She became aware of the body next to her. Aware of how a casual arm was thrown over her belly and a leg draped over her own. Breath was soft on her shoulder and she could feel just a little dampness from the parted lips. Janeway shifted, easing Seven of Nine onto her back, threading her long fingers through the young woman's hair.
Her sleepy eyes came open as the captain smoothed her sensuous body across her.
How lovely the soft, warm skin felt under her as she moved slowly up and down, dragging their thighs together. Bracing herself with her hands just under Seven's shoulders, she interlocked their legs and allowed her groin to find the top of her knee.
She clasped her hands around the strong upper arms, feeling the muscles flex when the captain moved; unbelievable in her softness, but strong and forceful at the same time.
Seven looked full into Kathryn Janeway's face. Without the experiences to draw the words to truly describe, all she could think was how intense, beautiful and erotic she was. The last word surprised her analytical mind, but as Kathryn lowered herself further still to her elbows so as to gently trail her breasts over her own, she began to understand. Eroticism was beauty; beauty of body and sensation. And there was so much sensation.
She eased her face down to Seven's smooth throat and very gently took her flesh between her teeth. Breathing in her scent, she felt the younger woman's hands tangle in her hair, then, kissing softly, she found her way along her jaw line and over the starfish implant. The ear was sweet and pliant but she did not linger there long. Her mind was on something else.
She felt momentarily smothered as Kathryn closed her mouth over her own, but she knew it was not dangerous. She allowed the intimacy, allowed the soft, wet contact, and then eagerly allowed the tongue to touch her own. How unusual it was to taste someone else; to let her this close. It felt far too good to stop. Her hands then found their way over the body above her and Kathryn vocalized her pleasure when she gripped her buttocks.
She was moving harder against the knee under her, gritting her teeth as she felt her damp folds part and drag achingly across the unyielding bone. The pressure became all the more direct when the woman under her raised her leg just a touch more.
She became aware of the intent in the movements over her, how the captain was achieving pleasure from the contact of her knee and that very soft, wet, sexual place. It did not shock her or feel uncomfortable, in fact, it felt very natural. And it felt very natural for her to feather her fingers along the groove separating those strong gluteus maximus muscles. This pleased Kathryn, as she murmured and kissed her again more demandingly. Then suddenly, the body above her tensed, every muscle becoming firm and solid. Kathryn gasped against her mouth, pressing herself impossibly hard down on her knee.
She could not breathe for an endless time and was only peripherally aware of how Seven's arms circled her when she finally collapsed on her, spent and sated. Purring nonsense words, she felt her breath and heart slow. Their bodies were damp together with sweat now, and when Kathryn lifted herself to stare into the eyes of her lover, she felt the cooling air tense Seven's nipples.
She was so beautiful she seemed to glow, almost as breathtaking as the delicate fingers that now traced her breast. Seven felt herself pulling away, her throat tightening, but the feeling eased when Kathryn lightened the already tender touch.
Lips and tongue were now tracing her clavicle and she gasped when that soft mouth enveloped her other nipple.
She forced herself to be very gentle, though she wanted so much to quench her desire by sucking and biting. Everything was new to Seven; she did not want to overwhelm her, she wanted to please her. And she was succeeding. For a very long time she continued to pleasure those succulent breasts, pausing only to move her mouth from one to the other.
The woman was moving beneath her, her hands active in Kathryn's hair and across her back. Eventually, her experience told her her lover desired more.
She felt her abdominal muscles draw in as Kathryn trailed her hands downward along her sides, and her mouth over her navel where she nipped lightly at the flesh there before continuing. The captain's hands pulled her legs up and gently opened them as she settled before her pubic mound. Seven knew what was coming, had read about sexual technique in Voyager's library computer, but nothing in the universe could prepare her for the moment when the gentle mouth contacted her. She felt herself rise up as she gasped for air.
She slipped her hands under the firm rear when Annika rose to meet her. As her tongue stroked the wet flesh she thought about how she had watched this beautiful body move; how she had longed to touch the soft skin and hair. And this. Oh this! Two of her fingertips found their way to the tender opening but she did not press inside only circled the flesh.
She was abstractly aware that the fingers that touched her could, with a firm move, be inside her, but she was wary of that contact--uneasy at allowing such complete intimacy. And she was also wholly absorbed by Kathryn's mouth. The mouth that seemed to possess her with such hunger. She gave herself to the possession then, withholding nothing, so complete was her trust. Her own hands clamped hard on Kathryn's shoulders and her head dropped back as she cried out.
ship's time, oh-two-forty-five hours
Seven of Nine had been awake for some time now, on her side, with Kathryn Janeway pressed against her back. Her own Borg implanted left hand held the human one that rested just below her breast. She did not wish to move; the breath on her neck, and the soft comfort of the living body stretched parallel against her own, made her feel connected in a way she had not experienced since being severed from the Collective.
