Scaring Seven: A Halloween Tale
    by Tenderware (tenderware@gate.net)

VOY J/7 NC-17

Warning: No warning if you like lesbian content; if you don't, Beware of Story.

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, not-for-profit, just-for-fun kind of deal. No money exchanged hands; just a few ideas about romance.

Summary: Seven can't understand the allure of Halloween, so Janeway plays a trick on the former Borg to treat her to a few thrills and chills of her own.

Timeframe: General - 6th Season.

Acknowledgments: Thanks to EmptyFlask for the idea of doing a Halloween story and to her and Otter for Beta testing.



 

"It was a dark and stormy night," Seven of Nine recited.

Her forehead crinkled in confusion as she mused over the stock introductory phrase.

"I do not understand. What is the purpose of beginning a 'scary' story with a commentary on the inclement weather conditions?"

B'Elanna Torres rolled her eyes at the question, and Naomi Wildman giggled. Captain Kathryn Janeway subdued them both with a stern look, only half serious. The Doctor, meanwhile, jumped in to provide the former Borg with an explanation.

"It sets a mood, Seven," he explained. "The description isn't about the objective conditions but the subjective sentiments they evoke."

"Yeah," Harry Kim elaborated, "dark, stormy nights make things eerier, more ominous."

Janeway smiled and lounged back comfortably on the couch she was sharing with Seven of Nine, who repositioned herself in turn, unconsciously tilting closer. That made Janeway smile, too.

For one reason or another, the senior officers, along with Naomi and the Talaxian cook and diplomat, Neelix, who was also Naomi's godfather, had all converged on the captain's quarters this evening and now found themselves involved in this informal conversation. Janeway watched them now, scattered about her personal space, making themselves at home. And she adored every minute of it, not minding the little invasion and in fact feeling quite at home herself. It was a motley crew, and, more than that, it was family.

Seven, thank goodness, seemed finally to be finding her place within this family, even if there were still some things about humanity that she didn't quite understand.

"Why would poor illumination and natural precipitation contribute to sensations of mystery and impending danger?" Seven asked dubiously. "The conditions are perfectly explainable, and the chances of being seriously harmed are statistically insignificant. The most likely dangers are bumping one's knee in the dark or getting wet and catching a cold, both of which the Doctor can cure in a matter of minutes. Furthermore, the term 'dark' in the phrase 'a dark night' seems superfluous."

"I concur with your assessment, Seven," Tuvok chimed in. "In my estimation, humans are most prone to redundancy when their associations are illogical, such as this association between a 'dark, stormy night' and danger. Nevertheless, I would remind you that we are discussing human emotions."

"Excellent point, Commander," Seven asserted, glad to have someone finally agreeing with her basic point.

"Not so fast, Tuvok," Janeway broke in, her voice low, deliberate, and commanding. She rose into a sitting position, which Seven instantly regretted for reasons she couldn't explain, quite apart from the fact that it created a cold spot. The rest of the room seemed to quiet and draw itself to attention as the captain visibly prepared to debate the Vulcan.

"First of all, old friend, 'dark' and 'night' are not quite redundant since a moonlit night is a good deal brighter than a night with no moonlight."

"Yeah," Paris blurted, elegant as ever in his show of support for the captain's counterargument.

"Secondly," Janeway continued, "as a security officer, you are no doubt well aware that any number of dangerous acts may be committed at night since the cover of darkness provides better chances of avoiding detection."

"If nothing else, Tuvok, your time in the Maquis would have taught you that lesson," Chakotay grinned, unable to resist the temptation to rib the Starfleet officer who had infiltrated his own Maquis cell.

Janeway pressed on. "In fact, as I recall, during our stopover last week on the planetoid in Doranean space, you were afraid for my safety when I accepted the Mages' invitation to that midnight procession of theirs."

"Not 'afraid', Captain; concerned," Tuvok corrected.

"All right," Janeway smiled. "We'll call them 'concerns'. My point is that the logical connection you made between darkness and your cause for concern is the same as the connection made in this story between dark, stormy nights and danger. The only real difference is that in a ghost story, the sources of danger are the spirits of the dead."

