The Borg with Five Fingers

    by Tenderware (tenderware@gate.net), based on a story idea by EmptyFlask

VOY J/7 NC-17

Warning: This is a sexually explicit story that explores a loving relationship between two female characters. If you are a minor or are offended by lesbianism or sex or both, then please go read something else.

Disclaimer: The characters were created by Paramount, Kate Mulgrew, and Jeri Ryan. I'm just borrowing them to tell a tale. This is strictly a fair-use, freeware, just-for-fun kind of deal. Nothing was exchanged except a few ideas about romance, and the only compensation the author anticipates receiving is a thanks or two from readers, which is the very best kind of return on a labor of love.

Summary: Seven gets into a handful of trouble when her implant develops a mind of its own and has eyes only for Janeway.

Time frame: Circa Seventh Season.

Spoilers: None for STV, but SPOILER ALERT for the 1946 film The Beast with Five Fingers.

Acknowledgments: Seriously, this terrific story idea was the brainchild of my twisted sister, EmptyFlask. Thank goodness for her quirky sense of humor and her fascination with horror cult classics. Thanks also to Otter for beta-reading the first half of this and pointing out places where Seven didn't sound like herself. I fixed those lines but no doubt mucked up a few others.

Dedication: To "Thing" from The Addams Family and all the other hands we know and love.
 


Prologue

A piercing, blood-curdling, and bone-chilling scream filled the darkened holodeck, making some of the inhabitants rustle slightly closer to their companions for comfort.

Seven of Nine, too, edged closer to the individual seated next to her, but only because her friend and mentor Captain Kathryn Janeway had insisted on holding the popcorn. As she absentmindedly picked up a sample of the surprisingly tasty nutritional supplement and popped it into her mouth, she heard Janeway let out a small chuckle.

"Why are you laughing, Captain?" she asked in a hoarse whisper.

"Because it's funny," Janeway whispered back.

"I believe Lt. Paris described this as another 'horror movie'. The appropriate response is fear, not laughter."

"But the premise is so preposterous! The severed hand of a dead piano player comes back to life and starts murdering people?!"

"I, too, am skeptical about attributing cognitive abilities to an appendage. However, using Borg nanoprobes and a tricorder, I could easily reanimate a severed hand."

"Well, that at least would have the benefit of providing a rational, scientific explanation!"

"Sshhh!" an occupant two rows ahead called back indiscriminately.

"Oh, shush yourself, Ensign," Janeway retorted authoritatively.

"Perhaps, Captain," Seven continued in a slightly lower voice, "this story will conclude with an equally rational, scientific explanation."

"Humans didn't have nanoprobes in the 1940s. Honestly, Seven, I think you're becoming far too gullible."

"This 'Peter Lorre' plays his part convincingly," the young woman provided in her defense.

"You don't think he's over the top?!" Janeway asked a little incredulously.

Seven was about to respond when they suddenly heard a loud series of clicks behind them and saw that the picture seemed to be coming to a halt. The image froze and immediately began to bubble and dissolve. Within moments, the screen went blank.

"Computer, lights," Tom Paris called from the back of the room.

A number of people groaned as the lights came up, some from the sudden shock of brightness but most from having the film interrupted.

"What's going on, Tom?" Harry Kim asked from an adjacent row.

"Would you believe it?" Tom asked rhetorically, an almost giddy expression on his face. "The film jumped these 'sprockets' and was burned through by the projector lamp!" He turned off the projector. "I read about this. It happened a lot in the old days when they still used photo-sensitive chemical emulsions to record images and then played them back through lit projectors like this one."

"If you are through enjoying the authenticity of the experience, Mr. Paris, could you correct the problem so that we may see the end of the 'movie'?" Seven asked impatiently.

Tom examined the contraption skeptically. "I'm not sure what to do."

Janeway sighed in mild annoyance herself. Not that she was particularly engaged by The Beast with Five Fingers, but she nevertheless wanted some closure. "Tom, I know you went to a lot of trouble to replicate the projector and the film, but can't we skip all that now and simply instruct the holodeck to show us the rest of this?"

The lieutenant almost pouted. "It just wouldn't be the same, Captain. I haven't programmed the holodeck to recreate an authentic 1940s film projection, so the computer would filter out imperfections and show us a digitally remastered print.....possibly even colorized!"

"I can program those parameters into the holodeck more efficiently," Seven announced as she began making her way to the holodeck controls.

"How are you going to do that?" B'Elanna Torres asked, not sure she wanted the Borg playing with her husband's toys.

"I will use my assimilation tubules to interface directly with the holo-programmer and instruct it to review the memory engrams in my cortical implant for the projection I've seen so far and duplicate those parameters to show the rest of this movie," Seven rattled off the obvious in one quick breath as she reached the console.

Not bothering to wait for a response from anyone, she reached out with her left hand and ejected her tubules, instantly piercing the holodeck controls. She cocked her head as if listening for something and then closed her eyes against an unexpected wave of dizziness. Just then, an impressive spark blasted the connection and sent the Borg flying some four meters back and onto the deck with a thump.

The last thing the young woman remembered was the sound of the captain crying out a startled "Seven!" And then everything went dark.


Act I

Seven of Nine found herself in a semi-conscious state, unsure of where she was or who else was with her. She could hear the quiet, comforting hum of her alcove and sensed that she was probably regenerating, but another, more powerful sensation tugged her into partial wakefulness. Someone was stroking her stomach in small, slow, and very warm circles that began just below her full bosom and seemed to be edging with deliberate intent toward her private anatomy. That realization sent a jolt of excitement through her, even in her dream state. And then she registered another, corresponding sensation....a slight roughness in the palm of her left hand, as if it were rubbing something. Just as suddenly, she felt nothing at all as darkness descended over her again.

*****

"Seven?"

The young woman heard the soothing voice of her captain calling her name in those low intimate tones she liked best. She fluttered her eyes open and then focused on her friend's concerned expression. Then she remembered the hand that had been caressing her. She cocked her head inquisitively.

"Why were you touching me, Captain?" she asked curiously.

Janeway frowned. "When? Do you mean yesterday evening in the holodeck when I helped you up?"

"No, I mean moments ago....here in my alcove."

"I only just arrived Seven, with the doctor. You must have been dreaming."

Seven noticed the doctor only then. "What happened to me?" she asked both of them.

"What's the last thing you remember, Seven?" the doctor asked with evident concern as he began scanning the Borg with his medical tricorder.

"I remember the social gathering on the holodeck to watch another of the 'horror movies' Lt. Paris discovered in the ship's archives. There was a malfunction, and I decided to interface with the holodeck controls." She paused with a frown, trying to remember more, then gave up the effort. "I do not recall anything more....until...." She reconnected with Janeway, uncertain now whether she had really been touched. "Until you woke me."