How odd to lie together unconscious, detached, yet so together.
Kathryn stirred and drew her knee up Seven's thigh, murmuring.
She is perfectly comfortable with this contact. Even in her sleep she feels pleasure from it. I am aware of every place she touches me, every breath she takes. It is like electricity between us. I do not feel alone. I feel ... together but also captured. Her arms around me possess me such as she possessed me when ...
Her mind stopped short when she encountered difficulty in bringing the memory into her conscious. It was fragmented now, the sensations diluted and without body.
Like her recent dreams had been.
A dream? I dreamed her body on mine, her hands and her mouth? How could it have been a dream? She joined with me, connected. We shared this experience.
Something was wrong.
Seven tried to carefully extract herself from Kathryn, but the older woman stirred, instinctively pulling her back. Her hand stroked the length of Seven's body as far as she could reach from knee to face, and her leg pressed Seven firmly to the bed. With her eyes still closed, Kathryn sought Seven's lips, but the ex-Borg turned her head away from the touch. She nuzzled her neck instead and her leg moved so her hand could seek between Seven's legs.
Janeway's eyes snapped open and she looked down into the face of a frightened and disconcerted Seven of Nine. "What is it, love?" she said very tenderly. "What is the matter?"
Seven felt trapped. She held the other woman away with a hand in the middle of her chest. "You are dreaming."
Janeway's eyebrows knitted together in the dim light and she moved to the side, releasing the body from under her. Seven moved still farther away to the end of the bed.
"Dreaming? I don't understand, Seven." She hesitated, and her features softened as she remembered. "I made love to you last night. Right here in this bed. I want to again." She extended a hand to touch the beautiful body she desired. Her hand was intercepted and held.
"It was a dream."
What is going on here? Janeway knelt on the bed and pushed the sheet aside.
Seven was watching her and holding her hand as if afraid to allow her any closer. Her eyes were filled with apprehension wondering what the captain might do.
"What do you mean 'it was a dream'?"
It was real, it had happened.
She had made no move to answer, so Janeway continued, slowly and carefully. "Seven, what do you remember?" The young woman relaxed slightly and released her hand.
"I recall lying in your bed and my consciousness fading. I was 'falling asleep'" Her gaze seemed to turn inward as she examined this new experience. "Then I remember becoming awake with your body close to me and ..." she hesitated, "feeling as if we had... 'made love’ together ... but when I tried to recall it fully, I could not. It must have been a dream yet you recall these events also?"
She is so clinical, Janeway could not help thinking.
"Yes, I remember."
The lovely feel of her skin, her smoothness. The taste of her and the way she grabbed me when she came.
Janeway's hand went to her right shoulder. Seven sat up aware of what she was looking for. The skin was unmarred, no sign of damage.
"You would be bruised had I .…" She didn't finish because it struck her the captain was remembering the exact moment she was. A moment from a dream. Seven's eyebrow raised. "We shared a dream. This is not usual?"
"No. This is not usual." Janeway's voice was tight and she got up from the bed, found and pulled on her shirt.
"Something's going on. I'm dreaming, you're dreaming.…" She couldn't find the buttons, her hands were trembling. She looked at the woman in the bed, her bed, went to sit beside her. Lightly she touched her bare knee. "I'm so sorry this happened, you must be confused." Her mind ranged back past the dream, back to when they had drunk wine and talked last night.
I was so confident. So sure she would relent to my wishes. Sure of the effect of my own sensuality.
"My behaviour was inexcusable. I don't know what got into me."
That's it, I've lost my mind...
"I do not know what got into me either. My behaviour was unusual as well."
Both of us. Both of us acting strange and sharing a dream. Janeway patted Seven's knee and started to speak.
"Security to Captain Janeway."
She blinked her eyes once very slowly before answering.
ship's time oh-three-seventeen hours
This was not happening on her ship. Not happening.
"Did you hear me, Captain?" the Doctor's tone was strident. "Ensign Brooks was sexually assaulted."
"I heard you perfectly well, Doctor." She looked past him to the biobed where the woman lay sedated. "Who did this?" Her voice was cold and her eyes just as icy. The Doctor hesitated and she was directly in front of his face. "A sample! I want a DNA match with whatever man on the ship was responsible in thirty minutes."
"I have to attend to the wounded from the fight in the messhall as well," the EMH stepped back. "Mr. Paris has yet to report. I'll ..."