"Which do not exist and are therefore illogical dangers," Seven countered undaunted.

"Indeed," Tuvok recovered, feeling a bit vindicated.

"Captain," Seven persisted, "you have equated a valid concern with an irrational fear."

Kathryn Janeway studied her two officers--Vulcan and Borg--carefully, musing over how best to help them understand the allure of All Hallow's Eve. Neelix had read about it recently in his studies of earth history and had recommended they celebrate it, thus prompting the current discussion of the holiday and its associated pastimes of dressing up, trick-or-treating, and, of course, telling horror tales, which, in turn, had led to this impromptu conversation regarding the elements of a ghost story.

"Seven," Naomi Wildman offered shyly, "whether it makes sense or not, sometimes you can't help being scared. Uhm, and sometimes.....well, sometimes, it's fun."

The adults laughed, not indulgently but sincerely. Naomi was a clever and sensible child, who managed better than most of her elders to cut to the heart of the matter. It was one of the reasons she and the Borg understood each other so well. Naomi was wonderfully direct with her questions to Seven about being Borg and equally forthcoming with her responses to Seven's questions about being human. They were perfectly matched friends.

Janeway marveled at that, too, for the bond between the Borg and the youngest member of her crew confirmed what the captain knew instinctively about her one-time enemy--that Seven of Nine had a tender heart. Even now, as Naomi sat on the floor, she was casually leaned up against Seven's leg and unconsciously trailing her little fingers along the metal casings of the Borg's enhanced left hand. The contact didn't seem to bother Seven, but it did apparently tickle her. She smiled and turned her palm up, taking the little girl's hand in her own. And then in a gentler tone, she responded to Naomi's comment.

"That is what you said yesterday in the holodeck, when you wished me to pretend to be a 'monster' and try to catch you. And then you screamed very loudly when I began to chase you. I still do not understand how that noise indicates that you were having fun."

Again the adults laughed, this time at Seven's astonishment.

"It's about imagining what the monsters are going to do with you once they've nabbed you!" Paris offered, inching his way with mock menace toward Naomi to illustrate the point.

Naomi started to recoil but with evident delight.

"Are they going to eat you?--arr-arr-arr-arr-arr!" he growled, nuzzling Naomi's neck, who shrieked with joy. "Are they going to tickle you?" he asked again, poking the little girl against her sensitive ribs. She laughed at the contact.

"I do not believe we are discussing an actual threat if the worst that could happen is to be tickled?" Seven countered, her eyebrow arching skeptically.

"Well, in your case, Seven, I'm sure the monster could think of more frightening things to do."

The tone was slightly lecherous and--Janeway thought--completely inappropriate, especially considering that a child was present.

B'Elanna apparently concurred with the captain, for she boxed the ensign on the ears with a resounding thud--and his accompanying "ouch!"--and then pinched the lobe to reel him back in. Then she offered her own take on the topic at hand.

"Actually, Seven, you're right. The monsters aren't real. It's all pretend with Halloween. But even in the case of a real threat, there's always something a little thrilling about not knowing what to expect. You can feel your heart pounding, and the adrenalin pumping. Your senses become keen. Your nerves raw. Fear--real or imaginary--can be very exciting."

"Spoken like a true Klingon," Janeway complimented. Her tone, B'Elanna noted, was vaguely like a proud mother's--or maybe that was just a little of the leftover sentiment from the half-Klingon's recent experiences on the Barge of the Dead. She smiled at the bond it had forged between her and the captain.

Janeway acknowledged that bond with a mirrored smile.

"These endeavors seem pointless," Seven replied. "Nevertheless, I am willing to experiment," she added gamely. "Lt. Torres, you may begin to scare me now."

That brought another round of laughter that completely nonplussed the Borg. Even Tuvok's eyes twinkled in thinly veiled amusement, although only Janeway knew him well enough to tell.

"It won't work if you're expecting it, Seven," Naomi explained.

