Captain Kathryn Janeway woke groggily, slowly sitting up in a chair. Immediately realizing she was bound to the chair, her mind raced. The last thing she recalled was drinking coffee in her mother's kitchen, enjoying the brief peace and quiet after her mother and sister had gone shopping. She had been indulging in one more visit home before she left for her new, refitted Galaxy class ship - Discovery. She must have been drugged, she concluded, worried about her family.
Pulling at the bonds on her wrists behind her, she sighed with irritation. They were unyielding.
"You will not be harmed," the raspy male voice said calmly.
"What about my family?"
"They are unharmed and most likely still shopping," the captor said candidly.
"That's good to know," Janeway said cautiously, relieved they weren't caught up in this. Whatever this was. She blinked, trying to focus, but the room was too dark to see anything but shadows. "So, why all this effort for a Captain?" she asked innocently, clearing her voice.
The captor found her question curious, especially since the Captain had been thrust into the public spotlight and became tremendously famous for having brought back her ship from the Delta quadrant and destroying the Borg's access to the Alpha quadrant in the process. Every enemy she had ever made would have heard about her heroics by now. Surely, Captain Kathryn Janeway knew she would be a great prize for many of them.
"A bounty?" Janeway guessed and smoothly offered "How much? I can probably beat their…"
"Enough! I will be asking the questions," the raspy voice responded with irritation.
"Of course," Janeway said, still trying to make out the tall figure lurking in the shadows. She frowned.
She heard the figure move and saw the outline of a gloved hand come towards her. "What are you doing?" Kathryn said with concern, trying to pull back. However, the tip of the hypospray met her neck and hissed as the contents were injected. A prickling sensation soon spread all over her.
"I expect honest answers to my questions," the male voice said. "This will help get them."
"Truth serum?" Janeway said as the prickly feeling coursed through her veins.
"Similar, but more effective."
"You do realize Starfleet officers have been trained to resist interrogations, even those involving drugs?" Captain Janeway offered helpfully.
"I thought you understood I was the one to ask the questions," the male voice said.
"Right," Janeway said, sighing as she pulled on her bonds again. Though she concluded she wasn't going anywhere for a while. "A conversation at a café over coffee would have been more pleasant," she muttered.
"You would not have accepted the invitation," the captor responded tersely.
Janeway remained silent at that truth. The drug was making her tired. Or was it the self-induced, non-stop work she consumed herself with, preparing for her new assignment, she wondered.
"Your debrief with Starfleet took many months," the captor noted. "Did they debrief all of the crew?"
Janeway remained silent, wondering if she would be hit for her defiance.
"Did they debrief all of the crew?" The captor asked again.
Janeway refused to answer.
"You are stubborn but the drug will soon get you to speak more freely."
"We'll see," Captain Janeway said, blinking. The drug was rather relaxing, she thought. Which was rather ironic, she considered, that she found herself more relaxed, bound, in the presence of an abductor, than free, finally home, and busy with Starfleet work. But then she hadn't resorted to taking drugs. Well, perhaps a drink here and there…to take the edge off, to forget….
"You will not leave until I am satisfied with your answers."
"I have no interest in answering your questions or helping you," Janeway said honestly.
"That much is apparent," the captor said. "Did they debrief all of the crew?" After continued silence, the captor noted "I could collect them, like I had collected you. I am sure they would be more cooperative in answering my questions."
"That would be a lot of work," Janeway said uncomfortably.
"Indeed. But easier than collecting a famous, well-guarded Starfleet Captain, who is busy getting prepared for another deep-space mission."
Janeway sighed at the breech of intelligence. The only personnel who knew about the assignment were a few senior Starfleet officers and her former crew members, who were unfortunately informed by a well-meaning Admiral Paris. But if this person could capture her, it was likely her captor would not have a problem with accessing that non-critical intelligence.
"You know the mission is not tactical, only scientific in nature, right?" Captain Janeway asked, trying to figure this captor out. "Why would you be concerned with . . . ?"
"I do believe that is a question, Captain," the captor scolded, getting a frown. "Did they debrief all of the crew?" The captor asked slowly.
"Yes," Captain Janeway said reluctantly, squinting with frustration, still unable to make out the details of the tall robed captor. It was clear he did not want to be seen. "That fact is public record," she noted with a touch of defiance.
"You have certainly gone to a lot of effort for public information," she muttered, starting to feel warm. Must be the drug, she considered, shifting to stretch her neck and back.
"You brought back much technology, did you not?" The captor ignored the Captain's comment.
"That is also public information," Captain Janeway noted.
"So what is Starfleet's assessment of your Borg Drone?"
Janeway grew angry. "She is no longer a Drone!" And not mine, Kathryn thought with equal anger.