Janeway had already turned away. "You will report to me as soon as possible."
And she was gone, the door closing behind her.
Four people had been injured in a brawl in the messhall. Security had been called to break it up. Shortly afterwards, the unconscious Ensign Brooks had been found in the lower part of the ship-- on the same deck as hydroponics.
The Captain stepped off the turbolift onto the bridge and went directly to Tuvok at his station. "Have you been able to translate any of the logs from that ship?"
"I have, but my work has been interrupted by the violence." The ship was now at General Quarters; all personnel not required to be on duty were to be in their quarters.
Which, obviously, had not been the case. "The cause of the problems on that ship is unimportant in light of our own." He looked at her in his steady Vulcan way. "I have reports of violence now from all the living decks and from near hydroponics."
The creature! Was it safe?
"Commander Chakotay must have brought a contagion of some kind when he returned from the alien ship with the creature. It seems benign in every way, but the trouble started after it came aboard."
"What have you learned? What happened to the other ship?"
Tuvok touched controls and information scrolled across in front of him. "They had been seeking this thing for some time. To them it was a powerful totem, a symbol to be possessed by the strongest. With it they would have power, possibly power over others. I cannot be sure of that passage. Shortly after they captured it the violence started for them. Physical disagreements between the male crew and attacks on the female crew. That is as far as I have been able to translate."
He turned to face her directly. "Captain, you have been exposed to the creature. Were you aware of any effect it might have had on you?"
She had been thinking about that, trying to make sense of the images in her mind when the little owl looked at her. "Yes, but it was nothing violent. I .…" How could she explain? "It just looked at me and I felt somehow stronger and more confident -- so much more aware. It was unusual. I believe Seven of Nine was also affected."
"And most likely anyone else who has seen it."
"Agreed. Tuvok, where is Commander Chakotay?"
He touched controls again. "Chakotay is in the hydroponics lab and so are a large number of the crew, including Lieutenant Paris and Ensign Kim."
"Sickbay to the bridge," the Doctor interrupted.
"Captain, I have two more injured female crew and one badly beaten man. I need help down here."
"Do you know who..."
"It was Crewman Jeremy."
Janeway paced rapidly to her seat in the command area. "Tuvok, confine all the crew not on duty to decks one through five and lock down all the weapons stores. See to it personally." She withdrew her phaser and set it to heavy stun.
"I'm going to hydroponics."
B'Elanna Torres was there ahead of her. They had barricaded the door, but she fractured one man who was standing guard's kneecap, and the other fled inside. The arboretum area was crowded with people and all that she could see were male. Chakotay stepped in front of her blocking her way. On his wrist was a small brown owl.
"Where is Tom, Chakotay?"
The owl turned it's head and looked at her.
She jabbed her beak into the flesh of the bird clasped in her talons, tore off a dripping chunk and swallowed it whole. The hunt had been successful and now she enjoyed the spoils. She was on the holodeck, the simulation a Klingon training program. Two warriors attacked and she dispatched the first with a vicious blow that cut open his throat. The second she eviscerated. Triumphant, she raised the Bat'leth over her head and let out a battle cry.
"I told you the women would come to us," Crewman Jeremy pushed past Chakotay and circled around Torres.
"What do you want?" she hissed at him.
"Oh, I'll show you what I want!" he reached out to touch her, but she swatted his hand away. "That the way you want it to be? Just like Brooks."
"Stop it!" Chakotay said sharply. "It's not about that."
"What is what about? What's going on, and where is Tom?"
The owl spread it's wings and flew to the lower branch of a tree. Chakotay watched it go before answering. "Tom was injured. Harry just took him to sickbay."
Right then she began to feel very uncomfortable. The faces around her seemed much more closed now and hostile. She began to back up and ran into Jeremy. Immediately, he looped an arm around her neck and tried to hold her. She reacted, the image of the battle and her overwhelming desire to win so clear in her mind. Flipping him over her back she took his chin in one hand and snapped his neck.
The body fell at her feet.
Chakotay bent to help but the others began to close in on her. She turned and fled, knowing when she was outnumbered. The warrior would live to fight another day.
The turbolift door opened and Torres ran smack into Captain Janeway. She ignored the other woman, turning to the panel and touching a control to lock the door.
Janeway straightened her uniform and looked at the engineer. "What is going on?"
"You can't go down there. Something weird is happening."
Now that was an understatement.
"I know. Tell me what just happened." A loud thump hit the outside door.
"Jeremy attacked me. Chakotay was there, but he's acting ... I don't know ... he had this owl. It was sitting on his arm."