"But you knew when I was chasing you yesterday," the Borg countered in genuine confusion.

"Yes, but I have a good imagination; you don't," the precocious child responded crisply.

Through the laughter, Janeway leaned in close to the Borg's ear with a smile. Then in a low voice that everyone present heard clearly, she spoke with a touch of deliberate formality that did sound vaguely menacing and playful all at once.

"Rest assured, Seven of Nine--if it's a good scare you want, then it's a good scare you're going to get."

Seven shuddered in response.

*****

She walked slowly down the darkened hallway. At this late hour, the ship was always quiet, but tonight she could hear even her own heartbeat. A soft yellow light further down the hall caught her attention. She advanced towards it. The door to the messhall stood oddly ajar. She wondered briefly when the mechanism had failed. She did not recall anyone having reported the malfunction. The narrow opening might have been too small for anyone else, but she easily slipped through it. As she entered the room, a soft moan lured her towards the kitchen. She approached cautiously and slowly peered over the counter.

A large shadow moved easily through the half-lit kitchen and moaned again. Suddenly, it turned towards her.

"Captain!"

"Hello, Neelix. A little late for dinner, isn't it?.....Or are you getting an early start on breakfast?"

"Neither. I am experimenting with these luscious treats. They're just," he moaned again, "sooo good."

Janeway eyed the plate of treats. "They look great, Neelix. May I try one of those eyeballs?"

"Help yourself."

"Mmmm. Is that butter cream?"

"Yes," the Talaxian chef asserted, his nose crinkling proudly. "With a touch of almond extract. And the pupils are chocolate, of course."

"Of course. So is everything ready?"

"I believe so, Captain. Lt. Torres has some final adjustments to make in the program, but it'll be in place by the time Seven comes out of her regeneration cycle tomorrow. And everyone else is set and ready to go."

"Well, you'd better get some sleep soon. We'll have an early start in the morning."

"Yes, Captain. I was just finishing these treats for the party afterward."

"Hph," Janeway responded dubiously. "Just be careful you don't 'finish' too many of them, or you'll get a stomach ache."

Neelix smiled bashfully.

"Goodnight, Neelix."

"Goodnight, Captain."

*****

"Regeneration cycle incomplete," the computer announced.

Seven of Nine abruptly opened her eyes and focused on a red blotch just ahead.

"Captain?....Is something wrong?"

"I don't know, Seven," Janeway replied with apparent alarm in her voice. She had been standing in a shadow and now entered the light.

Seven gasped.

"Captain! The Borg have attacked?!"

"What?" Janeway asked, and then she remembered the implants on her face. She had a metallic semi-circle around her left eye and what appeared to be a starburst implant on her right cheek, both exactly matching Seven's facial implants in their surface detail. She also had her hair swept up in a French twist, like the Borg's. Her attire, too, was suspiciously familiar. It was the typical command red, but the suit itself was a perfect match for Seven's first biometric suit--the shiny one with the high neck. The only other difference, besides the color, was the row of four golden pips fastened to the collar.

Despite her initial alarm that her captain had fallen victim to the Borg, Seven couldn't help noticing how beautiful Janeway looked. Unable to help herself, she let her gaze linger over her captain's unexpectedly provocative form. "Are you all right, Captain?" she asked huskily.

"Oh, yes, Seven. This is just my Halloween costume."

"You dressed.....as me?" Seven asked softly, clearly touched.

"Yes," Janeway responded quickly as if distracted.

Just then, they heard the cargo bay doors begin to open. Without ceremony, the captain grabbed the Borg by the wrist and hauled her quickly behind the alcove, motioning for the young woman to keep quiet.

Seven noticed that the captain seemed almost frightened, and she wondered what precisely was happening. Was the ship under attack? Had one of the crew gone slightly mad? Was the captain going mad? Her behavior was, after all, considerably odd, especially since Seven could never remember seeing Janeway look so apprehensive before.

As the captain cowered uncharacteristically behind the alcove, the former Borg peered curiously around it, trying to see who was entering the cargo bay. She immediately saw two figures, clad in what appeared to be white bedsheets. Seven retrieved a nearby tricorder and scanned the figures for weapons.

