Table of Contents


CH 1 - Second Thoughts

CH 2 - The Real Thing

CH 3 - Philosophical Discussions

CH 4 - Vulcan

CH 5 - Communications

CH 6 - Homebound

CH 7 - Falling Star

CH 8 - Safe Haven

CH 9 - Autumn













































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































Other J/7 Stories by Enginerd

Chapter 7 – Falling Star

As their hovercar got closer to the farmhouse, Seven grew tense; transportation records confirmed Kathryn Janeway had returned to her Indiana home.  Without a word, Gretchen placed a hand on hers and squeezed, offering a warm smile that served to help ease her nerves.

The three women exited their hovercar and curiously looked around, not seeing any signs of Kathryn.  As they entered the farmhouse, Gretchen called out “Kathryn?”

With no response, Gretchen sighed and climbed the stairs with Seven and Phoebe in tow.  Entering Kathryn’s childhood room, they all stared at the disturbing sight of a uniform, sans comm badge and pips, on the bed. 

Seven slowly approached the bed, tracing her fingers over the fabric.  Her sorrow swelled knowing that even while distraught, Kathryn cared enough to fold it neatly, with respect.

“Where would she go?” Seven said softly, looking up at Phoebe and Gretchen.          

“She likes to go for walks when she’s upset,” Gretchen said and added with a frown, “she could be practically anywhere.”

“I’d bet she’d go to the pond, about a half-mile from here,” Phoebe said, squeezing Seven’s arm.  “She would rarely miss a night of stargazing growing up.”

“What about the creek by the Johnson’s farm?  That was another favorite,” Gretchen offered.

Seven nodded.  “I will find her,” she said confidently and started to leave.

“I will go with you,” Phoebe said with determination, following Seven.

Seven stopped.  “Phoebe, I can cover more territory alone.”

“She’s right, Phoebe,” Gretchen quickly interjected, preventing Phoebe’s ready protest.  “And she needs to talk with her.”

Phoebe sighed unhappily and reluctantly nodded.  “Just . . . let her know she’s not alone,” Phoebe said, looking at Seven expectantly. 

Seven looked at Kathryn’s sister.  “We are of the same mind, Phoebe Janeway,” she said, prompting a smile from the youngest Janeway.  


She sat on an old fallen oak, looking up to gaze at the moonlit sky as she had done almost nightly as a young girl in Indiana.  The stars had always beckoned to her, tempting her with mysteries to solve, worlds to discover, life forms to meet.  She relished listening to the stories her father told when he returned home on leave, wishing she too could escape her Traditionalist life for adventures like his. 

Yet the memories of that Traditionalist life and her family were what she drew upon to give her strength and comfort when she was living that great adventure.  Looking up at the sky, she spotted what a seven-year old Phoebe had excitedly declared a falling star the first time Kathryn let her go stargazing with her.  She recalled having to let Phoebe down that she didn’t get her wish because it was only the reflection off of McKinley Station.  Phoebe’s great disappointment at losing out on a wish was quickly replaced by panic until Kathryn patiently explained that it was in orbit, not crashing down to Earth.  Phoebe grew depressed again about her missed wish.

“You OK?”  Kathryn asked with concern at the frown that seemed to be permanently fixed to her younger sister’s face since the McKinley Station incident earlier that evening.

Phoebe shrugged, sitting at the kitchen table, staring at the blank pad of paper next to her colored pencils.

“So what’s got you so down, Phoebs?” Kathryn asked, sitting on the stool next to her.

“You’ll think I’m stupid,” Phoebe said in a huff.

“No more than usual, I promise,” Kathryn joked.


Kathryn sighed heavily at her sensitive sister.  “Come on, tell me.”

Phoebe looked at her a suspicious moment before telling her.  “Why can we only make a wish on falling stars?  I mean, why can’t I make a wish on the McKinley Station?  Then I could have a wish almost every day,” Phoebe complained.

“Technically every 0.86 days,” Kathryn offered.

Phoebe exhaled with frustration.  “Why are you bothering me?  Don’t you have some more math or science homework to do??”

Kathryn rolled her eyes at how hard it was to talk to her emotional sister.  “What would you wish for?”

“I can’t tell you that,” Phoebe said with concern.

“It’s not like birthday wishes.  Come on.  Tell me.”


“Fine,” Kathryn said, shaking her head, starting to get up.


Kathryn looked at her and sighed, sitting back down.

“Draw with me?  Just for a few minutes?” She said uneasily, ripping some paper from her pad and sliding it towards Kathryn with a pencil.

Kathryn cringed, staring at the paper and pencil, making no move to take it.

“Come on.  Afraid?” Phoebe challenged.

“No,” Kathryn said with irritation.  “But I’m not good at drawing,” Kathryn said with a wince.

“I know,” she said with an amused giggle.  Noting her sister frowning, she groaned.  “Kathryn!  You don’t have to be a Rembrandt or a Phoebe Janeway to have fun,” she lectured her older sister. 

Kathryn eyed her unusually persistent sister.  “What a relief.”

“And artistic expression is good for the soul,” the young artist added sagely. 

“If you say so,” Kathryn moaned and picked up the pencil, bringing a smile of satisfaction to Phoebe’s face.

After a few minutes, a bad representation of the McKinley Station appeared on Kathryn’s paper.

Phoebe inspected Kathryn’s work and dramatically moaned as she shook her head with disappointment.


“A space station?”

“I didn’t know there were rules on what I’m allowed to draw.”

“Bor – ing,” Phoebe said in a sing-song voice.

“Well you know, extensive studies have shown that there is only enough genetic material from a couple for one artistic child in a family,” Kathryn said seriously.

“Really?” Phoebe asked with surprise.

“Gull –ible,” Kathryn said in a sing-song voice, making Phoebe cringe self-consciously.  Phoebe always felt inadequate around Kathryn, who realized Phoebe was really hurt by her comment.

“Fine – give me another sheet and I’ll try something less boring.  But just remember, I’m no Phoebe Janeway,” she said with a belabored sigh.

The big smile on Phoebe’s face made it worth enduring the continued barbs on her lack of talent.  And to her surprise, she actually had fun….

Kathryn watched the faux falling star and made a wish before it disappeared over the horizon.  What did she have to lose?  With a resigned sigh, Kathryn stood and stretched her back.  She stopped, feeling someone watching her.  “Phoebe?” She called out, scanning the area.


Kathryn froze hearing the soft voice, which washed over her as a dark silhouette emerged from the shadows and stepped into the moonlight.  Her golden hair and silver biosuit shimmered with breath-taking radiance.    

Seven was startled by the careworn appearance of Kathryn, who had never looked so beaten down - not even in the Delta Quadrant.  It was unnerving to see how different she appeared from the last time they had visited Kathryn’s childhood home, where she was so relaxed and happy.  Seven yearned to pull the haggard woman into her arms and share the burden that was so evidently borne.  But she knew the barrier she had to overcome was not physical; it was Kathryn’s misapplied nobility and guilt.  She knew it was a battle of wills she needed to win.

“You came,” Kathryn said with bewilderment, staring at the beautiful vision before her.  Had her wish been granted . . . or was she hallucinating?  Perhaps Nechayev’s Marillian psychosis was contagious, she thought.

“I needed to,” Seven responded softly, slowly approaching Kathryn.  “I needed to apologize.  I needed to know that you are all right.  I needed to know . . . whether you need me as much as I need you,” Seven said nervously and carefully watched Kathryn’s face.  The normally frustrating command mask, which concealed her reactions, was gone now, perhaps lost to fatigue.  Now Seven could see the internal struggle clearly reflected on her face.  The fact there was a struggle gave Seven hope.