"No. Not a technicality. She is an individual," Kathryn said firmly, guessing she was married to Chakotay by now and planning a family.
"But they do not trust her. She is a great danger."
"If you check those public records, you will find she has been decorated by Starfleet countless times for her contributions to both Voyager and Starfleet. And she is a valued member of the Daystrom Institute and has made significant progress in . . . ." Kathryn stated, well versed in all of Seven's accomplishments since her return to Earth.
"Starfleet likes to keep their enemies close," the captor said.
"She is not an enemy!" Kathryn argued, her mouth starting to get dry as sweat gathered at her brow. The drug was really starting to kick in, she thought with worry.
"Then why would not Starfleet trust her away from their influence?"
"What are you talking about?" Kathryn said with frustration.
"Surely Starfleet knows what a threat she could be, if she were free from their constant surveillance," the captor offered.
"Trust me, if she wanted to be a threat, it wouldn't matter whether Starfleet was watching her or not. She'd find a way," Kathryn said with amusement and actually laughed.
The captor paused a moment, then noted "Perhaps. Surely, Starfleet sees her as more of a threat on a starship."
"How do you explain her rejection from your crew by Admiral Paris?"
"How…?" Janeway said, stunned. Who the hell was the God Damn informant, she wondered angrily as her heart pounded more rapidly. Damn the drug, she thought with a wince.
"She must be a threat," the captor concluded.
"No! She is NOT a threat. She would never, ever harm . . . ." Kathryn argued.
"She must be separated from her friends and contained in a safe environment….," the captor continued coldly.
"Separated? Contained?!? What the hell are you planning on doing to her?!?"
"If she is not a threat to Starfleet, how do you explain her rejection from your crew by Admiral Paris?"
"I . . . I told him to do it," Kathryn blurted honestly, praying her decision didn't cause Seven harm.
"Because she is a threat," the captor continued.
"NO! No. Not at all. She has a new family, it wasn't right for her to be separated from them," Kathryn blurted uneasily.
Kathryn recalled seeing the proposed crew manifest with shock. Her heart swelled when she found that most of the Voyager family had volunteered to join her again. Her heart stopped when she saw Seven of Nine's name among them. She wondered if Q or someone was playing a horrible joke on her - trapped onboard a ship with the new couple for …years. Quickly scanning the manifest for Chakotay's name, she didn't find it.
Chakotay had said he was no longer interested in starships or travel among the stars, instead wanting to stay Earth-bound and focus on spiritual pursuits. She knew that volunteering for the mission was a mistake for Seven. She had no idea how many rock-solid marriages had failed after one spouse had naively believed accepting assignment on a starship without the other would not affect their relationship. And here Seven was, no more than months into a union, and thinking she could go on a DEEP SPACE mission of years without him ….
Kathryn cringed, knowing just had just revealed there were others who the captor could influence to get to Seven. The captor was right - the drug was getting to her, she considered uneasily. Focus, Janeway. Focus!
"WHAT family!" the captor snapped.
"That is public information too," Kathryn said blurted, praying it was true, the sweat continuing to pour down from her brow. "She has a husband."
"She does not," the captor countered.
"Of course she . . . ." Kathryn argued, wondering if this was a test.
"Commander Chakotay and Seven of Nine never married," the captor interrupted with irritation.
"They never married…?" Kathryn said, dumbfounded.
"You might have known that, if you had not severed yourself from your crew, Captain. You buried yourself in your work mere months after the debriefings were completed. Why did you do that?"
"She never married…." Kathryn repeated absently.
"Did you hate her?" the captor asked.
"Did you fear her?"
"No. Yes. No," Kathryn said in confusion, the drug making it hard to think straight. So many ways to interpret the question…
"Which is it?"
"I . . . I never really feared her. Even when she was a Drone," Kathryn said honestly.
"I find that hard to believe."
"No . . . I knew she could harm me but I didn't think she would."
"Why did you think that?"
"I . . . I'm not sure. I just had a feeling," Kathryn said softly, shivering.
"But she betrayed you, several times," the captor pushed.
"No! She NEVER betray…." Kathryn argued, then suddenly stopped, unable to complete that sentence.
"But you think she has. Which time was it? When she contacted the Borg shortly after you made her an individual?"
"No. She was frightened…she…" Kathryn blinked and shook her head.
"When she left you for the Queen?"
"She was trying to save us all," Kathryn countered.
"When she left you ...for Chakotay?"
Kathryn cringed and took an uneasy breath. "She . . . she found love. With him," Kathryn said weakly. "She deserves to be happy," Kathryn said, fighting the tears that wanted to form in her eyes.
"But she was not happy when you severed all ties to her. You treated her like she was unworthy of your friendship, as if she had betrayed you," the captor accused with clear anger.