"Captain," she advised in low tones, "there are two unarmed individuals. Allow me to determine who they are."

"Seven, no! They followed me here, and I don't know what they are!"

"What do you mean?"

"They don't have life signs!"

Seven smirked skeptically and proceeded to scan the beings for life signs. "The scanners must be malfunctioning," she concluded, her scientific mind unwilling to consider any other explanation. "I see no immediate cause for concern, Captain. We should make contact and see what they want."

"Be careful," Janeway hissed.

Seven stood up and came out from behind the alcove. "You there, in the sheets!" she called in no-nonsense, commanding tones. "State your identities and intentions."

The entities did not respond. They merely continued to float in the middle of the cargo bay.

"No response, Captain," Seven announced with a touch of annoyance in her tone. "I suggest you remain here while I investigate further."

"Seven," the captain began to object.

"It is all right," Seven softly responded. She felt protective of the captain and also warmed by her evident concerns. "I will be careful," she assured her gently.

The young woman did not await a response. Instead, she left the captain's side and moved to within two meters of the entities trying to scan them further.

Suddenly, from behind the alcove, she heard the captain's blood-curdling scream. Before the Borg had made a conscious decision to move, she had leapt in the captain's direction to see what was wrong. When she rounded the corner of the alcove, however, there was no captain. There was only a puddle of crimson on the floor where the captain had been crouching. Seven touched the liquid and studied it. It appeared to be......blood.

Seven stood up suddenly and backed away, instinctively pressing her unguarded back against the nearby bulkhead and scanning the area. She noticed that the two sheeted entities were still present, hovering over the same spot. She kept her eye warily on them as she began trying to determine what had happened to the captain.

"Computer," she called, her voice still remarkably steady, "locate Captain Janeway."

"Captain Janeway's life signs are no longer detectable aboard Voyager."

Seven considered that. Perhaps some sort of transport had been used to remove the captain. "Computer, scan Cargo Bay Two for transport signatures."

"There has been no recent transport to or from Cargo Bay Two."

"Scan for any anomalous energy signatures."

"There are no anomalous signatures."

Despite her inability to explain what had happened to the captain, Seven understood that ship's security had somehow been breached, and protocols were clear about how to proceed.

"Seven of Nine to Tuvok."

No response. That was curious.

"Computer, locate Commander Tuvok."

"Commander Tuvok's life signs are not detectable aboard Voyager."

"Seven of Nine to Chakotay."

Again, no response.

"Computer, is Commander Chakotay aboard Voyager?"

"Commander Chakotay's life signs are not detectable aboard Voyager."

The Borg decided to cut to the chase. "Computer, how many life signs are detectable aboard Voyager?"

The computer chirped as it processed the data. It seemed to Seven that it was taking an inordinately long time to respond, so she repeated her query. "Computer, respond! How many life signs are on Voyager?"

Finally, the feminine voice of the computer did respond.

"One life sign is detectable aboard Voyager."

Seven gasped. Something had apparently gone terribly wrong in the few hours she was regenerating, and now everyone but her appeared to be missing.

"Computer, what happened to the rest of the crew?"

"Unknown."

"Computer, review all data collected within the last five hours while I was regenerating. From that data, determine when the crew began disappearing and try to extrapolate the cause of those disappearances."

Again the computer chirped for what seemed a long time as it processed the data in response to the requested information. Finally, it reported its findings.

"The crew complement began to diminish 3.276 hours ago. Insufficient data to determine the cause of the disappearances. With the exception of Seven of Nine, all of the crew of Voyager appear to be dead."

The conclusion was cold and analytic and would have sent shivers up most people's spines, but Seven of Nine was unwilling to accept that illogical conclusion. There was no evidence to suggest that the crew was dead.

Seven had let her attention slip from the sheeted entities in the middle of the cargo bay, and when she looked again, she was surprised to find that a third entity was now also present.