"You don't remember the energy surge?" the captain asked.

"No. Please elaborate."

"When you interfaced with the holo-programmers, an anomalous energy spike overloaded the circuits and blasted you back onto the deck. You lost consciousness for just a few seconds, and then you started to get up. The doctor had to force you to sit still long enough for a scan. Even though you had a mild concussion, you were anxious to see the end of the movie. Since there was no immediate way to reprogram the holodeck, however, we called it a night, and I ordered you to regenerate. In fact, I escorted you back here myself. You don't remember any of that?"

"No, Captain," Seven replied with evident concern.

"The concussion would account for the slight memory loss. At any rate, the scan indicates that you're all healed now," the doctor reported. "How do you feel?"

"I believe I am functioning normally."

"You certainly sound like your old self," Janeway teased gently.

Seven graced her with the hint of a smile.

"Well, you can return to duty when your shift starts, Seven," the doctor informed her, "but have a bite of breakfast first."

They were interrupted by a call over the comm: "Paris to the doctor."

"Yes, Lieutenant?" the doctor called back.

"I'm off Bridge duty today. You said you wanted some help with those bio-scans?"

"Ah, yes. On my way," he acknowledged. Then to Seven he reiterated, "Breakfast."

"I will, Doctor."

He quickly exited the cargo bay.

"You can join me, if you like," Janeway invited. "I haven't had breakfast yet either."

"As you wish, Captain."

Janeway stepped forward to lead the way to the mess when she felt Seven grab hold of her hand and begin walking after her. The captain hesitated a step as she looked down to confirm that she and Seven were, indeed, holding hands--the Borg's prosthetic left hand wrapped casually around the captain's dainty right one--then she stopped abruptly and studied Seven, who seemed totally oblivious to the contact.

Seven stopped walking, too, and looked at Janeway inquisitively.

"Seven?"

The Borg cocked her head and frowned. "Captain?"

Janeway smirked. "Seven, why are you holding my hand?" She watched Seven look down at their joined hands and spotted the look of utter surprise that swept her elegant features.

"Captain, I...." The young woman was brought up short for an explanation and seemed slightly embarrassed.

Janeway guessed that perhaps Seven had reached out for her unconsciously, seeking some comfort after her little accident (minor as it was compared to the Borg's other misadventures). She patted the hand that held hers and tried to reassure the young woman. "It's all right, Seven. You're fine now, really. You can let go of my hand," she added gently.

Seven frowned furiously as she stared at her implant, as if concentrating with considerable force on the simple effort of releasing Janeway's hand. After several moments, she exhaled dejectedly. "I cannot comply," she mumbled.

"Yes you can, Seven. Really. You're quite all right now, and anyway I'm going to stay with you....at least through breakfast."

"You do not understand, Captain. I have tried to release your hand, but I am unable to let go."

Janeway frowned stupefied. Then she looked down at their joined hands and brought them up to eye level so she could study Seven's hand more closely. "Oh, this is silly," she declared after a moment. "Just loosen your grip."

Seven concentrated again, this time biting her lower lip for extra focus, but it was to no avail.

The older woman sighed in blossoming frustration. She was beginning to feel the butt of a practical joke, and if it had been anyone but Seven, that's exactly what she would have concluded. Unwilling to give up, she grabbed hold of Seven's thumb and began pulling on it gently but firmly, trying to pry herself loose.

Seven watched patiently, a look of mild interest on her features as if she were observing the captain struggle with a stubborn latch rather than with the Borg's own hand.

Despite the captain's considerable efforts, she could not budge the Borg thumb by even a micron. She stopped, breathing a bit more heavily in both exertion and annoyance. In the next moment, she slipped into a fit of frustration, jiggling her hand vigorously to try shaking the mesh hand loose. That, too, failed.

"I'm malfunctioning. I'm sorry, Captain," Seven mumbled shamefully, her eyes downcast.

The tone and sight made Janeway momentarily forget her predicament, and she brought their joined hands up to her chest to pat the Borg's left hand reassuringly. "It's all right, Seven. Everything will be--Oh!"

Seven looked up to see why the captain had cried out and was horrified to discover her implant suddenly groping the captain's right breast as Janeway struggled frantically to yank it off without damaging herself. Fortunately, the shape of the breast made it more difficult for the errant implant to find a good handhold, so the captain was able to pull away.

Seven reacted with all due haste, too. Using her still obedient right hand to grab the implant by the wrist, she managed with considerable effort to hold it away from Janeway, another Borg implant, in her right bicep, helping to compensate for the weaker grip of her all-human hand.

Both women gaped at the mesh fingers wriggling frantically in the air. Then Seven swallowed nervously and glanced at the captain's breast. "Are you....damaged?" she asked gingerly.

"I'm fine," Janeway retorted abruptly, barely moving her lips. Then she sighed loudly. "I think we'd better get you to Sickbay. See if the doctor can figure out why you've suddenly lost control of your implant."

"Yes, Captain," the Borg mumbled.

Janeway softened when she heard the embarrassment in the younger woman's tone. "It'll be OK, Seven." She started to reach out in comfort and then pulled back her hand abruptly, both women realizing at the same moment that prudence dictated they keep a distance from each other for the time being. "Everything will be fine," Janeway repeated, somewhat less convincingly.


Act II

"Persistent little implant, isn't it?" the holographic CMO quipped.

"I'll say," Lt. Paris concurred, trying to offer what help he could in his de facto capacity as medical assistant.

Seven stood next to an examination table, her left hand laid palm up on the surface and held in place, with no small effort, by Seven's right hand. She gripped her own wrist more firmly as the fingers continued spidering in the air, groping desperately in the captain's direction.

Janeway had positioned herself slightly behind the doctor, instinctively using him as a shield against further assaults by Seven's insolent implant.

"What do you think is causing it?" Janeway asked as she peered around the doctor's shoulder at his five-fingered patient.

"I'm not entirely sure," he admitted. "I've scanned it, of course. I've checked the surrounding biological tissue. I've examined Seven's brain, cortical implant, and her entire neurological system for any damage that would result in motile disorders. I've even tested the restorative properties of Seven's nanoprobes. Everything seems to be functioning normally. I can't find any medical or technological explanation for this."

As Janeway shifted a little to the side for a better look, the doctor noticed the implant change direction and then tactic, angling toward the captain's new position and then trying to jab at Seven's right hand to loosen the grip that held it in place.

"I wonder," he stated. "Captain, would you please step back about three meters? And Tom, come stand over here where the captain is standing."