Kathryn weakly shook her head, unable to respond.  Her emotions were in turmoil; it was a familiar battle between her heart and her uncompromising principles, which made her reject any thoughts of interfering with her friends’ choices.  If she responded now, she would be unable to remain neutral, unable to continue standing aside, unable to keep from admitting what she had been refusing herself all along.  If she answered now, she wouldn’t be able to skillfully avoid answering what was really in her heart – that she had never needed anyone more than she needed Seven. 

Her silent need became a weight she could no longer bear; Kathryn slid back down onto the felled oak in defeat.

Seven took a fortifying breath and approached. 

When Seven knelt before her and searched her eyes, it startled Kathryn, who was reminded of their encounter on the Delta Flyer, when a fleeing Seven had a head full of conspiracy theories, when she could not let her leave thinking they . . . SHE . . . would ever harm her; when she simply could not let her leave.  So she beamed aboard, alone, even though Chakotay had wanted to join her.  But she knew then that she alone had the best chance of overcoming the younger woman’s fear.  When she heard Seven’s wild theories, she countered with logic and examples of their friendship.  Examples she had easily recited because she thought of them often; they meant everything to her.  She had asked Seven to once again trust her and she did; Seven came home.

But not to her. 

Kathryn desperately wanted to flee now, vaguely acknowledging the parallels to that troubling incident.  Seven had feared getting physically dissected and she feared getting emotionally dissected.  And she was almost too weak to resist.  Her gaze darted around nervously until it finally settled upon Seven, who patiently waited for Kathryn’s undivided attention.

“I am not adept with relationships or emotions,” Seven acknowledged with regret.  “I let my . . . insecurities cloud my judgment,” the proud woman admitted with difficulty.  “I made an erroneous conclusion about your motivations.  I felt small and irrelevant to you - so I lashed out; I . . . injured you.” she said with a pained wince.  “Please forgive me.”

“There’s nothing to forgive,” Kathryn quickly responded with surprise.  “I betrayed your trust – I hurt you,” she whispered sorrowfully.

Seven shook her head in frustration, wanting to argue that her trust was never betrayed but would not be distracted from her objective.

“I was told that love does not protect us from injury,” Seven offered instead, causing Kathryn’s eyes to widen with panic with the discussion shifting to love.

“And I have learned that love can amplify the injury.  But I understand that love has extraordinary healing powers and I greatly desire to test that theory.  However, I require your participation.  Please, Kathryn,” Seven said imploringly, searching her eyes.

“Love….” Kathryn whispered, stunned by Seven’s insight and unsure of her request. 

“I love you, Kathryn Janeway,” Seven said sincerely.

Kathryn blinked, from the look in Seven’s eyes she knew that this was not the kind of love she could dismiss as love for a sister or friend; it was a look she both desired and feared to see.  “But . . . Chakotay,” Kathryn said helplessly, seriously wondering if Nechayev’s delusions were contagious.

“I am no longer in a relationship with Chakotay,” Seven offered, encouraged by the absence of an outright rejection.  

Kathryn stared at her as if not quite understanding.  Her confusion melted into irritation when she asked: “What did he do?”

Seven looked at Kathryn, buoyed by her ever-present protective streak.  Kathryn had always been her champion, in spite of the crew’s initial mistrust and the repeated danger posed by the Queen because of her presence.  Kathryn had always demonstrated great faith in her, even when Seven didn’t have faith in herself.  Now she needed to encourage Kathryn to have faith in them.

“The question should be - what did he not do,” Seven countered thoughtfully, clearly piquing Kathryn’s curiosity.  “He did not . . . ,” Seven paused, searching for the appropriate words and smiled slightly, recalling Gretchen’s words.  “. . . complement me.”

Kathryn cringed in confusion, having recalled Chakotay telling people she was beau….

“He did not try to help me become better,” Seven continued, causing Kathryn’s gaze to drop with embarrassment knowing she should have known better - Seven would not consider that relevant.

“He did not inspire me to want to be better.” Seven said softly, looking at Kathryn, whose gaze returned to meet hers. 

“He was never comfortable with my implants, or being with me in public or with his family.”  Seven noted the irritation that comment provoked and was warmed by her continued protective nature.

“He was never able to provoke my anger . . . or any other strong emotion.  He did not make my heart soar,” Seven offered, prompting a wince from Kathryn, who believed Seven deserved all of those things.

“When I realized these things were essential, I could not remain in a relationship with him.  And I also realized there was someone else who already fulfills those needs.  You,” Seven said with conviction and looked imploringly into Kathryn’s uncertain eyes.  “I am asking you to trust me that I understand love and that I love you.  Please, trust me with your heart, Kathryn.”

When Kathryn looked deeply into her eyes, Seven saw no traces of conflict, no unease, just an honest amazement, causing her hope to swell.  No longer able to resist, and no longer wanting to, Kathryn finally reached out and touched her face, gently bushing her fingers over her ocular implant and down her cheek, almost needing to make sure Seven was really there.  The shudder of pleasure the tender caress provoked surprised Seven with its intensity.

“You already have it, my love,” Kathryn whispered, continuing to indulge in touching the previously untouchable, reverently cupping her beautiful face. 

A beautiful smile bloomed on Seven’s face. 

The responding smile on Kathryn’s face faltered and she retracted her hand.

“What is wrong?” Seven asked with concern.

“You need to know what I did to Admiral Nechayev,” Kathryn said uneasily, her gaze dropping in shame.

Seven frowned and moved to sit next to her on the felled log.  “Was that what prompted you to resign from Starfleet?” Seven asked, taking Kathryn’s hand in hers.

“How . . .?” Kathryn asked, dumbfounded.

“When we learned that you left headquarters without your comm badge and pips, your mother accessed Starfleet Headquarters’ security cameras.  We heard your conversation with Admiral Paris in the corridor.  However, we did not find any records of your hearing.”

“Oh they exist,” Kathryn countered, shaking her head with disgust.

“What made you resign?” Seven asked gently, squeezing Kathryn’s hand.  Seven had never considered Kathryn Janeway would ever leave Starfleet, which had meant so much to the older woman.

Kathryn’s head dropped guiltily.  “Nechayev had always managed to explain away her decisions . . . in spite of the casualties, in spite of how poor they seemed to those very few who actually scrutinized her actions.  But no one wanted to - she was a widow of a hero of Wolff 539 and selflessly continued to carry out her duty; those in her command were fiercely loyal and Starfleet desperately needed and still needs experienced officers.  So they continued to ignore her . . . idiosyncrasies,” Kathryn said.

Seven had several questions but remained silent, not wanting to interrupt Kathryn’s explanation.

“. . . except for Admirals Paris and Stockdale.  They thought she was becoming a liability – too dangerous to remain in her current position.  They had hoped I would be able to make her show the other Admirals first-hand what they had been ignoring – her paranoia, her poor judgment.  They hoped they would conclude she was not the officer she once was and that she was dangerous in her current position.  Little did I know how successful I would be,” Kathryn admitted derisively, retracting her hand from Seven’s, making Seven sigh heavily at the withdrawal.

Kathryn fell silent for a long time, making Seven wonder if she intended to continue.  When Kathryn looked at her, Seven’s heart clenched with sympathy.  She could see the clear distress and guilt in her eyes.

“Tell me,” Seven encouraged softly, gaining an uneasy nod as Kathryn glanced to the ground.

“I had been walking the fine line between respect and insubordination; my comments were intended to provoke and they did.  She responded with outrageous comments, offering her wild suspicions and suggesting less than honorable motives, in spite of the evidence and testimony.”