"I had to do something," Kathryn blurted defensively. "I was going crazy! I loved her. More than I thought was possible. And she chose him! I couldn't bear to hear about her wedding preparations or get asked for advice!" Kathryn cried out as a tear fell, then another. "I tried to be happy for them. I wanted to support her…to be her friend. But every time I saw her holding his hand, every time she took his arm, every time . . . they kissed, I died a little inside each time. I severed all ties because I couldn't take it. Not even the gossip from my former crew. I was weak and I was …desperate," she admitted in quiet anguish, the tears falling feely.
"You never told her any of that," the captor countered.
"And spoil the happiness she found with him? He was a dear friend. And she was . . . everything," Kathryn whispered. "I couldn't - I wouldn't do that," she said with determination and felt another hypospray against her neck.
Kathryn woke with a groan, the morning light peeking through the curtains causing her to wince. She felt like something had died in her mouth. Likely due to the drugs she was given, she concluded, still feeling a bit woozy. She blinked, staring at the familiar ceiling a moment, getting her bearings. She was in her bedroom, which had to be a good sign. But how did she get there? How did she get abducted in the first place? Who was the captor?
The questions ran through her groggy mind as she sat up gingerly in her bed.
"Seven," she whispered uneasily, noting the woman sitting in a chair, quietly watching her. Gone was the body hugging catsuit, replaced by very flattering, casual civilian clothes. Gone was her rigid bun, her golden hair finally free about her shoulders. She never looked more…stunning, Kathryn thought, mesmerized.
"Are you feeling all right?" Seven asked, her eyes slightly dropping with discomfort at Kathryn's intense scrutiny.
Kathryn took an uneasy breath. "W…What happened?" Kathryn asked, trying not to stare, but the sight of Seven was like a breath of fresh air to someone who had been suffocating.
"What do you remember?" Seven asked softly.
"Someone held me captive and …" Kathryn said, trying to remember through the cloudy memory. "Did you rescue me?" She suddenly blurted, looking at her questioningly.
Seven hesitated. "That … remains to be seen," Seven said cryptically, standing up.
"W…What do you mean?" Kathryn said with confusion as the events and odd line of questioning started to fall in place. "It was you??" she asked incredulously, her anger growing quickly. "How DARE you drug…" Kathryn spat.
"You have no right to be angry, Kathryn!" Seven erupted with an anger Kathryn had never seen before. "You put me through hell because you acted like a noble fool," she spat. "You never told me what you felt. NEVER! I needed your guidance, I needed you. But I didn't realize how much, until I had tried a relationship with Chakotay. I quickly realized he was not what I needed. He was not what I wanted. I wanted you. I needed YOU, Kathryn. But you wouldn't see me. You wouldn't talk to me. You left me!" Seven cried out angrily.
Kathryn blinked, trying to digest the emotional information.
"And you were going to leave me again, to command the Discovery. I had to do something before that happened. I was . . . desperate, Kathryn," Seven admitted with brutal honesty.
Kathryn's righteous indignation was thoroughly undermined by that speech and the vulnerable look on Seven's beautiful fa….
"For me to allow you to step one foot on Discovery, I have three demands," Seven suddenly announced, her vulnerable face turning into one of stony resolve.
Kathryn looked at her with surprise. Before she could say anything, Seven proceeded to outline her demands.
"First, I want to be a member of your new crew. Specifically, I will head your science department. It is the position that I want and am most suited and qualified for. You will find no other candidates that are more qualified than I am - and you know that," she said confidently, without ego. It was fact.
Kathryn blinked. Before she could say anything, Seven continued.
"Second, your rule about not getting involved with crewmembers will not apply to me. As on Voyager, I will be a civilian advisor and technically not part of your crew. I will have my own cabin, but we will discuss alternate living arrangements and marriage, once you get comfortable with our intimate relationship."
Kathryn eyes widened before she blinked again. Before her brain could engage to allow her to speak, Seven continued.
"Third, I want you to join me at Bella's café for coffee in 25 minutes. You will have sufficient time to shower and get dressed in civilian clothes. We have much more to discuss," she said and headed towards the bedroom door.
Kathryn's brain finally kicked into gear and she blurted "Uh, question?" Kathryn raised her hand up as if she were in grade school. "I am allowed to ask questions now, aren't I?" she asked pointedly, eyeing Seven, who turned at the door to face her.
A brief look of unease crossed Seven's face before she nodded with forced confidence.
"I will still get to at least wear the Captain's pips on my ship, won't I?" Kathryn asked dryly.
Seven's eyes lit up with joy. With a small sly smile and raised ocular implant, Seven promised "at times."
Thanks to Trusty for proofing....
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