Both officers complied. And as the captain retreated and the lieutenant took her place, Seven's implant went suddenly dead.

"Hmm," the doctor observed. "It doesn't appear to like you, Tom."

"Well, there's no accounting for taste," he quipped.

"Captain, would you come back over here now?" the doctor requested.

As Janeway approached, Seven's implant became agitated again, lurching toward its apparent object of desire and scrabbling excitedly in the air.

"You were saying about taste, Lieutenant?" the doctor ribbed.

Janeway studied Seven--who was uncharacteristically quiet--and noticed her cheeks deepening in color. The circumstances were embarrassing enough for the Borg, who detested any physical weakness and loss of control as a flaw, but this small revelation that the implant was, for some unknown reason, fixated on the captain seemed to make the situation downright humiliating for her. Janeway wondered about that.

"Seven?" she called gently, trying to distract the young woman from her sense of shame by putting her analytical skills to work. "Your manual implant is essentially a computerized prosthesis controlled by electronic impulses from your cortical implant. Is it possible that something--or someone--has tapped into your cortical implant and is now controlling your hand?"

"It is possible, Captain?" Seven quirked her head considering the question further. "Do you suspect 'sabotage'?" she asked, a hint of curious excitement in her tone.

Glad to see some of her Borg back, Janeway's lips curled slightly as she responded. "I only meant to suggest that someone could be tampering with your systems, but this has more the air of a practical joke than of an enemy attack." She suddenly turned to Paris.

"Hey, don't look at me, Captain," the blond helmsman cried defensively. "I didn't have anything to do with this."

Janeway thought about that. "I'm not so sure, Tom. I don't mean you've done anything intentionally wrong, but don't you think Seven's predicament bears an uncanny similarity to your horror movie from last night?" she asked, wiggling her fingers in his face for emphasis.

"Now that you mention it...." he paused thoughtfully. "Maybe something happened when Seven interfaced with the holo-programmers."

"That is almost certainly what happened," Seven declared, relieved to have the beginnings of a plausible explanation.

"But," Paris haplessly continued, "that doesn't explain why it likes you, Captain." The boyish grin disappeared from his face when he saw Janeway's stern countenance.

"One mystery at a time," she commanded in a gravelly tone.

"Yes, ma'am," he murmured.

Janeway took a breath considering what needed to be done. "All right. We've got a senior staff meeting in just a few minutes, so we'll have to table this for later. But after the meeting, Tom, I want you to check the holodeck records from last night, particularly during the energy spike. See if you can tell how that might have affected Seven. Doctor, now that we have an idea about what we might be looking for, do you think you can run a more detailed scan of Seven's cortical implant and possibly isolate any new programming strings that might have been downloaded during her uplink with the holo-programmers?"

"Yes, Captain, but I could use Lt. Torres's help. She's the expert on holographic data strings."

"And I could really use Harry's help on the holodeck," Paris added.

"Seven will be here to assist you, Doctor. And when you're done here, Seven, report to the holodeck and help Tom. We'll bring B'Elanna and Harry in on this later but only if the three of you can't find anything. In the meantime, this matter falls under the purview of doctor-patient privilege. I expect you two to keep it confidential, Gentlemen," she warned.

The last command was clearly for Seven's benefit, and for that, the Borg was deeply grateful.

*****

Despite Janeway's desire for discretion, the animated implant itself was threatening to give away Seven's secret. The young woman seemed able to control it while she was seated at the opposite end of the Briefing Room--the long conference table acting as a kind of buffer between her and the captain. Unfortunately, Chakotay had requested some specifics about her Astrometrics report, concerning the trajectory Seven was recommending they take to circumvent the more dangerous parts of a massive nebula they were flying into. Janeway had noticed Seven blanche a little at the request, both of them understanding that Seven would have to stand up and approach the display screen to point to different areas to illustrate her remarks, which put her--and the implant--closer to the captain. Even now, Janeway could see the mechanical hand flinching slightly in her direction.

To compensate, Seven angled the front of her body toward the captain and raised her implant behind her back. That way, she could use her body both to hide the implant's erratic movements from her crewmates and also to press the implant against the bulkhead to control some of those gestures. She hoped the position looked casual, as if she were resting her arm along the swell of her hip, but the angle forced her to use her right hand to point across her chest to the display when using the nearer left hand would have been more efficient. A less chesty individual might have pulled it off, but Seven's obstructive bosom made her stance look considerably awkward.

Janeway hoped no one was noticing, but the bemused looks on Chakotay's and Tuvok's faces, in particular, suggested otherwise. She decided to deflect their attention and also put more distance between herself and the implant.

"Seven?" she called standing up. "What if..." she continued, pretending to pace pensively but deliberately walking away from the display screen and around the far side of the table. "What if we take a course through that star cluster in grid 18? Wouldn't that help us avoid the stronger gravimetric currents?" she finished, coming to rest between Chakotay's and Tuvok's chairs. She smiled to herself victoriously when she noticed that she'd managed to draw everyone's gaze briefly while the Borg implant calmed down.

Seven brought up a larger view of grid 18 but blinked in consternation, unable to determine what course the captain was proposing through the dozens of scattered planetoids in that crammed region.

Janeway realized her mistake even before Chakotay asked, "Could you show us what you mean, Captain?

She grimaced slightly as she walked back around the table and ominously approached the display, wondering, not for the first time, why the state-of-the-art Briefing Room on her twenty-fourth-century starship lacked a device as simple and useful as a laser pointer.

When she connected with Seven's panicked eyes, she tried to respond with a reassuring look, but doubted she had managed that when she caught the dread ghosting across the Borg's features. They both swallowed apprehensively as Janeway stopped near enough to the display to point but just over an arm's length from Seven for safety.

The Borg subtly backed up a bit to create a little more distance. She also put her right hand behind her back in a self-parody of her customary stance; in reality, however, she was using it to grip her left wrist in the hopes of keeping the implant in place.

Janeway rapidly pointed out the trajectory she had in mind, barely pausing for breath since she could tell from Seven's demeanor that the young woman was struggling with the suddenly more agitated implant. She felt a little relieved as she concluded her remarks, but then she made the mistake of turning around to go back to her chair.

That brought her unguarded bottom near enough to Seven's implant to give it a surge of power, as if bolstered by having its object of desire suddenly so 'close at hand'. With that added boost, the implant managed to loosen itself from Seven's grip, shoot out toward its irresistible target, and make contact with a resounding smack.