“It was clear none of the board agreed with her positions - the Doctor obtained his sentient being status, the Maquis were dismissed, and you were ultimately endorsed.  But each time, she regrouped and fought the next battle,” Kathryn said, with begrudging respect that faded into frustration.  “And they let her.  I never got any indication that they thought her behavior was unusual or would ever come to the same conclusion Paris and Stockdale had – that she was a danger in her current position.”

“This morning, she was the most aggressive I’d seen, relentlessly challenging every decision, challenging my motives and integrity.  I didn’t think she would ever do anything to prompt Starfleet to take action, but she did have valid points.  I have made many poor choices,” Kathryn admitted thoughtfully, making Seven frown at the resignation in her voice.

“This was after I had incorrectly accused you of manipulating me?” Seven asked, distressed she had helped cause Kathryn to second-guess her command decisions.

“But you were right,” Kathryn said softly.

Seven took a long breath before answering carefully.  “It is apparent we have more to discuss about that, but I wish to know more about your encounter with Nechayev and your reasons for resigning.  Please, Kathryn.”

Kathryn looked at her an uneasy moment before reluctantly nodding, finding herself unable to deny the young woman.

“We took a lunch break.  I was more than ready for it; the morning was brutal. Outside, I ran into Chakotay; he had been waiting outside for me.  I was happy to finally see a friendly face,” she said with a small shrug, making Seven wish she had been there as she had greatly desired.  “We had lunch, then I returned to the hearing.  I was . . . angry,” Kathryn said, her gaze fixed once again at the ground.

Seven struggled but refrained from questioning Kathryn about their lunch conversation, knowing she needed to set her own pace.

With no further words forthcoming, Seven gently prompted “you were angry when you returned to the hearing?”  Kathryn nodded and sighed heavily.

Kathryn stood up from the log and started to pace as she continued. “Yes, I was angry: angry that I had failed you, angry that he did not understand how to treat you right, angry I had returned from the Delta Quadrant and had to put up with these goddamned hearings!  I made mistakes and I admitted them!  Who the hell did they think they were to question my integrity?!?” Kathryn spat with annoyance, clenching her fists.

“And I focused all that anger on Nechayev.  I knew . . . I knew what would hurt her and I wanted to,” Kathryn said with self-loathing.  “I crossed the line, Seven.  I was . . . cruel,” she said with disgust, her heart heavy with shame.  “When she challenged me about my surprising alliance with the Borg and relationships with you, the children . . . One . . . , I suggested that if Starfleet had been more open to an alliance before, they may have been able to avoid the defeat of Wolf 539 and all those meaningless deaths, including her husband’s.  With that ridiculous assertion, she stormed towards the doors. . . .” Kathryn said and fell silent.

“What happened?”

Kathryn shook her head at the memory, rubbing the back of her neck.  “I thought she was too disgusted with my comment to continue and was done for the day; but she stopped and grabbed the security guard’s phaser.  As the guards tried to restrain her, she was screaming wild accusations - that I was a threat, planning a Borg invasion under the guise of diplomacy - that I was under the control of the Borg.  She got off two shots before the guards finally subdued her,” Kathryn said with a frown and laughed humorlessly, adding “I guess I should be glad she missed.”

Seven took in a startled breath at the unexpected danger Kathryn had been in.  After an uneasy moment, Seven collected her thoughts and stood next to Kathryn, whose gaze dropped to the ground.

“The woman loved her husband and had suffered a great loss,” Kathryn said, tears in her eyes.  “I let my anger undermine my principles - I acted no better than a Cardassian Jailor,” she spat.  “I wanted to see her hurt,” Kathryn admitted miserably.  “And they wanted to give me a promotion for it!” Kathryn said incredulously, shaking her head and wiping the tears from her cheek.  “What has happened to the Starfleet I knew?  What happened to the Kathryn Janeway I knew??”  Kathryn looked at Seven, lost.

“No one and no organization is infallible.  The Borg have always thought Starfleet was inefficient and error prone, allowing policy and action to be driven by unpredictable, imperfect individuals.  That much has not changed,” Seven said confidently.  “As for Kathryn Janeway - she has endured too much for too long.  And as would be expected, there are limits to her endurance.  I would conclude that it was not only Admiral Nechayev who had been pushed too far today.”

“But she had an excuse for her behavior,” Kathryn responded weakly, her eyes watering.

Seven frowned, not knowing what to say to ease Kathryn’s burden.  She reached out and placed a hand on Kathryn’s back, wishing she could take the pain away.  Thankfully, Kathryn did not reject the touch; she sought it, surprising Seven when she stepped into an embrace and quietly wept.

“You will eventually find peace with this, Kathryn,” Seven softly offered, vowing to do everything she could to make that true.


“My god, word gets around fast,” Phoebe said returning from the communications console to the kitchen.

“Who was that this time, dear?” Gretchen said, grabbing a small dollop of dough from the bowl and rolling it into a ball, before placing it onto the cookie sheet.

“Tom and B’Elanna.  Like everyone else, they were trying to see if the rumor was true.  His father is apparently still in meetings with the other Admirals and he couldn’t get any answers from him,” Phoebe said, sitting at the kitchen counter.

“Not surprising,” Gretchen said, grabbing another dollop of dough from the bowl.

“Maybe I should send out a general missive “no – they didn’t take her pips, she resigned, no - we don’t know why the hell she did” – it would be more efficient,” Phoebe complained.

“You will let me edit it for you, won’t you dear?” Gretchen said with a slight smile, getting a frown. 

“Sorry,” Phoebe groused irritably.  “Ugh!” Phoebe groaned when the communications terminal tweeped again.

“I’ll get it dear.  Please put the cookies in the oven?” Gretchen said as she went to the console as Phoebe did as requested.

“Hello,” Gretchen said, seeing a young girl on the screen.

“Mrs. Janeway,” she said with an uneasy smile.

“Naomi Wildman,” Gretchen said with a knowing smile.  “Isn’t it past your bed time?”

The girl squirmed in her seat.  “I . . . yes.  But I tried to contact the Captain before my bedtime but your console was busy,” she said with a bit of impatience slipping through.

“I understand, dear.  There have been several calls to find out what has happened.  I suppose the Captain’s assistant is also curious?”

“Yes, Ma’am.  Is the Captain all right?” she asked with concern.

“We’re not sure yet, dear.  She went out for a walk,” she offered. 

“The Captain walks when she is upset,” Naomi said with a thoughtful frown.

“Yes, she does,” Gretchen said.  “Seven went to find her.”

“Good,” Naomi exhaled with great relief.  “Seven will know how to help,” she said confidently. 

“I think you’re right,” Gretchen said warmly. 

“Naomi?” Samantha called, causing the young girl to cringe. 

“Coming!” She shouted over her shoulder and looked back at an amused Gretchen with a sheepish wince.  “Uh, sorry, Mrs. Janeway,” she said and explained.  “I’ve got to get to bed.  Could you tell the Captain, I . . . I want to help too?”

“Of course I will.  And thank you, Naomi.  I am grateful my daughter has friends like you,” Gretchen said with a smile, causing the young girl to beam.

“Naomi!!  I’m not going to tell you again!” Samantha called from the background.

Naomi cringed then surprisingly sat straight and took on a formal air. “Good night, Mrs. Janeway.  It has been a pleasure talking with you,” she said in a tone and manner that mimicked a former Borg drone they knew.

“Good night, Naomi.  It has been a pleasure talking with you.”

When the screen went blank, Gretchen chuckled to herself, touched by the young girl.  She had never believed Kathryn cared much for children, yet her stories about the girl she made her Captain’s assistant and Naomi’s clear concern for her Captain gave Gretchen hope; perhaps Kathryn did indeed have a maternal instinct and might yet give her the grandchildren she had always wanted.

