the juncture of Kathryn's
thighs had been neatly trimmed and shaved, so that only a small, vaguely
triangular puff of short, dark hair remained above her lower lips. Seven had
not realized such a custom was prevalent among human females. It was not
aesthetically without merit. Seven's lips twitched a little in pleased
anticipation. With a sudden movement, she threw one leg out and straddled
Kathryn's body, sitting directly over that well-groomed area, her moistness
and warmth meeting Kathryn's.

"Oh, my...!" Kathryn murmured softly in astonishment and pleasure. This was
unexpected, but not at all unpleasant. Seven leaned forward, her strong hands
pinning Kathryn's outflung arms to the bed, her breasts hanging down to touch
Kathryn's, her face only centimeters away from Kathryn's. And to Kathryn's
delighted surprise, there was a mischievous grin of excitement and humor on
Seven's lovely face.

"Resistance is futile." She said, and locked her mouth to Kathryn's again.
Kathryn felt the young Borg's tongue part her lips and stab at her own, felt
Seven's thighs tense against her own and a warm throb of pleasure as Seven's
naked sex met her own, pressing against her. Kathryn's last coherent thought
before surrendering to the wave of pleasure and desire that was drawing her
mind down into it was, 'Oh baby, is this going to be good...!'

For someone who had never made love before, Kathryn couldn't help noticing
that Seven certainly seemed to know what she was doing. Kathryn gasped as
Seven's mouth and tongue suddenly seemed to be all over her, teasing her
throat and shoulders and chest with their warmth and strong touch. Kathryn
let the sensation wash over her, but hoped that Seven didn't take the time
to tease her with a complete tongue bath, the way she had teased Seven. She
wanted Seven to take her with the kind of rough urgency and strength she
felt welling up inside her, like another pulse beating behind her clitoris
and at the base of her throat. Seven, who was letting her instincts guide
her, felt Kathryn's tense body arching upwards, begging for more, and
without thought, Seven knew what it meant. Her hands moved over Kathryn
with firm assurance, and Kathryn sighed at the sensation. Seven marvelled
at the feel of Kathryn's skin under her fingers, the electric responsiveness
of the woman, her submission to Seven's fingers and mouth.
Seven savored the moment as she touched another woman's breasts for the first
time. It was different, somehow, than touching her own. Perhaps she just paid
more attention to Kathryn's: the fullness of them, filling her hands; their
firmness under the soft skin; the resilient hardness of the nipples between
her fingers. Kathryn moaned eagerly, jolts of pleasure racing through her as
Seven's long, skillful fingers caressed and flicked, pulled and pinched at
her nipples.

Allowing herself to slide downwards, Seven bent, and Kathryn let her eyes
close as she watched Seven's golden head lower from Kathryn's throat to her
breast. The sensation enfolded her, like being lowered into a bath of some
thick, warm liquid: the glorious feeling of Seven's mouth taking her flesh
in, Seven's tongue tracing and curling around her achingly hard nipples,
rocking them this way and that. Kathryn felt as though there were a quivering
network of fire running from her breasts to her groin to her brain, and she
groaned loudly. Seven loved the noise, a raw and unfiltered sound of passion:
she had not thought it would be so moving, so arousing to hear- to know how
much pleasure she was giving someone else. She loved the sensation of
Kathryn's nipples in her mouth, loved the feeling of Kathryn's pulse racing
beneath her fingers and mouth, Kathryn's skin flushing with need. Seven
couldn't resist long, and Kathryn was just as pleased when Seven released
Kathryn's breasts and slipped down, to lie between Kathryn's spread legs.
Seven felt a wave of desire flush her own skin, a feeling almost like
drunkenness as she inhaled the musky, spicy scent of Kathryn's arousal. She
made a passing effort to tease, running her fingertips over Kathryn's wet,
shaved skin, through the close crop of damp, dark hair, letting her tongue
drift over Kathryn's mound, tasting her for the first time. She was
pleasantly surprised by the flavor: sweet, pungent, almost herbal, but with
a salty overtone, and a somewhat astringent aftertaste, rather like a green
apple; and behind it, a subtle, complex, almost imperceptible taste she
couldn't identify- something uniquely female, perhaps, or uniquely Kathryn.
It was not at all an objectionable flavor, and the texture of Kathryn's skin
as Seven moved in, closer to Kathryn's center, was deliciously slick and
smooth, despite all the intricate folds and crevices. Seven found the
experience exquisite, and gave it her full attention.

Kathryn groaned again, and louder, as Seven's tongue traced every line of
her most sensitive parts, sliding sensuously over her lower lips, between
them, then startlingly down below, gliding between her buttocks, tickling
the entrance at her rear, then moving back up to her other entrance. Seven
loved hearing Kathryn's moans, loved the feeling of Kathryn's body jerking
in response as Seven's tongue teased the entraces to Kathryn's body, and
then plunged inside. Kathryn screamed as Seven's tongue was suddenly inside
her, thrusting and twisting, sweeping exquisitely over her inner flesh.
Kathryn loved it, the urgency and need expanding inside her like a balloon
about to burst. She felt as though everything inside herself was on fire,
rising up to a cresting wave of explosion that was so close.... Seven
allowed her tongue to rise, coming out of Kathryn's entrance, seeking the
wonderful seed of flesh so delicately enfolded in its hooded veil. And as
she found the small fleshy knob she sought, she raised her hands to touch
Kathryn here as well, two fingers of one hand sliding into Kathryn's
entrance to take her tongue's place, her other hand slipping underneath,
a finger probing at Kathryn's rear entrance.