The force of the impact--mild as it was--combined with the survival instinct to retreat from a sudden blow made the smaller woman lurch forward half a step. But it was by the sheer force of her Starfleet-disciplined will that the startled captain kept herself from crying out in an undignified manner. And then the instinct to protect Seven kicked in, impelling Janeway to step back next to the young woman in an attempt to use her own body to conceal the malfunctioning implant from the rest of the crew.

The expressions of surprise, however, told her that everyone in the room was already acutely aware that Voyager's Astrometrics officer was groping the uniformed bottom of her commanding officer. Fortunately, the senior staff members had the good grace not to comment. In fact, except for the giddy implant--which was at that very moment, Janeway realized with a gulp, beginning to stroke its dirty little digits along the more intimate indentation between the captain's buttocks--everyone in the room was excruciatingly still. In the deadly quiet that ensued, Janeway could hear the telltale rasping of Borg mesh against Starfleet material.

Glancing sideways at Seven, the captain wondered if she had the same pained expression on her own face. She guessed that she did, so she schooled her features into a placid expression, needing to look authoritative before addressing her senior officers. Then she cleared her throat for attention.

"I'm sure some of you are wondering why Seven is touching my....me," she began slowly. "It seems that sometime between last night and this morning, Seven lost control of her hand implant. The doctor and Lt. Paris are aware of the problem, too, and the four of us have concluded that the energy discharge yesterday evening, when Seven interfaced with the holo-programmers, may have something to do with this."

"Oh, I get it," Harry observed aloud. "Her implant is acting like the severed hand in the movie."

"Except that Seven's hand isn't exactly strangling the captain," Neelix observed.

Harry coughed uncomfortably.

"Captain, do you need help....uhm...freeing yourself?" Chakotay asked.

"No, thank you, Commander. Seven and I can manage."

"With all due respect, Captain," Tuvok interjected, "if Seven has lost control of her Borg implant, there's an obvious security risk, particularly since you appear to be the target."

"Really, Tuvok, this is not a hostile attack, as Mr. Neelix has so helpfully observed," she noted, dripping sarcasm. "Doctor," she called, pressing on, "please return to Sickbay and wait for Seven. She'll follow shortly so that you can get started on the cranial scans. B'Elanna, I want you to help with that."

"What? Oh. Yes, Captain," she affirmed, obviously amused and distracted by the scene before her.

"Tom, you and Harry get started analyzing the holodeck data logs from last night. In the meantime, I need to speak with Seven. Everybody else, dismissed!"

Accompanied by a few barely hushed titters, the senior officers exited the Briefing Room as instructed.

*****

With the others present, both the captain and her Astrometrics officer had intuitively understood that skittering from each other would seem a tad cowardly. As soon as the rest of the senior officers were out the door, however, Janeway pulled away abruptly from the groping implant as Seven simultaneously pulled back on her left wrist to restrain it. The safe distance now between them gave them a chance to catch their respective breaths.

"I am so very sorry, Captain," Seven said with obvious sincerity and more adverbs than the Borg generally used.

"I know you aren't responsible for this, Seven. I'm not upset with you." She took a breath. "I'm just trying to understand, if it is the program from last night that's affecting you, why the 'malfunction', as you put it, is manifesting itself in relation to me."

Something ghosted across Seven's face, and she turned away to conceal it. "I'm not certain, Captain," she finally responded--unconvincingly, Janeway thought. "I will try to determine the reason for that as I assist the doctor and Mr. Paris with their respective scans."

Janeway perceived the subterfuge but thought it best not to press the young woman on it at the moment. "All right, Seven," she said quietly, not entirely able to keep the disappointment from her voice. "Report to Sickbay and see what you can find."

The Borg gave a small nod of acknowledgment and left.

*****

"You haven't found anything?" Janeway asked her staff hours later.

"Nothing conclusive," Paris answered.

All the usual suspects were present. Seven sat as far from the captain as she could, relieved that this time no one would request anything of her that would again put her in a compromising situation with her commanding officer. Feeling less awkward now about her predicament, she decided to fill in the gaps that Paris was leaving out.

"The comparative scans of the holo-programmers and of my cortical implant do show that the energy spike coincides with an anomalous data stream introduced into memory addresses that control my autonomic functions. What we cannot explain is why this has affected only my left hand and in this way."

"I do have a theory though, Captain," Harry chimed in. "We already know that Seven simultaneously accessed a data recording of the movie and the programming functions of the holodeck. At the same time, she accidentally tapped into a holo-program based on the film's plot. The Borg interface on top of all that activity caused the energy spike, which in turn created a feedback loop. Since Seven was using herself as a template to instruct the holo-emitters to simulate a projection of the movie matching the parameters encoded in her experience of the version Tom showed the old-fashioned way, I think that this feedback loop sort of programmed the plot of the movie to play itself out right inside of Seven."

"That makes sense, Harry," Janeway implicitly praised him.

"Yeah," B'Elanna jumped in, "except we're not sure how Seven's cortical processors interpreted what was essentially a holographic data stream as instructions to her implant. Consequently, we can't figure out how to reverse the process."

"We're stumped, Captain," Paris added, stating the obvious.

"Of course," the doctor put in hopefully, "it's possible, even likely given the restorative powers of Seven's system, that the problem will correct itself. That's why I'm recommending that she regenerate for a week."

"Unfortunately," Chakotay reported, "we're going to need Seven in Astrometrics for the next couple of weeks, helping to navigate the ship through the nebula."

"Does postponing your prescribed treatment pose any kind of threat to Seven, Doctor?"

The holo-doc shrugged. "Well, we wouldn't really be postponing it; we'd just be prolonging it. Seven's long regeneration cycles simply help her body speed up her recovery processes. She'll still be regenerating at regular, if shorter, intervals as we travel through the nebula. Her systems could conceivably correct themselves in that period. On the other hand--uh, no pun intended--there's also the chance that regenerating even for an uninterrupted week won't make any difference at all."

"Is she otherwise fit for duty, Doctor?" Janeway asked.

"Oh, most definitely, Captain. In fact, she appears to have total voluntary control over her implant when she's nowhere near you. The symptoms won't manifest themselves at all if you two can avoid coming into contact until she's recovered."

Neither woman seemed particularly pleased at the prospect of that.

"All right," Janeway said finally. "Thank you all for your efforts. You're dismissed. Seven?" She caught the Borg's attention as the others shuffled out and indicated that she wanted the young woman to hang back. Janeway studied her friend while she waited for the room to clear, noting how depressed she seemed.

Finally alone, they sat patiently at opposite ends of the long table looking at each other a moment more before Janeway spoke again.

"Would you like to have dinner with me tonight in my quarters?"