The communication console tweeped again, causing the older woman to sigh and establish a link.

Her brows rose with surprise, finding Tuvok.  “Tuvok!  My, rumors do travel the speed of light,” she said with surprise.

“Mrs. Janeway,” he greeted her.  “I do not believe Seven’s . . . appropriation of the experimental craft to be a rumor.  Her access code was used to initiate the startup sequence.”

“Oh . . . that,” Gretchen said uneasily.  “I suppose you didn’t get her note?” she said with a wince.

“She left a note?”

“She didn’t?” Gretchen responded innocently. 

“Not that I am aware,” Tuvok stated. 

“Imagine that.  Well, in any event, she did manage to eliminate 99.785% of the navigational instabilities with the last test run to Earth.  The sinusoidal phase shift coefficient needed a slight tweak with an inverse orthogonal harmonic factor,” she relayed confidently with an easy smile.  “She actually tried just an orthogonal harmonic factor first, which unfortunately compounded the problem.  However, using the inverse, we managed to still get to Earth in an impressive time.”

“I . . . see.  I will relay that to Dr. To Pak.  He will be pleased with her . . . industriousness.”

“I would hope so,” she said with a smile.

“When to you anticipate Seven’s . . . testing . . . of the craft to conclude?”

“I . . . don’t know yet.”

“Is the uncertainty related to the rumor you mentioned?”

“I’m afraid so,” Gretchen answered.

Chapter 8 – Safe Haven


“Mom? Phoebs?” Kathryn said as she entered the house with Seven. 

“Thank God,” Gretchen exhaled quietly, quickly wiping her hands on a dishtowel and emerging from the kitchen after having made her fifth batch of cookies.

Phoebe hovered behind with a relieved smile, seeing Kathryn and Seven’s hands clasped.  It was about damn time.

“Seven said you saw my conversation with Owen,” Kathryn bit the bullet with an uneasy wince as Gretchen walked up to her and took her eldest in her arms.  Kathryn readily returned her hug.

“An unfortunate situation for everyone, Kathryn,” Gretchen said with a heavy sigh as she stepped back and lovingly caressed her daughter’s cheek.  “But remember, if you hadn’t been the catalyst, as troubling as that was for you, Alynna might not be getting the help she needs and lives would still be at risk,” Gretchen said, squeezing Kathryn’s shoulder firmly and looking pointedly into Kathryn’s eyes.

Seven observed with fascination how focused Kathryn was on her mother and her words.  Having been the beneficiary of the older woman’s counsel before, she understood its value.  It was once again potent, managing to release some of the tension in Kathryn’s shoulders.  While she knew Kathryn was not yet at peace with her actions, she was on her way to accepting them.

“Of course that doesn’t let Owen or Daniel off the hook with me for putting you in that position in the first place,” she said curtly. 

“But I agreed,” Kathryn countered quietly, her gaze dropping in guilt.  “If you’ll excuse me, I’m . . . going to get ready for bed,” she said absently and quickly climbed the stairs to her room.

Seven watched Kathryn’s retreat with concern.  Gretchen placed a gentle hand on her shoulder.

“What the hell?” Phoebe blurted in confusion.

“Phoebe,” Gretchen sighed.


The bedroom door was left ajar and Seven could see Kathryn buttoning her pajama top.  She knocked softly.  Kathryn came to the door, fully opening it and stepping back, looking at Seven then inquisitively at her tray.

“Your mother suggested some milk and cookies,” Seven said, entering the room.

Kathryn took a breath to respond but Seven continued with a raised ocular implant.
“She said you can brush your teeth again.”

“I’m really not hungry,” she said with a wince, but got an enticing whiff of the offering as Seven entered the room.  “Is that chocolate and butterscotch chip?”

“She said they were your favorite cookie.  There are several batches,” Seven said, setting the tray down on the nightstand.

Kathryn sighed and sat on the edge of the bed.  “She bakes when she worries.”

“She also bakes because she knows you enjoy the results,” Seven responded, standing before Kathryn and holding out a glass of milk and small plate containing a cookie.  “She suspects you did not get dinner.  However, while I suggested I bring you something more substantial, your mother insisted on this,” she said, glancing at the cookie.  “I value her opinion and will defer to her belief in the healing properties of comfort food.”

“Not a very logical belief,” she said softly, taking the milk and cookie off the plate.

“On the contrary.  If there is a positive emotional memory associated with the food, it is logical that subsequent introduction to that food can provoke that memory and similar emotions,” Seven said, returning the plate to the tray.  She picked up a cookie for herself and inspected it.  After a small sample, which had exceptional flavoring, she contemplated how to best program a replicator to enhance its nutrition while maintaining its taste.

“And if that food is used to comfort after repeated unpleasant events?  Wouldn’t it be logical to conclude that the food would then become associated with bad memories?” Kathryn challenged and sipped her milk.

Seven eyed her a moment.  “Is that the case now?” she countered.

Kathryn looked at her and a small smile emerged, knowing she enjoyed debating Seven . . . sometimes too much.  “No.  I don’t think Mom’s cooking could ever be associated with anything bad,” she offered and took another bite, followed by a sip of milk.

Seven sat down next to Kathryn.  “Your mother said she had placed a night shirt in your room for me,” she said, gaining a surprised look and a small cough. 

“If you prefer, I could stay in the guest room,” Seven said with a wince of hurt.

Kathryn looked at her and gently shook her head as she cleared her throat.  “I was just surprised by Mom’s presumption.  I would prefer you stay,” she said, pleasing Seven.

“Your mother is aware of our feelings for each other,” Seven said.  “We have had several informative conversations on relationships and love.”

Kathryn blinked, a bit uneasy with that disclosure.  “I . . . see.”

“Thank you for sending her to accompany me.  She has helped me understand my feelings for you.  I have greatly benefited by spending time with her.”

“Something tells me, so have I,” Kathryn said warmly, then frowned glancing at the bed.  “Where is your regeneration unit?”

“It is downstairs.  However, I do not require regeneration for another 41.3 hours.” 

“Ah,” Kathryn said, feeling a little nervous.

“However, if we are to share a bed while I regenerate, I will need to reduce the size of the portable unit.  I will request B’Elanna and the Doctor’s help in the morning.”

Kathryn blinked, feeling like she was in some dream.  

“You are still uneasy with the thought of us sharing a bed,” Seven concluded with concern.

“No, no.  I suppose I’m . . . overwhelmed by everything,” Kathryn said with honest bewilderment.  “When I woke this morning I never expected you would be speaking to me again, let alone sharing a bed with me.”

“I am sorry for hurting you.  I . . . ,” Seven said worriedly but found Kathryn’s lips on hers.  It was a whisper of a kiss at first, growing into a tender promise of things to come before Kathryn pulled back.

“Water under the bridge,” Kathryn said with a small smile.

Seven blinked, having found the all too-brief intimacy extremely . . . distracting.  She curiously eyed Kathryn with a raised optical implant.  “Is that the tactic you plan to employ anytime you wish to stop me from speaking?”

“Well, it is effective, isn’t it?” Kathryn countered with amusement.

“To date, you have had 100% success in implementing it,” Seven acknowledged.

Kathryn smiled with satisfaction, then could not help but yawn.  She frowned and shook her head with irritation.

“What is wrong?”

Kathryn laughed weakly.  “I finally have the woman of my dreams on my bed and I am too exhausted to take full advantage of the situation,” she grumbled.

Seven reached out and tenderly caressed Kathryn’s cheek, finding she enjoyed the tactile indulgence.  “It is prudent to get your rest.  You will need endurance when we consummate our relationship,” Seven said with mirth in her eyes.  