With quick simultaneous movements, Seven closed her lips around Kathryn's
clitoris, taking it into her mouth and sucking at it as she had Kathryn's
nipples; at the same time thrusting the two fingers deep into Kathryn, and
slowly working the tip of her other finger into the rear passage. Kathryn
gave a resounding scream as her body arched and writhed, the explosion of
climax taking her as much by surprise as Seven's unexpected triple maneuver.
Kathryn was deafened by the roaring in her ears, and was lost in the
white-golden flashes behind her eyelids as she was swept up. And the feeling
kept coming: Seven in no way slackened her attentions, in fact doubling her
efforts as she heard Kathryn scream, knew the orgasm was breaking through
her; and instead of the ecstasy cresting and breaking like a wave, it kept
cresting, and cresting, and mounting again every time she thought it grew
less. Seven's mouth was fastened around Kathryn's clitoris, her tongue
lashing wildly, her two fingers thrusting vigorously, her other finger
driving deep, burying itself to the base. Kathryn felt as though she could
die from rapture: the ecstasy was consuming, past all thought and all other
feeling, bettering any other release she had known. She couldn't feel herself
breathing, couldn't hear herself screaming: there was only the pleasure.
Slowly, very slowly, the wave started to break, and Seven instinctively
slowed her fingers and tongue, letting Kathryn ebb downwards back to herself.
Gently, Seven let her fingers slide out of Kathryn's body, and unfastened her
mouth from Kathryn's clitoris. As Kathryn shuddered through the last tides of
her orgasm, Seven pulled herself up to lie next to her, watching her recover
from the pleasure.

Kathryn's eyes opened, and she gazed at Seven, still a little unfocused.
Seven was still smiling. Clearly she had enjoyed the experience. But not even
half as much as I did! Kathryn thought to herself. With a small exhalation
more like a whimper than a breath, Kathryn rolled on her side, and into
Seven's arms. The two women held each other tightly for a long moment,
enjoying the connection, and the feeling of their naked bodies pressed
together. Finally, Kathryn looked up at Seven, and they kissed again, Kathryn
tasting herself on Seven's lips and tongue. After the long, deep kiss broke,
Seven cocked an eyebrow at Kathryn and asked, "An adequate showing for a
first attempt?" Kathryn laughed, incredulous.

"Seven.... Oh, Seven.... It was the best I've ever had. Better than anyone
or anything else."

"I, too, enjoyed the experience very much. I enjoyed the sensation of giving
you pleasure." Seven said.

"It was amazing: it was like you knew exactly what I wanted, exactly how I
wanted it. You knew I wanted you to be forceful, to take me, and leave me
breathless." Kathryn said, softly.

"It is strange, but as much as I do not understand the attraction of giving
up any control of oneself under ordinary circumstances, in this one context
I can see the appeal. And the reverse is also true. It is rather exhilirating
to take someone with aggressiveness, to pleasure them strongly until they can
take no more." Kathryn shuddered at the memory.

"Mmm, Seven, you're going to have to stop saying things like that unless you
want to end up doing this all over again." Kathryn said with a wicked grin.

"And what would be the problem in that?" Seven asked, letting her hand slide
down Kathryn's body to cup her rear.

"Oh, my...."

It was substantially later, and well into the ship's night, when Seven and
Kathryn walked out of the holodeck, a little shakily. They were back in their
clothes, and a semblance of order to their hair, but it was just as well that
the lights were dimmed to the 'night' cycle and few people were in the
corridors. Even Kathryn realized that they way she and Seven were looking at
one another, the way neither of them seemed to want to stop touching the
other, it would be crystal clear to a Tiberian bat that the two of them had
just been lovers for the first time. The two of them had made love until
Kathryn could take no more, and even Seven was getting a little tired. They
had had a small midnight snack there in the bed they had shared, and slowly
gotten dressed. Now they looked at one another silently in the turbolift,
unable to keep what Kathryn supposed were probably very silly grins from
their faces. They got out on Deck Two, and Kathryn walked Seven to her
quarters. They stopped a moment outside the door.

"I'm offshift tomorrow." Kathryn said, casually.

"An interesting coincidence. I had just decided to request another day off."
Seven said, just as offhandedly.

"A second day off? In a row? Why, Seven! People will talk!" Kathryn said in
pretended shock.

"It is a risk I will have to take."

"Perhaps we might have lunch together, since we both have the day off."
Kathryn said, the corner of her mouth twitching again.

"That is an acceptable suggestion." Seven said, with an echo of her usual

"And perhaps we might have each other for dessert." Kathryn murmured with a
straight face.

Seven couldn't help it: she laughed.



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