"Did you look at it?"
"Yes," her brows furrowed together and her look was confused. Then realization dawned. "Jeremy! I think I killed him!"
There was another very loud thump.
"Computer, lock off all turbolifts to this deck. Command code Janeway theta thirteen." Then she ordered the turbolift to take them to the bridge.
Janeway attached the phaser to her belt as she once again stepped onto the command deck. Tuvok spoke to her immediately.
"Captain, someone is trying to access top level systems from engineering."
Janeway nodded to Torres. "Lock them out. We can't allow them to get control of the ship."
"Who is them?"
She joined him at his security console. "Show me an infrared diagram of the hydroponics lab and surrounding deck space." Red dots appeared on the floor plan to indicate people. Most were still in the arboretum area, but smaller groups were gathered around the turbolift and Jefferies tube access. "Erect a level five force field around the entry to the Jefferies tube. I've locked out the turbolift already. That should keep them confined."
"None of these comm-badge signatures matches Commander Chakotay's." Tuvok played his hands over the console. "Ah, he is now in engineering."
Janeway thought for a minute. "Torres, how many women are on duty in engineering this shift?" From the corner of her eye she saw Tuvok raise a Vulcan eyebrow.
"Two, I think." Torres was busy. "They've gained partial control of engine systems."
Her fist struck the console hard. "Damn! Warp drive is going off-line."
Janeway's eyes went to the forward viewscreen as the rushing starfield slowed and became static points of light.
"Computer," she stood in the center of the bridge, hands on her hips. "Security override. Lock all systems to bridge control only. Command Code Janeway sixteen alpha three."
"That won't do it," Torres voice was tense. "They still have warp engines and impulse power systems."
"What do we have then?" Her eyes took in Tuvok and the officers at operations and the helm.
"Helm is on-line and responding. We are at full stop."
"Life support and internal power systems are nominal except for a surge in engineering."
Torres snorted before she added her own reply. "That's them. They've blown out the relay between the core and the initialization command circuit. We won't be going anywhere for a while."
"Tuvok. I want security force fields around all entrances to deck eleven." She strode toward him. "How many of the comm-badge signatures on that deck belong to women.?"
"Three. I do not understand your line of reasoning. Are the women on Voyager in danger, and from whom?"
She placed both hands firmly on the edge of his console. "I'm not sure Tuvok, but yes, I believe we are in danger from them."
"You are saying them again. Are you referring to the men on the ship?"
The Lieutenant at the helm turned to listen and Torres barked roughly at him to mind his post. Janeway glanced at her before answering.
"Yes, them. Everyone who has come in contact with the creature has been affected, but with Chakotay and the other men, their reaction has been adverse, violent. Like the violence on the other ship." She turned away from him, paced to the center of the bridge again. "You must continue to translate that dead ship's logs. We have to know what we are up against and how to stop them."
"I will, but I must bring to your attention the fact that your fear of the men on the ship has become," he paused for effect. "Irrational. You too have been exposed to the creature. You too might be reacting adversely."
It crossed her mind to wonder why he chose might instead of have and she would have asked, except for Torres who said roughly: "We're not running around attacking each other!"
"You are referring to the sexual assault of Ensign Brooks?" Tuvok inquired.
Her eyes opened very wide at that. "Rape? What man did it?" she was vehement.
"The man you killed."
Torres looked confused for a moment then spoke. "If I had known that, I would have killed him slower."
The female ensign manning the operations post sucked in a sharp breath and Janeway noticed the lieutenant at the helm was looking anywhere but at Torres.
"We will deal with that later."
"Ensign Kim, is there something you want?" Seven of Nine clicked off the dermal regenerator and moved on to the next patient.
Harry Kim was right behind her.
"Nothing really ... I..."
She levelled her gaze on him noticing his dishevelled appearance and nervous demeanor. "I doubt that you are acting rationally. You were in the hydroponics lab with the creature and therefore may be," she paused trying to temper her words, "unduly influenced."
Kim caught her arm roughly. "Don't call her that. She's not a creature--she's so much more than that. Chakotay knows, he understands." The words were pouring out of him. Seven moved to free her arm, but Harry persisted. "You can't be expected to know. It's beyond you. Beyond all of you, even the captain. But Chakotay will show her and all of you will see. Yeah, you'll see."
"Remove your hand from my arm-- now." Seven's eyes were dark. She had no idea what the Ensign was ranting about, and wanted no part of it. "If you do not want to provide a meaningful service to the Doctor, then you should leave." She took a step away but Kim was right in front of her.