After brushing her teeth, again, Kathryn entered her childhood room.  She stopped abruptly, seeing Seven sitting on the bed, in a thigh-length night shirt, taking down her French twist.  With a small toss of her head, her hair spilled out of its rigidly efficient confinement. 

Kathryn had always appreciated Seven’s striking beauty, and yes, her generous curves that her biosuit tightly embraced, leaving little to the imagination.  She had also admired the woman’s exacting manner, which at first glance could be construed as arrogance and pride.  There was that, of course.  But Kathryn knew it was mostly because of her impressive intellect that put others to shame and demanded the best data to reach the best solution. 

But that simple nightshirt and softer hairstyle reminded Kathryn that beneath the rigid and impressive exterior was a woman - Annika - a woman who really was like the rest of the mere mortals whom she walked among, a woman with clearly impressive strengths, yet a woman with very human vulnerabilities.  Kathryn’s gaze greedily fell upon the exposed flesh she had not had the privilege of seeing until now.  Before tonight, she could not have imagined desiring Seven more.  And now, she realized her imagination had been sorely limited.

Seven turned towards Kathryn, immediately growing uneasy under her intense scrutiny that focused on her bare legs.  She looked down at herself, self-consciously covering the implant above her knee; one of several that the biosuit had covered.

“Don’t,” Kathryn whispered and sat next to her.  “You are very beautiful, Seven.  All of you,” she said, taking her meshed hand in hers and cupping her cheek.  Slowly, she leaned in and kissed her, pouring her heart and soul into it. 

Seven was amazed by the sensations a simple kiss had stirred within her, from the tingle that washed over her skin to the tugging at her sex.  As Kathryn pulled back, Seven silently amended that it was not simple.  Wanting more, Seven slipped her hand behind Kathryn’s neck and pulled her back.  Not simple at all, she reconsidered as their mouths once again merged, not in a battle for dominance, but a sensuous dance that clearly communicated their love and want. 

Seven sucked in a startled breath when Kathryn placed her hand on the thigh implant and caressed it.

“I’m sorry,” Kathryn husked with concern, quickly retracting her hand.

“Don’t be.” Seven said, her breathing unsteady as she placed Kathryn’s hand back over the implant.

“Oh,” Kathryn said, a pleased smile emerging.  She was looking forward to finding all of Seven’s sensitive spots.  She was an explorer, after all.

“I did not anticipate such a strong reaction to your touch,” Seven said. 

“I know what you mean,” Kathryn said wryly.  

“Perhaps we should cease,” Seven said uncomfortably, really not wanting to.  “You stated you were tired and . . . ,” she continued but was successfully interrupted by another kiss, which she immediately responded to.

“Interestingly . . . I’m no longer tired,” Kathryn said, her voice heavy with desire, looking at her with clear want.  Seven filed away that look to analyze later, for it was almost as arousing as her caresses.

Silently, Seven reached for Kathryn’s pajama top and unbuttoned a single button.  Seeing that want and feeling Kathryn’s continued caress upon her thigh in silent encouragement, she unbuttoned another button and another.  She had not anticipated how nervous she would be, willing her hands not to tremble as they slipped Kathryn’s top off her shoulders, revealing her breasts and erect nipples.  She had not been nervous with….

“Seven, darling, we don’t have to do anything tonight.  There’s no ru . . . ,” Kathryn said, interrupted by an urgent kiss that made her moan.

When Seven pulled back, Kathryn felt a bit light headed.  “I suppose you disagree,” she said with a small chuckle that faded when Seven stood and quickly discarded her nightshirt. 

Good God, Kathryn thought as she gazed upon the beautiful, naked woman, who extended a hand towards her.  Kathryn blinked; once her brain started functioning again, she responded, taking the hand and being guided to stand. 

Slowly, Seven knelt, pulling down Kathryn’s pajama bottoms and underwear, kissing and tasting the newly exposed hip and thigh.

“Oh God,” Kathryn moaned.

“You are aroused,” Seven said with satisfaction, taking in Kathryn’s heady scent.

“God Yesss,” Kathryn acknowledged in a hiss as Seven’s hands glided over her skin as she stood. 

Kathryn almost came when Seven pulled her into a firm embrace and hardened nipples pressed into her.  

“Kathryn,” Seven exhaled with need before their mouths once again merged. 

Kathryn moaned into the kiss, her hands eagerly exploring the expanse of Seven’s back.

With a surprisingly sudden move, Kathryn found herself back on the bed looking up at a pleased Seven, whose leg nestled between Kathryn’s. 

Kathryn almost chuckled with amusement but sucked in a breath as Seven shifted her thigh to increase the intimate contact.

“You are not the only one aroused,” Seven said with a smile and kissed Kathryn’s neck and shoulder.  Seven took Kathryn’s hand.  “Feel what you do to me, Kathryn,” she whispered, pulling her hand between her legs.

“Seven,” Kathryn exhaled and found her fingers soaking as they glided over her sex.

“More,” Seven said, mimicking Kathryn’s motions, her hand caressing aroused flesh.

“Yes,” Kathryn hissed, also needing more.  “Inside,” Kathryn said looking into Seven’s eyes. 

Seven had never imagined how intoxicating it would be to have her Captain beneath her, physically needing her.  She never could have imagined how exhilarating it was to love someone and express it on such a primal level. 

“Together,” Seven said, sliding her fingers into the warm wetness as Kathryn entered her.  “Oh,” she moaned as Kathryn found that perfect spot. 

Kathryn was at the brink and clung to Seven tightly as she managed to continue her intimate attentions to Seven.  “Oh Seven,” she moaned as she climaxed.

Kathryn’s husky voice calling her name pushed Seven over the edge.  Her body convulsed with pleasure as Kathryn continued thrusting.  “Yesss,” she hissed, feeling her arousal building.

Kathryn rolled them so Seven was on her back. “So, so beautiful,” she said reverently before kissing her and bringing her to another climax.

After riding out the wave of pleasure, Kathryn withdrew her hand and kissed Seven tenderly.  “Thank you, my love.  Thank you,” she said, kissing Seven again.

“It was my pleasure,” she responded politely, though happiness and mirth sparkled in her eyes.  Kathryn chuckled.

“And mine,” she responded with a smile, and kissed her shoulder.

“I knew you would be an exceptional lover,” Seven offered contentedly, tracing her fingers lazily over Kathryn’s back, enjoying the sensation of Kathryn’s lips and tongue kissing her and soft flesh beneath her fingertips.

“Is that so?” Kathryn said with amusement, kissing her neck.


“Well, you do inspire, darling,” Kathryn said and tenderly kissed her lips.

Seven’s hand caressed Kathryn’s cheek as she looked into her eyes.  “I love you, Kathryn.”

“I love you.  So much,” she said softly as their lips met, once again communicating their love without words.


In the early morning, Gretchen yawned as she headed to the kitchen.  She was surprised to find Seven already there and noted her appearance; her long hair was down and she was dressed in a cotton button-down shirt and jeans Gretchen had gotten her after her last visit; a biosuit did not seem like appropriate attire for someone on a farm.  Apparently, Seven agreed. 

“Good morning, Gretchen,” Seven said with an easy smile.  

“Good morning, dear.  Are you hungry?” Gretchen asked, going to a group of containers on the counter and picking the one with coffee beans in it.

“Actually . . . I am.  However, I am here to learn how to make coffee.  I failed to learn that during my last visit.”

“I didn’t realize you’ve acquired the taste for coffee,” Gretchen said with amusement in her eyes.