The Borg frowned and seemed almost perturbed. "But the doctor said--"

"What the doctor said," Janeway interrupted, "is good advice for when we're on duty. When we're off duty, however, I'd like us at least to try doing things together as we normally would. If you find it too difficult to control your implant, I won't force the issue. But you're my friend, Seven, and I'm not going to run away from you. You don't have to run away either...Trust me, we'll adapt," she added with a reassuring smile, gently teasing the young woman by using one of her favorite words.

Seven smiled at the playfulness, having learned that Janeway teases most those she likes best. She thought about her mentor's proposition, and though she was doubtful they'd be able to manage enjoying each others' company without her willful implant embarrassing both of them, she decided she would do what her captain requested--she would give it a try. So she bantered back softly with the standard Borg response.

"I will comply."


Act III

At 1800 hours, the doorbell to Janeway's quarters sounded.

"Punctual as usual," the captain mumbled to herself as she put the plates down on the sideboard near the replicator. "I wonder which hand she used to press the button." Then in a louder voice, she called, "Come on in, Seven."

Seven of Nine swept into the room like an Arctic breeze, trying to evoke her typical air of frosty arrogance. Unfortunately, it wasn't working quite as well this evening. The casualness of her standard Borg at-ease stance was belied by the fact that her hand implant was already beginning to fidget. Janeway kept a judicious distance even while she tried to pretend that everything was normal.

"Hi, Seven," she greeted far too casually.

She saw her mistake when the Borg frowned curiously.

"Would you like something to drink? I know wine affects your cortical implant, but maybe you'd like just a touch to help you relax."

"I believe being far too relaxed is my problem, Captain."

Janeway smiled at the joke, even if it was a bit humorless in its delivery. "Your hand may be 'relaxed', but you're obviously not. Come on. Join me in a drink."

"What if I lose what little control I have over my implant?"

"Then we'll be relieved it's just the two of us, so that we won't have to feel embarrassed."

A subtle smile curled Seven's full lips in appreciation of the sentiment, even though deep down, the young woman was certain that the captain was talking far more daringly than even she felt.

"Very well," she finally relented. "One small drink." She was immediately glad of her decision when she saw the brilliant smile with which the captain responded.

Janeway stepped over to the replicator and ordered up the two white wines. She turned intending to deliver it to Seven and then hesitated.

The young woman perceived the hesitation. Without a word of explanation on either's part, she stepped back several paces, allowed the captain to advance to the coffee table to deposit the drink, then waited as Janeway retreated again to the dining area. Only then did Seven approach the coffee table and retrieve her drink. Both women let out a breath in relief.

"Cheers," Janeway toasted loudly, raising her voice more than usual for this kind of small gathering to make certain it carried across the room to where her dinner guest was standing.

"Cheers," Seven echoed back in comparable decibels.

And then they both tipped their glasses and took a sip.

"Well, that went well. Do you want to try sitting down to dinner?"

"Yes, Captain," Seven affirmed, moving a few steps forward to assay the layout.

"I put us at opposite ends of the table, as you can see. I thought I'd sit nearer the replicator. That is, if you don't mind having your back to the view ports," she added.

"I observe stellar phenomena all day," Seven explained.

"So you do," Janeway smiled.

The young woman studied the table. "I do not believe it is long enough."

"It'll be fine, Seven."

Steering as wide a course from Janeway as she could, Seven edged her way to the table and accidentally bumped her knee on her chair as she pulled it out. She winced slightly at the sharp ache. Embarrassed by her clumsiness, however, she resisted the temptation to reach down and rub the pain away until she was seated and could use the table to conceal her gesture.

Catching the surreptitious maneuver, Janeway stifled a laugh and promptly banged her buttocks against the bulkhead, realizing only then that she, too, had pulled as far away as she could. She caught Seven's little snort of amusement, slightly muffled by the wine glass she was sipping from. Janeway feigned anger for a brief moment. Then she broke into a broad smile, shrugging her shoulders at the Borg in tacit acknowledgment of their mutual clumsiness.

The young woman smiled back brilliantly.

"I guess we're both a little nervous," Janeway allowed. She turned her back to Seven and took a step toward the sideboard, which was along the bulkhead directly opposite from where the young woman sat. "Frankly," she continued as she began serving their dinner, "I think we're both making more of this than we should."

Seven half missed the last comment, for something about the sight of Janeway's rear end registered in her hand implant and caused it to start behaving more erratically than it had so far. It scrabbled up onto the table and was about to knock over the wine glass when Seven grabbed it by the wrist and yanked it back into her lap--just in time, too, for Janeway shot her a look over her shoulder as she went on.

"I mean, honestly, Seven. What's the worse that could happen?"

Seven shrugged and raised her eyebrows innocently, relieved when the captain returned her attention to serving dinner.

"After all, it isn't as though your implant is really acting like that thing in the movie. It isn't skittering about choking people to death," Janeway said with a laugh.

Seven tried to laugh, too, but at that moment the implant was clutching at her collar, trying to pull the Borg's body closer to Janeway's--and very nearly getting the upper hand.

"Personally, I think it's all much ado about nothing," Janeway declared, oblivious to the drama silently unfolding behind her.

Already too mortified by her previous losses of control, Seven was desperate to keep Janeway from suffering another transgression by her underhanded hand. So she pulled back from the table, shot up, and stepped around the end, intending to make a dash for the door. Unfortunately, the immediate effect was to deprive her of the only barrier she had had between her and the captain. And just as her body leapt in one direction, her implant yanked her in the other, causing the Borg to stumble forward at the very moment the captain was turning around with the two loaded dinner plates.

Janeway's vision was instantly filled with the unexpected sight of a wide-eyed blond Borg lunging in her direction--the writhing, metal-tipped digits of her rogue implant leading the charge. The sudden attack startled the captain so thoroughly that she bounced a good half meter into the air with a yelp, lettuce leaves dropping all around her like creamy-Italian confetti.

Unfortunately, Seven's body, propelled now by the powerful implant, recovered its feet more quickly than Janeway was able to recover her senses. Consequently, the captain found her only means of escape suddenly blocked as a mesh hand spidered menacingly towards her.

"Captain, run!" Seven yelled.

Janeway sidestepped quickly and ran around to the other end of the table, managing to put it between her and the implant again.

"Seven, what went wrong! We weren't that close to each other!"

"I do not know!" the Borg nearly sobbed, still desperately trying to pull back on the implant. "One moment, I was functioning normally, sampling the wine and successfully returning the glass to the table without incident. In the next moment, I looked up to see you had turned away to begin serving our nutritional supplements when the implant became animated again!"

Even now, Janeway could see that Seven was struggling to keep the troublesome implant in check, the mesh hand somehow managing to lead the Borg's body from one side of the table to the other, perfectly countering the captain's moves and blocking her attempts to get closer to the exit.