"Always trying to blow me off, aren't you?" His voice lowered dangerously. "Telling me to take a hike. You never listen to me, you don't think I'm good enough!" He squeezed her hand even tighter and despite her control, Seven felt a bite of pain.
"Perhaps you are not good enough." With a sharp downward movement she freed her hand and stepped back away from him. "I do not know the point of this conversation and wish it terminated immediately."
"Oh, you know what it's all about," he was in her face again. "It's about me and you and unfinished business. I was trying to be nice to you and you would never even look at me."
The attention of every able person in sickbay was rivetted to this exchange. The Doctor loaded a hypospray.
"You could have been with me and now what? Tom says you're fucking the Captain." His voice was dripping with derision.
"That is nothing to you," Seven felt her throat tighten and her voice was strained. Kim had now backed her up against a biobed, but before he could force his physical advantage, the Doctor put the hypospray to his neck and injected it. He fell forward on Seven then slipped to the floor.
"Well, I guess that ends that little lover's quarrel." The Doctor smiled thinly.
ship's time oh-four-twenty-three hours
All the ship's crew had been accounted for and, except for the mixed group in sickbay, and three women in engineering. The men were on the lower decks and the women on the upper. Chakotay had attracted even more followers, having bypassed the force fields on deck eleven to allow them in. Now, with force fields reestablished and physical control of the ship split between engineering and the bridge, the situation was at a standstill.
Janeway paced in front of the command center, stopped, and regarded the ensign at Ops. "Open the shipboard comm-system again." The ensign touched a control and nodded to the captain.
"Bridge to engineering. Chakotay, do you hear me?"
There was a long pause and Janeway was ready to give up again, when the voice of the first officer sounded over the speakers.
"I hear you."
"You are acting irrationally. Relinquish control of the power systems now." She faced the front view screen, hands on hips, though there was no visual to see. "Something has affected your judgment. End this and we will get you and the others treatment."
"We don't need treatment," his voice was glacial. "I have a demand for you." There was a pause and Janeway looked at Torres. "We want you to hand over all ship's systems to us or Quinn, Dall and Gallagher will be killed."
The three women! Janeway bit her lip, hard.
"You would do this, Chakotay? To what end? What is going on in your head?"
"Nothing you could possibly understand," he snapped. "It's too far beyond you. This is about control."
"Control of the ship? I don't think so. That's not what this is at all. This is about power."
"Power," he scoffed. "You don't understand power! It's not for you to wield, not your place. It's ours and always should've been."
"Your place is in the brig, Chakotay," Torres jumped in.
"With you! Then we'd see whose neck gets broken." Chakotay returned.
Janeway was angry now; at Chakotay, for trying to wrest control of the ship from her rightful command, and for questioning her authority--the authority she felt so strongly here on the bridge of her ship. She felt her confidence swell again.
"Enough of this foolishness!" She stared hard at Torres and saw the lieutenant back down. "You will not issue demands to me. You will release those women now, Chakotay. Do you understand? Now."
Again there was a pause. "I will not negotiate, woman. You will do as I say or they die!"
"He has terminated the channel," the Ops ensign said unnecessarily.
Janeway paced. "Can you get a site-to-site transporter lock on the women?"
"No, Captain," she shook her head. "Site-to-site transport is off-line."
"Tuvok, can we flood the lower decks with enethrezine?"
"That would be difficult, as they have the same control over the environmental systems on those decks; as we have for decks one through five."
There did not seem to be many options. Janeway paced more, finally coming to a stop next to Torres at the Engineering position. "Do you have any suggestions, B'Elanna?"
"We should retake engineering by force," she was blunt. "We can do it, I'll lead the team."
Just what we need, a war. A war between two genders over power.
"Captain, I believe you are forgetting the obvious," Tuvok's voice was calm.
"What is that, Mr. Tuvok?"
"You can't want me to harm it!" Janeway was stricken.
"From what I have read in the logs of the ship we encountered, I do not believe it is a creature at all. At least not a living being within our parameters."
"Continue," the Captain crossed the bridge to stand close to him.
"In these logs it is always referred to as a "totem". They believe it possesses power; power that can be conferred on whomever possesses it. That power would appear to have been beyond the control of the aliens on the dead ship and beyond our control as well."
"It didn't affect me like that?"
"No, Captain, it did not. But you were affected," his right eyebrow raised slightly. "It is my belief the totem has a very different effect on each person who comes in contact with it. That effect is personal to each individual, but along the lines of gender, the difference is striking."
"Chakotay's yearning for power, and the violence to which he will go to get it?"
Tuvok nodded. "There is only one solution. We must destroy the totem before it causes Voyager to be torn apart."