“I have not.  I wished to learn so I can make it for Kathryn,” Seven said, looking at the coffee maker warily.  “I would also like to learn other cooking techniques and recipes beyond the basics you have already shared with me.”

“You are interested in learning to cook, the Traditionalist way, for Kathryn?” Gretchen said with a pleased smile.

“Yes.  However, I still believe the replicator to be the most efficient and practical way to prepare a meal.”

“Of course you do,” Gretchen said with a chuckle.  “I have to say, I’m glad you have an interest.  I had hoped to pass down the family recipes to Kathryn and Phoebe but neither seemed particularly enthusiastic . . . or good at it,” she added with a frown.

“I would be honored to learn the family recipes.”

Gretchen smiled.  “Come on, first things first,” she said pointing to the sink, prompting Seven to nod and wash her hands.


The aroma of freshly brewed coffee filled the house and drew a freshly showered Kathryn to the kitchen.

“Coffee,” she murmured tiredly, rubbing her eyes. 

Seven smiled and poured Kathryn a cup as Gretchen put white bread in the egg and milk mixture.

“Morning, darling,” Kathryn said, placing a quick peck on Seven’s cheek.

“You missed,” Seven said with a raised optical implant.  Gretchen smirked as she buttered the frying pan.

“I haven’t had my first cup of coffee,” Kathryn countered with a small smile.

“And coffee is required for your accuracy?”

“Uh . . . how about I try again?” Kathryn countered.


“Morning, darling,” Kathryn said again and gave a peck on her lips.  Seven pulled Kathryn into an embrace as she deepened the kiss.

“HA!  This was so worth getting up at this god-awful hour!”  Phoebe declared as she arrived.

Kathryn rolled her eyes at her sister.

“Your coffee,” Seven said with satisfaction, finally handing over the steaming mug to a grateful Kathryn.

“Thank God,” Kathryn said and inhaled in the aroma before taking a sip.  “Perfection,” she said and shared a smile with Seven.

“Gee Kathryn, you look really . . . exhausted,” Phoebe said, sitting at the breakfast bar with a big grin.  “How’d you sleep last night?” She said with feigned concern.

“Actually, I slept like a log,” Kathryn responded honestly, sipping her coffee.

“Really? But how is it you could still look so . . . exhausted??” Phoebe probed with an air of innocence.

Kathryn sighed and sipped her coffee.     

“I believe her exhaustion is rather simple to explain,” Seven said matter-of-factly.

Kathryn looked at her and blinked.

Phoebe grinned and said “do tell.”

Seven looked at Kathryn, who shrugged and sipped her coffee.

“In the past 30.4 hours, Kathryn has endured erroneous accusations by me, likely causing a large deficit in her sleep cycle,” Seven started, making Phoebe frown, knowing Seven was not amused with her teasing. 

“In the following morning, she also endured erroneous accusations by Admiral Nechayev, who relentlessly badgered her about seven years of command decisions and insulted her integrity and honor.  During a break, she endured a trying conversation with Chakotay as she attempted to point out he had been a remarkably neglectful partner to me - still my champion, even after I had deeply hurt her,” Seven said, pausing very briefly as she looked at Kathryn sorrowfully. 

Kathryn looked at the woman she loved and took her hand, squeezing it, silently vowing to always be her champion.

“In the afternoon hearing,” Seven promptly continued.  “She had an unfortunate interaction with Nechayev, which she deeply regrets, causing the mental breakdown of a fellow officer, who subsequently attempted to kill her.  Then, the superiors she had once admired offered her a promotion, rewarding her for the very actions she deeply regretted, prompting her to question herself and Starfleet and ultimately resign,” Seven said and stopped.

Phoebe looked down with a heavy sigh.  Gretchen silently continued to cook the French toast as Seven and Kathryn looked at each other. 

“And in spite of all that, Kathryn spent several hours last night showing me how much she loves me,” Seven said, looking at Phoebe.  “Your sister is an exceptionally attentive and skilled lover… with impressive endurance.”

Phoebe cringed.  Kathryn then cleared her throat and sipped her coffee with a small smirk.  The silence in the kitchen lasted a few moments. 

“French toast is ready,” Gretchen finally said.

Chapter 9 – Autumn


A few months had passed and Seven and Gretchen invited some of Kathryn’s former crew for a casual dinner.  It took a while for Kathryn to feel ready to visit with them and no longer be suffocated by guilt.

Seven and B’Elanna were in the kitchen, watching Kathryn and Tom on the living room floor with Muriel, playing with blocks. 

“How is she doing?  Really?” B’Elanna asked quietly, briefly looking curiously at the knife Gretchen had handed her for dicing carrots when she entered the kitchen.
Gretchen was busily rolling out dough for biscuits at a separate counter.

“She has conducted five tune ups of the tractor . . . this week.  And we are unlikely to run out of firewood this winter.  She needs a purpose.  Something I can not give her,” Seven said worriedly as she skillfully peeled potatoes.

B’Elanna cringed.  “There are civilian engineering jobs at Utopia Planitia Shipyards to build the Nautilus,” she suddenly offered with enthusiasm.  “It’s an amazing ship! I’m sure she’d love to get her hands on it.  There will be dual propulsion plants, one conventional warp drive and one advanced slipstream drive based on the Vulcan design and your improvements.  I think we are on track to fully outfitting her by Spring.  Oh and the space!” B’Elanna said with a laugh.  “It would have sure been nice to have that in . . . ,” she added, then noted Seven’s troubled look.  “What?”

“She would be working for you,” Seven said quietly.

B’Elanna winced in understanding.  “Never mind,” B’Elanna exhaled, knowing the proud woman would be uncomfortable in that situation, as would she.

“She is best suited for command,” Seven said with a sigh, looking at Kathryn smiling at Muriel as she handed the child a block.  She appeared happy, but Seven knew she was not fulfilled.

“Any chance of her getting reinstated?” B’Elanna asked.

“If it were up to Starfleet, yes.  Several senior officers have attempted to convince her to reconsider her resignation, including Admiral Paris; but Kathryn has not forgiven herself,” Seven said.

B’Elanna shook her head.  “I hate to think Kathryn has ruined her career over that woman,” she growled softly.

“Nechayev was sick, B’Elanna.  And Kathryn believes her conduct less than honorable.”

“Yeah,” B’Elanna exhaled unhappily.

The doorbell chimed.

“I’ll get it,” Kathryn said, getting up off the floor as Muriel once again knocked over a tower they had built with a delighted “GA!” and a giggle.  Kathryn shook her head with amusement at the familiar bull in the china shop approach to things and eyed B’Elanna, who warned her “Don’t say it.”

Kathryn’s hands went up in surrender with an innocent shrug and grin.  When she opened the front door, Kathryn smiled broadly.

“Ms. Naomi Wildman,” Kathryn said, pleased to see the girl.  “You wouldn’t mind giving your former Captain a hug, would you?”

“Acceptable,” Naomi said formally, then happily hugged her Captain, who happily hugged her back.

“Samantha, I’m so glad you two could join us.  Come in and make yourself at home.  Would you care for a drink?  There’s punch or I could get you something stronger?”

“No thanks.  I’ll help myself to some punch, Captain,” Samantha said.

“Sam, call me Kathryn,” she corrected with a warm smile.

“All right . . . Kathryn,” she said awkwardly.

“Naomi Wildman,” Seven said crisply, joining the three.  Although the loose-fitting casual clothes and having her hair down softened her appearance, Seven could still easily project an intimidating demeanor.

“Seven!”  Naomi blurted happily.

“You will be joining us for dinner?” Seven asked, raising her optical implant.  Kathryn smothered a smile as she watched the two.

“Affirmative,” Naomi responded formally.