"But why is your body cooperating with it now?" Janeway inquired as she came around the right again and was again blocked by Seven at the other end of the table.

"Resistance appears to be futile," the Borg recited dismally. "Captain," she continued, "I believe you should call security for your own safety."

"Nonsense! I'm not going to cry for help because I'm being chased by one willful little hand....even if it is Borg! Besides, what am I supposed to report? That I'm in danger of being tickled!" she asked, half exasperated and half exhausted from the chase.

"Captain, please! The danger is not in what the implant will do, but in where it will do it," Seven explained, glancing briefly down at the captain's private area.

Janeway swallowed hard. The reminder prompted her to make a break for it. She tried to fake a jump to the left, springing quickly to the right to sprint to the door.

Unfortunately, Seven's implant had Borg technology on its side and was able to compensate immediately for the captain's zig-zag strategy. Reaching out just as the older woman launched herself at the exit, the implant caught Janeway around the middle and pulled her back and around so that she was suddenly facing what she had originally intended as her place setting. And in the next moment, she found herself face down on the table as the implant pushed forcefully on her shoulder blades.

"Seven! Seven, let me up!" Janeway yelled.

"I am trying, Captain!" the young woman cried. She was attempting to push herself up from the table with her right hand even as the implant was pulling down on her left side, fastened to Janeway's back like an electromagnet....and sweeping ominously downward.

"Ooooph!" Janeway expelled as Seven's implant yanked the younger woman's body onto the captain's again. "OK, Seven," she continued with some effort, "see if you can at least lift up enough to let me turn over."

"That would not be wise!" the Borg objected.

"Why not?" Janeway asked irritably.

"It would expose more of your....private anatomy to the implant's explorations."

Both women were trying desperately to ignore the fact that the implant was already exploring a very private part of the captain's anatomy. Unfortunately, Janeway's body couldn't ignore it entirely. She began to moan involuntarily and then quickly tried to mask the noise by turning it into a grunt, as if from the effort of pushing up.

The sound caught in her throat with a gulp, however, as she felt two mesh fingers snuggling under the waistband of her pants and starting to pull down. Oh my god! Oh my god! she howled internally.

Frightened that her arousal--among other things--was about to be revealed, Janeway redoubled her efforts to urge the young woman off. "Come on, Seven! You can do it. Just try to lift up," she added, feeling a telltale chill on her suddenly exposed bottom.

Seven concentrated, attempting to channel all her energy into prying herself off the captain and even grunting slightly from the effort.

Janeway felt a jolt of sexual heat pierce her lower abdomen at hearing her typically reserved and cerebral Astrometrics officer emit such a raw, almost carnal sound. She gasped slightly.

The Borg let out a sigh in despair.

"I am sorry, Captain."

Janeway took a breath, trying to regain her senses as best she could while enduring the indecent intrusions of Seven's ever naughtier mesh hand. "It's all right," she managed, trying to console the young woman. "I know you can't help it, Seven. I don't blame you.....no matter what happens tonight," she concluded, sounding suspiciously hopeful.

"This is not the way I--" the young woman began, abruptly cutting herself short.

Falling into an erotic haze, it took the captain a moment to realize what her friend had started to say. "Seven?" she began curiously. "Do you want to?"

Despite its cryptic nature, Seven understood the question Janeway was asking. "Not when I am....malfunctioning," she admitted in a low voice.

"God, most lovers aren't this good even when they're working right!" Janeway blurted. Then she caught herself. "Did I just say that aloud?" she asked timidly.

"Yes, Captain."

"I apologize, Seven. This....situation is beginning to affect me."

"You are aroused," Seven observed acutely.

"Oh, my," she shuddered. "With what you're doing to me, I'd have to be a Borg drone not to become aroused!" Janeway caught herself again. "Oh, I'm sorry, Seven. I didn't mean to insult you."

"It was an accurate statement, Captain. I was not offended."

"Gooood," she uttered, lingering over the term in a way that made Seven suspect that it was more a response to her actions than her statement.

"Captain?"

"Mmmm! Yes, Seven?"

"Are you certain you will not 'blame' me....later?"

Janeway thought about that as much as her mind was capable of any rational thought at the moment. "I'm sure," she said finally.

Seven closed her eyes briefly, letting herself enjoy the sweet smell of her captain's silky hair.

"Captain?" she asked again after another moment.

"Yessss!" Janeway gasped. "I mean, 'yes?'" she corrected.

"Will you still....like me?" she asked timidly.

"Oh, yes, Seven!" Janeway asserted, her control slipping further.

Seven smiled, and then something else occurred to her.

"Captain?" she began a third time.

"Seven!" Janeway interrupted finally. "Just kiss me!" she breathed.

The young woman complied.


Act IV

"Water!....I need water!" Janeway yelped meekly.

When the captain decided to relent to Seven's implant earlier that evening, she had no idea the beast would continue its siege well after her first orgasm, past the second one, through a third climax, and beyond the fourth peak. She lost count shortly after that and could no longer tell how long she'd been playing 'handmaid' to the cybernetic hand.

In the beginning, she had welcomed the sensations, the Borg mesh feeling surprisingly soft inside her, like a latex covering rather than a metal casing. Now, however, she was dehydrated, exhausted, and growing numb from overindulgence, feeling only occasional spasms of delight fluttering through her. She had long since been divested of all her clothes and was straddling the Borg's still sheathed lap, her thoroughly engorged and repeatedly sated sex settled directly over the plunging digits of Seven's left hand.

Unfortunately, Seven's implant showed no signs of weakening. And since she could not detach herself from the captain nor simply sit by and watch the poor woman die of thirst, Seven responded to the plea for water by lifting the captain up and carrying her over to the replicator--the smaller woman instinctively wrapping her legs around the Borg's waist and holding on tight.

Janeway ordered a pitcher of water and promptly drank a third of it before taking a breath. "Want some?" she offered.

"Yes!" Seven affirmed hoarsely, fixated by the thick rivulet of water that streamed down Janeway's neck and onto her right breast. No longer shy given all the intimate ways she'd explored her captain's body in the last two hours, the young woman promptly bowed her head and began sucking the water off her commanding officer's nipple.

Janeway shuddered, astounded that she was still capable of becoming aroused. But she was also beginning to worry that the onslaught would never end.

"Seven?" she called.

No answer.

"Seven?" she called more loudly, needing to make herself heard over the rather crude slurping noises the young woman's full lips were making as they vacuumed her suddenly fatter nipple.

The Borg pulled away with a loud pop.