“Acceptable.  I have a game of Kadis-kot set up, should you wish to play a game with me while the food is cooking.”

“That would be agreeable.”

“Very well.  Follow me,” Seven said, heading towards the game.

“Seven?” Naomi said softly, grabbing her hand.  Seven paused curiously, looking down which required her to tuck an errant strand of hair behind her ear.  “Your hair is really pretty down like that,” Naomi said with a smile.

“Thank you,” she responded with a warm smile and motioned towards the kadis-kot board set up in a corner of the living room, next to the kitchen.

As they sat down at the card table set up with the game, Gretchen overheard Naomi asking why they had to wait for the food to cook.  “Kathryn’s mother is a Traditionalist and rejects most technology, like the very efficient and practical replicator,” Seven responded, glancing at Gretchen who gave her a good-natured glare.


“Perhaps after you eat one of her meals, you will understand why,” Seven said.

The doorbell chimed again.  “I’ll get it,” Kathryn called out unnecessarily as she was the closest to the door and everyone else was busy.  Opening it, she found Phoebe grinning. 

“Sorry, you must have the wrong house,” Kathryn said and started to close the door.

“Hey!” Phoebe said, pushing her way through.  “I have wine,” she said, showing the bottle.

“Please, make yourself at home,” Kathryn said flatly as she closed the door. 

“Quite the turnout,” Phoebe said, looking around.  “Is Commander Monotonous coming?”

“Phoebe,” Kathryn sighed.  “He sent his regrets.”

“I’m not surprised.  It would be a bit awkward,” Phoebe said conversationally.  “What about your handsome young operations officer, Henry . . .?”

“Harry Kim.  He’s on his honeymoon with Libby.”

“God! All the good ones are taken,” she complained.

The doorbell chimed.  Kathryn eyed her less than helpful sister before opening the door.

“Tuvok, T’Pel, please come in.  I am delighted you are here,” Kathryn said as they entered her home.

“We are honored to be invited,” T’Pel said.

“Please, make yourself at home,” Kathryn said as the doorbell chimed.  “Excuse me,” she said, getting twin dips of Vulcan heads in acknowledgement of her hosting duties.

“Doctor!  It’s good to see you.  Come in, come in,” Kathryn said with a smile.

“How are you doing, Cap . . . Kathryn?” he said, correcting himself.

“I am good!  How are you?  I heard you are getting assigned to another starship.  The Nautilus?” Kathryn said, making him beam that she kept up on his activities.

“That’s right.  I will be in charge of the Medical Away teams,” he said proudly. 

“Doctor,” Seven joined Kathryn’s side and took her hand, which the Doctor noted seemed like second nature.

“Naomi beat you already?” Kathryn asked with amusement, earning a raised optical implant.

“We did not finish,” she explained flatly.  “Muriel wished to knock down the board.  She was successful,” Seven noted wryly, making Kathryn chuckle.

“Seven, I must say you look wonderful,” the Doctor smiled, looking over her casual attire. 

“Thank you, Doctor.  Congratulations on your posting,” she said.

“I am excited.  It won’t be the same as Voyager, but I am sure I will enjoy this experience too.  As you know, the Nautilus will have slipstream.  I understand, Seven that you have helped the Vulcans with their navigational inst. . . ,”

A loud metal clanging sounded, prompting everyone to turn towards the source of the noise. 

“This is a dinner bell,” Gretchen said, glancing at the metal triangle she held up.  “Long ago, when dinner was ready on the farm, an iron dinner bell was rung to call everyone to the dinner table since the sound carried several acres or “to the back 40” as the saying goes.  So everyone, please join us at the Janeway dinner table as dinner is served,” Gretchen said proudly, prompting smiles and amused chuckles as conversations resumed and the guests migrated to the dinning room.


There were many smiles and enthusiastic conversations around Gretchen’s table.  The Janeway matriarch looked fondly at the happy group that had become Kathryn’s extended family - the family her daughter had created on a frightening and dangerous seven-year journey home from the unknown; the family Kathryn had aggressively fought for when they got back.  Her daughter had accomplished so much, and even found love, Gretchen thought with satisfaction, glancing at the exceptional young woman, who was discussing how the meal was prepared with Naomi, the little girl who was absorbing everything she said.  Yet, when Gretchen looked at her daughter, she could not help but feel a nagging melancholy.

Kathryn glanced curiously over to her mother and saw a sad look she attempted to hide with a smile.  But the eyes don’t lie.

Gretchen was grateful she was finally home but heartbroken that she was adrift now, trying to find her way.  She knew how difficult it must be for someone like her daughter to be without a direction.  Gretchen felt tears starting.  Rather than embarrassing Kathryn or herself, she excused herself to the kitchen to prepare dessert.

As she turned on the oven light to check on the progress of the brownies, tears fell.  She paused and wiped them with a sniff and sigh.

“Mom?” Kathryn said hesitantly.  “What’s wrong?”

“Ah, don’t mind me, Kathryn.  I’m just an emotional old fool.”

“I’d never call you old or a fool.  Why are you emotional?” she asked, walking up to her mother and placing a gentle hand on her back.

“Kathryn, the farm has never been in better shape but . . . how many tune ups does our tractor really need?  How much firewood do you think we use?  Is this all there is going to be for you now?  How can it be possibly be enough?”  Gretchen said sadly.

Kathryn smiled slightly, warmed at her mother’s concern.

“Chores do keep me busy and feeling useful,” Kathryn said thoughtfully.  “But I have given some thought - a hell of a lot of thought about what I want to do . . . when I grow up,” she added with a tired laugh.  “I’ve been considering positions like a civilian science consultant on a starship or research vessel,” she said, missing her mother’s wince at that thought, believing Kathryn would quickly grow discontented being relegated to only a consultant.  “But I don’t want any separation from Seven, even for short missions,” she said firmly, then sighed seeing her mother frowning.  “Please, don’t worry about me.  I’ll find something.  I just don’t know what it is yet,” Kathryn said, hugging her mother, who nodded.

Moments later, Seven quietly approached mother and daughter, who continued their silent embrace.  “Are you two all right?”

Kathryn stepped back and turned towards her.  “We’re getting . . . ,” she answered but was interrupted by the doorbell.  “. . . there,” she said flatly.

“It would be really easy for me to install hydraulic doors,” Kathryn said to her mother as she went to the door, once again.

“I’d sooner have replicators, dear,” Gretchen responded.

“That can be easily arranged,” Seven offered helpfully, getting a glare.

Kathryn immediately noted the red and black blur of a Starfleet uniform through the rippled glass panes.  She opened the door and took a startled breath.

“A . . . Admiral,” Kathryn sputtered, never expecting to see Alynna Nechayev at her doorstep.

“Are you going to stand there gaping like a fish, or are you going to invite me in?” she said gruffly, causing Kathryn to step back.

The Admiral took confident strides into the Janeway farmhouse.

“Alynna, dear.  Can I offer you something to drink?” Gretchen came up to greet the unexpected guest.

“Tempting, but no thank you, Mrs. Janeway.   I would like to speak with Captain Janeway privately though,” the Admiral said, turning back to Kathryn with a pointed glare.

Gretchen and Seven looked at Kathryn with concern, which annoyed the Admiral.  “Oh for God’s sake, I’m unarmed and dutifully taking my medication,” Alynna spat impatiently.

Kathryn found her voice.  “There’s a house full of guests in the dining room but we should have some privacy in the study off the kitchen,” she said, motioning for the Admiral to precede her. 

“After you,” she said, eyeing Kathryn suspiciously.


Kathryn shut the door and waited uneasily. 

“I never did like you, Janeway,” Alynna said and waited for a response.