"Yes, Kathryn?"

"We need to find a way to stop now. I'm very tired. Aren't you?"

"I am Borg. I will adapt."

"Cut that out."

"Yes, Kathryn." Seven cocked her head. "What do you propose?" she asked, shifting the weight in her arms.

"Well, first, let's go to the bedroom. If you're going to drop me, I'd rather fall on the bed than on the deck."

Seven smiled. "Acceptable," she declared, too glad of their destination to bother pointing out to the captain that she would never drop her.

She hoisted the small woman up higher to provide her right arm with a surer hold since the left one was otherwise too busy to provide adequate support. Then the Borg walked purposefully across the living area, through the bedroom doorway, and right up to the captain's bed.

"Hold on," Janeway instructed, as Seven was about to lower her to the bed. She then leaned over and yanked back the covers so they could get under the sheet and blanket. "OK," she said.

Seven lowered her onto the bed sideways and then paused, hunched over the captain--since her implant was unwilling to break the contact with Janeway's sex--waiting to hear what she suggested next.

Janeway sat partway up on her elbows looking down at herself where the mesh hand was still busily and noisily burrowing inside her. Then she connected with Seven's eyes and instantly recognized the wanton gaze for what it was.

"Poor darling. You look so frustrated," she said sympathetically. "If we could just get the implant to stop, I could take care of you."

"Yesss!" Seven breathed.

Janeway sighed. "Paris and his movies!" she blurted, leaving the oath implied.

"Indeed!"

"Ironic, isn't it? If the film had burned through farther into the story, this might not have happened," Janeway lamented.

That caught the Borg's attention. Even her implant seemed to slow its pumping motions.

"Elaborate," she intoned.

"What is there to elaborate? You already know that your systems were programmed with the plot of the storyline up to the point the projector malfunctioned."

"I do not understand why the point at which the projector malfunctioned matters. How is the end of the story different?"

Janeway frowned. "The piano player's hand was never really alive in the movie," she explained. "Didn't you know that?"

"I did not. How do you know this?"

"After I left the cargo bay last night, I found myself frustrated at not being able to see the end of the film--silly as it was. So when I returned here, I activated my desk console and instructed the computer to play the rest of the movie file. It was Cummins all along."

"The character portrayed by 'Mr. Peter Lorre'?" Seven asked curiously.

"Yes. He was demented and imagined the whole thing from the start."

Seven's implant went unexpectedly still, causing both women to refocus their attention to the site of sudden inactivity....between Janeway's legs.

"Pssst," Janeway called surreptitiously.

Seven leaned in close to listen.

"What just happened?" the captain whispered, as if she didn't want the implant to hear.

"I do not know," Seven whispered back, playing along. "Kathryn?"

"Yeah."

"Why are we whispering?"

Janeway smirked. Then she took a deep breath.

"Seven?" she said finally in a normal voice. "Do you have control of your implant again?"

The Borg wiggled her fingers. Stopped. Twisted them back and forth, testing her control further. Then stopped again.

"It would appear so, Kathryn," she reported.

"Well then, could you please pull out of me!" Janeway requested.

Seven complied, pulling her implant away and up for inspection. She frowned as she sat down next to Janeway still looking at her mesh hand.

"You have damaged my implant!" she complained.

"What do you mean?" Janeway demanded defensively.

"It has shriveled!"

The captain frowned and studied the appendage. "Oh, please! That's nothing, Seven. It's just wrinkled from prolonged exposure to moisture. Skin does that. It'll return to normal in no time. Anyway, you have some nerve blaming me when it was your implant that went off half-cocked?!"

Seven was about to issue a sharp retort but paused abruptly, considering the last comment. "Is that a pun, Kathryn?"

Janeway caught the double meaning and began laughing to herself just as Seven mirrored the humor with a smile of her own.

The Borg then looked down abruptly at her thigh, where a soft tickle caught her attention. She raised a curious brow at the sight of Kathryn's right hand spidering onto her thigh and around her hip.

"Is your hand malfunctioning now, Kathryn?" she asked with a smile, as she felt the digits make their way sensuously up her spine and then begin unfastening the zipper to her biosuit.

"Well I haven't had any complaints so far," Kathryn quipped, undressing the young woman.

"Then I shall lodge the first complaint."

"What?" the captain asked defensively.

"You are not using both hands," Seven joked.

Kathryn smiled at that. "I've only just started. And besides, you used only one hand," she added, motioning for Seven to lie down in the middle of the bed.

"But it is Borg," Seven said by way of explanation as she repositioned herself.

"You may have strength and endurance on your side, Seven of Nine," Kathryn challenged, "but I have skill and imagination on mine."

"Explain," the young woman commanded.

Kathryn's lips broadened into a knowing smile as she silently demonstrated.

"Kathryn!" Seven gasped.

The captain had barely fingered the young woman's sex, but it was so sensitive and engorged from the building excitement of the prolonged encounter between Seven's implant and Kathryn's womanhood that the light touch sent the Borg into spasms.

"Easy," Janeway called gently. "Let's savor the moment," she soothed.

"I....I will....try," Seven replied haltingly.

The captain lowered her lips to the Borg's breastbone and kissed it softly. Then she licked a trail across to the young woman's right nipple as her index finger doused itself liberally in the juices below.

"You're soaking," Janeway murmured. Then she wrapped her lips hotly around the plump nub and began sucking it aggressively into her mouth.

Seven moaned.

The captain pulled back releasing the nipple. "Spread your legs wide," she ordered quickly, just before renewing her attack on the breast.

Janeway had settled her body on top of Seven's. She lifted up a little now to let the young woman open her legs wider.

The cool air on her heated sex titillated Seven, and wanting more of that sensation, she grabbed the back of her knees with her hands--glad now that the left implant was cooperating--and pulled them up and apart as far as they would go.

Kathryn sucked and bit the nipple with deliberate intensity a few more times and then pulled back to survey the young woman's open sex. She smiled in approval and then reconnected with Seven's eyes.

She began spidering her fingers in and around Seven's sex, playfully mimicking the Borg implant, and all the while studying Seven's face for her reaction.

The young woman bit her lower lip in concentration, trying to control her spasms and focus on the extremely pleasant sensations between her legs.

Janeway escalated the contact in a way that Seven's implant hadn't. She positioned her wet index finger over the puckered, dark-pink opening beneath Seven's sex and squeezed it into the young woman in one quick, twisting motion.

Seven gasped wide-eyed and immediately shuddered, obviously enjoying the unexpected invasion of a part of her anatomy she hadn't really considered erogenous.

"You were right, Kathryn," she managed between breaths.