After an awkward silence, Kathryn finally responded.  “That . . . is not exactly a revelation, Admiral.”

“You’re arrogant, stubborn, and self-righteous,” she noted, waiting for a response.

“So I’ve been told,” Kathryn offered, guessing the Admiral, now that she was medically fit, was there to give her a dressing down for her unprofessional conduct.  And she would take it; she owed at least that much to the woman.


“Did they actually let her out of the loony bin, or did she escape?” Phoebe asked her mother as the dinner guests hovered quietly, having been informed by Seven of the unexpected visitor.

“Phoebe, please,” Gretchen scolded her.

“Mom?  What’s a loony bin?” Naomi asked Samantha with a curious cringe.

“It’s . . . slang for an asylum for mental patients, honey.  Where they get medical treatment,” Samantha offered softly.  Naomi frowned, still not sure why everyone seemed so concerned about the Admiral’s visit.

“Admiral Nechayev has been cleared from medical leave and has returned to active duty,” Tuvok offered quietly to the group.

“Doing what?” Tom whispered curiously, holding a fidgeting Muriel.  “Shhh, shhh, honey,” he tried to sooth his daughter.

“That, I do not know.”

“Director of Perpetual Harassment?  It’s not right her coming here,” B’Elanna hissed to Tom.  “She already took her pound of flesh,” she added.

“And photons,” the Doctor chimed in.

The oven timer went off with a loud ding that startled everyone.  With a weary sigh, Gretchen went to the kitchen and grabbed her oven mitts, taking the pan of brownies out of the oven as she kept glancing towards the study.

Seven followed her to assist but her attention was on what was happening behind the shut door.  She frowned, unable to hear what was being said.

The door abruptly opened and Admiral Nechayev marched out and halted, seeing Gretchen and Seven staring at her expectantly.  She looked over to find several people standing nearby, also silently staring at her. 

“Would you care to stay for dessert, Admiral?” Gretchen offered politely.

“No thank you, Mrs. Janeway,” she responded, glancing at Seven then the others warily.  “I’m not on THAT much medication,” she said with a grimace.  “I’ll show myself out,” she blurted and marched out of the house as Kathryn emerged from the study.

“Why did she say?  Why was she here?” Seven asked with concern, immediately going to Kathryn’s side.

“She’s . . . the Director of Starfleet personnel now.  She came to inform me that I was not only arrogant, stubborn, and self-righteous, I was also an idiot for not managing to follow the appropriate administrative requirements for resigning,” Kathryn said looking a bit stunned.

“Kahless!” B’Elanna spat angrily.

Seven winced and placed a comforting hand on Kathryn’s shoulder.

“She said I have a week to accomplish the rudimentary administrative requirements of separation and if I didn’t think I could manage that simple task, I will need to report to my new assignment – something she hand-selected for me to ensure I wouldn’t screw it up, considering my impressive shortcomings.”

“What a bitch!”  Phoebe huffed, getting a chorus of disapproving Phoebes from the adults.  “Hey, she swore too,” she said defensively, pointing to B’Elanna.

“What assignment?” Tom asked with a cringe.

Ignoring Tom’s question for a moment, Kathryn looked into Seven’s eyes and opened up her hand to reveal Captain pips.  “What do you think about a five year tour on the Nautilus as my Science Officer?”  Kathryn said with a small, satisfied smile.

“Yes!” Phoebe blurted as Gretchen exhaled, delighted and relieved for her daughter.
“All right!” Tom cheered.  Muriel happily blurted “GA!”  B’Elanna laughed incredulously.  Naomi happily jumped up and down next to her smiling mother. 

“Phoebe is still right about Nechayev, though,” B’Elanna grumbled with a smirk.

“A logical choice by the Admiral as well as the Captain,” Tuvok noted, looking at his wife.

“Indeed,” T’Pel offered.

Seven let out a breath of immense relief, knowing this was exactly what Kathryn needed and was best suited for.  And whatever Kathryn needed she would support, she silently vowed, her heart swelling with happiness.  She pulled Kathryn into an embrace and kissed her thoroughly.

“I think that’s a yes, Kathryn,” Phoebe blurted with a chuckle.

When Seven pulled back with a smile, tenderly caressing her cheek, Kathryn asked “That is a yes, right?”

“Yes,” Seven confirmed, taking the pips from Kathryn’s hand and attaching them to her blouse one at a time with supreme satisfaction.

“Well, I for one am glad I won’t have to be breaking in a new Captain,” the Doctor said, bouncing happily on his holographic feet.

“Dessert is ready,” Gretchen said with a big smile, happily dishing out the chocolate brownies onto plates.



Personal Log

Seven of Nine, Prospective Science Officer of the New Construction Ship Nautilus - Stardate 54985.6

The Nautilus crew has finally moved onboard and will commence builder’s trials at 0600 tomorrow.  Upon successful completion of the 5-day event, Nautilus will be ready for her initial deployment.  I have never seen Kathryn happier.  She has purpose and love in her life.  I am grateful I have those things as well.  They are supremely relevant.  I have not known greater happiness.

However, she, like I, will greatly miss Gretchen and Phoebe.  I am confident we will be communicating often.  I will also miss my Aunt Irene.  I was pleased she was able to participate in the wedding preparations and ceremony and that she and Gretchen have grown to be friends. 

Aunt Irene has more Traditionalist tendencies than I had expected; she seemed concerned that we remained with our current names - I elected not to take Kathryn’s and Kathryn did not take mine.  Phoebe said that Captain Tertiary Adjunct of Unimatrix 01 would be a dreadful mouthful, which did not amuse Aunt Irene.  Gretchen quickly told her that all that name changing would be very confusing to everyone who knew us.  While those are not the reasons, I do appreciate Gretchen and Phoebe’s support of our decision. 

I have been the drone, Seven of Nine, Tertiary Adjunct of Unimatrix 01 for the majority of my life.  Removing the majority of my implants has not returned me to my original state.  I am no longer just Annika Hansen as the remaining Borg implants prove.  But Kathryn told Aunt Irene that I was still Annika but just . . . more . . . and that Seven of Nine was who I was now and whom she loved.  Aunt Irene appeared to finally understand, or at least realize what I have come to learn; resistance of the Janeway collective is futile.

Aunt Irene also seemed concerned that Kathryn and I had not planned on a “proper” honeymoon.  I told her we are very satisfied to work together on this impressive ship and do fully enjoy our duty and off-duty time.  Kathryn also noted that we would be taking shore leave together at various destinations during the five years and she would do her best to make each time like a mini-honeymoon.  My Aunt Irene seemed somewhat appeased and stated she just wanted to see me happy.  I told her she should not worry about my happiness, which is at maximum levels.  She was pleased and hugged me.  I have become used to the tactile expressions of love and friendship and find they are also relevant.  I am confident she and I will maintain frequent communications as well.

Today, Locutus and Dr. Crusher visited Kathryn.  After a tour of the ship, we had a pleasant dinner.  He was impressed with the size and capabilities of Nautilus, which are notable and more remarkable than Enterprise’s.  Kathryn seemed to console him by stating that it was not the size of the ship that matters but what you do with it.  I am uncertain why Beverly laughed.  Perhaps it was because she understood that the larger the ship, the more services and capabilities are possible.  When I told Kathryn I thought that the size of the ship and its utilization both matter, Locutus laughed.  Kathryn looked at me with amusement and told them than it’s a good thing she had a really big ship then. 


The hiss of their doors opening signaled Kathryn’s return from seeing her friends off the ship. 


Seven smiled with a contentment she would never have imagined was possible and stood to welcome her wife home.


The End


Thanks again to Trusty for Proofing.