"About what, darling?" the captain inquired in a low, husky voice that dripped with sensuality.

"Skill and imagination...are more important," Seven admitted.

Janeway laughed in a throaty tone that made the Borg's toes curl. She then brought her left hand up and began tweaking Seven's right nipple, plucking up hard on the nub and twisting it back and forth in a tight grip that made the young woman moan with pleasure. The rhythm and motion matched the deep boring of her right index finger as it burrowed its way further into the tight hole between the Borg's buttocks.

Seven moaned again, remembering how thin Janeway's hands were and surprised that such a slender digit could stretch the ringed muscle of her anus so thoroughly. She felt the intrusion to her core and enjoyed the intimate penetration, wanting to deepen it even more. In a completely instinctual gesture, she brought her hands down lower and pulled the fleshy cheeks of her bottom farther apart, as wide as they would go.

The motion allowed the captain's finger to prod further into the young woman, wriggling provocatively in a private tickle that made the young woman tremble with the beginnings of what promised to be an explosive orgasm.

"Are you all right?" the more experienced woman asked.

"Yes," Seven gasped. "I simply was not aware that...one finger could bring such pleasure."

Janeway chuckled. "And to think--I have four more."

Seven smiled. "Yes. Use a second one," she instructed.

"All right. Let me lubricate it first," Janeway said, pulling her finger out and slathering all her digits in and around the slick folds of Seven's sex. "I can't believe how wet you are."

Seven moaned again.

The captain positioned her index and middle fingers against the puckered opening again and pushed in just the fingertips, pausing to let Seven adjust.

Janeway began twisting her fingertips from side to side just inside the tight ring. "Is this what you like, Seven?"

"Yesss," she hissed. "Oh, Kathryn! Continue doing that....Now....Go all the way inside now."

Janeway rotated her fingers back and forth in more exaggerated twists and began burrowing her way in very slowly until she was penetrating Seven as deeply as she could possibly go.

"There," she announced when she was all the way inside. She began curling her fingers slightly and digging in deeply in a very private petting.

Sensing the rumblings of Seven's orgasm increasing, Janeway skillfully brought her mouth into play, sucking Seven's left nipple in a rhythm that matched the way she was tweaking the nipple on the right and boring into the tiny opening below.

Seven couldn't imagine feeling any more wonderful since her senses were already overloaded with erotic stimuli. As a result, she was not expecting the next sensation. But just as she was beginning to get used to the feel and rhythm of the three-pronged assault, she felt the rough pad of Kathryn's thumb rub itself across the hypersensitive knot of flesh at the apex of the young woman's sex.

"Oh!" Seven cried out.

The thumb then began to whirl around her hooded tip in a tempo and gesture that matched the tweaking sensation at her right nipple, the hot strokes of Kathryn's tongue around her left nipple, and the ticklish, twisting friction deep inside her rear opening. Every point of contact mimicked the same circular motion, as if Kathryn were trying to stir her. Within moments, she sensed herself spiraling toward a perfect ecstasy. And as she felt the low, guttural growl beginning to rumble from the back of her throat, she understood why six times earlier that night, Kathryn had made similarly amazing noises. Remembering how wonderful it was to hear her captain make those sounds in response to what Seven was doing, the young woman cried out with every ounce of energy she had left....and then she was spent.

As she struggled to catch her breath, she could feel Kathryn kissing her way up her bosom and neck and then finding her lips. They kissed deeply, Seven's sex still twitching around Kathryn's now motionless fingers.

"Are you all right?" the captain asked quietly, a touch of humor in her tone.

"I am....impressed," she replied.

Kathryn laughed. "I told you I was skillful."

"You are," Seven agreed, "but that is not what I meant."

"Then what?"

"I am impressed by your ability to endure that experience six times in a row!"

Janeway chuckled. Then she said something that utterly discombobulated the Borg. "Oh, don't worry, Seven. You'll be able to match and probably surpass my record. You'll see," she added as she began slowly stroking the young woman's sex again.

"What? But I--" Seven began to protest.

"You are Borg. You have strength and endurance on your side, remember?" Janeway said, cackling lightly.

"And youth," Seven added without thinking.

"Oh, that one's going to cost you," Kathryn declared in a force-ten voice. She started sucking again on Seven's nipple and then laughed softly around her mouthful as she heard the Borg utter a plaintive, "Oh, no!"


Epilogue

"Well, Doctor?" Janeway asked the following day in Sickbay.

"Seven seems fine, Captain. All scans normal, except...." he trailed off, analyzing the tricorder readout.

"Except?" Janeway asked.

"She's unusually dehydrated. You really need to drink more water, Seven," he scolded.

He guessed he'd made his point when he observed the Borg blushing lightly. But when he noticed the captain's cheeks reddening a bit, too, he wondered if the environmental controls were off.

"Doctor, what I want to know is if Seven is cured?" the captain asked impatiently.

"I'm not certain. You say that telling Seven the ending of the movie is what gave her back control of her implant?"

"That's right."

"Perhaps we were wrong in assuming that the malfunction was caused entirely by the introduction of holographic data into Seven's systems."

"What do you mean?"

"Well, some of this sounds psychosomatic. That would explain why the implant manifested its symptoms as a fixation on you, Captain....Yes," the doctor mused further, "it's all becoming clear now. There are striking resemblances between Seven's psychotic episode and that Norman Bates character from the first movie Lt. Paris showed in his cult-horror series."

Janeway smirked, having tolerated all she could bear of Paris's movies.

"In fact," the doctor continued, "there's a similar Oedipal complexity here in the way Seven's implant was obsessed with the only maternal figure that Sev--"

"Computer, end holographic medical program!" Janeway barked.

Seven snorted in mild amusement.

"Do you have something you'd like to say?" the captain asked in mock warning tones.

The young woman cocked her head in thought. "Yes," she replied after a moment. "I believe I will miss Lt. Paris's 'Horror-Classic Night'."

Janeway couldn't help but laugh at the Borg's quick-witted humor. In an impulse of genuine affection, she clasped the young woman's hand and brought it up to her lips for a kiss, noticing only after the fact that it was the left implant she had grabbed. Speaking to it, she patted it gently and said in a low, husky tone, "Come on, lover, let's go back to my place......And bring the tall blond with you," she added flirtatiously.

The End



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This page is from the Delta Quadrant of Venus website. The site was originally hosted on AOL's hometown pages, which AOL shut down on October 31, 2008. The DQV site was resurrected and moved to this new home on November 30, 2008 because fans asked to have it back. Thank you for your continued interest in my stories. I'm truly touched. --T'ware

Posted December 24, 2000. Updated January 2, 2002, to delete table and add logo graphic.