"Computer, scan the three entities in the middle of Cargo Bay Two. What are they?"

Again, the computer chirped and processed. When it finally responded, Seven was shocked with the findings.

"The entities in the middle of Cargo Bay Two are Naomi Wildman, B'Elanna Torres, and Kathryn Janeway."

Seven quirked an eyebrow. Something in her bristled with evident skepticism. "Computer, moments ago, you reported that the crew of Voyager was dead. How can Naomi, B'Elanna, and the captain be present?"

The computer seemed to huff digitally.

"I do not know."

Seven smirked. Something was not quite right about this scenario. In fact, she felt strongly that someone was trying to trick her. The Halloween phrase "trick-or-treat" suddenly came to mind, and that made Seven wonder if this wasn't all part of the captain's scheme to frighten the former Borg drone. It occurred to her that she might not even be in the cargo bay any more. She decided to test her theory: "Computer, end program."

The computer voice responded, but even though it was clearly the same voice, the tone and rhythm were suddenly different: lilting and mysterious, like the voice Paris had used the evening before when he was pretending to be a ghost.

"Ssssseven of Nine......I will not complyyyyy," the computer intoned. "No program is running......this is reeeeaaaalll."

Seven put her hands on her hips, feeling slightly annoyed. Now she knew for certain that this was what Paris had once described to her as a "prank." Had there truly been an unknown intelligence, the computer, logically, would have responded in its normal tones. That it sounded "ghostly" gave away that members of the crew, probably at the captain's request, had adjusted its programming in line with the Halloween mood.

This prank was clearly designed to give Seven her scare, but the effort was futile. Seven knew, logically, that ghosts did not exist, so to try to frighten her with that pretense was a waste of time. Certain now that she was indeed on the holodeck, she decided to put an end to the farce.

"Computer, emergency override command Seven theta 2-7-6-1. End holodeck program."

Immediately, she heard the slight titter of circuits adjusting, accompanied by a chorus of disappointed exclamations, and then she saw the simulated images of a haunted Voyager cargo bay give way to the holodeck gridlines and the slumped, annoyed figures of nine of her ship mates: Naomi, Neelix, Kim, Paris, Torres, Chakotay, the Doctor, Tuvok, and the captain....all apparently dressed in their Halloween costumes.

"Captain," the Borg began sardonically, "it is good to see that you are indeed unharmed."

Janeway snorted. "Honestly, Seven, you didn't even give it a chance."

"Yes, Seven," Naomi added with evident disappointment, "I didn't even get to say, 'Boo!'"

"'Boo'?" Seven echoed.

"I advised you that this would not work," Tuvok declared. "Seven of Nine is too logical to fall prey to such deceptions."

"Gee, thanks, Tuvok," Paris retorted.

"Doesn't anything scare you, Seven?" Janeway inquired, a touch of exasperation evident in her tone.

"Not ghosts, Captain," the Borg responded easily.

"What a shame," Neelix complained. "We had such an elaborate scheme in place, too. You would have loved it, Seven."

"But Tuvok is correct, Neelix. I do not believe in the existence of undead spirits. Therefore, I could not possibly have fallen for your deception. Furthermore, the scenario was all wrong."

"What do you mean?" Harry asked defensively.

"You should not have recreated the familiar surroundings of the cargo bay. In ghost stories, the standard setting is a 'haunted mansion'. Like this one," she explained. Then to the computer, Seven instructed, "Computer, play Seven of Nine program number thirteen."

Instantly, the ten crew members were transported into a nineteenth-century castle. Janeway noted how similar it looked to the manse in a holonovel she had played a few years earlier, one she had left off playing after a disturbing incident in which the characters had seemed to invade her real life. This manse, however, was darker, with many more unexplained shadows seeming to lurk about and catch the corners of the eyes.

"Seven," she breathed, "this is fantastic!"

There was a shrill, feminine scream from what seemed the upstairs of the manse, and instantly nine spines bristled to attention. Naomi jumped into Neelix's arms, who in turn edged closer to Chakotay.

"What was that?" Harry asked wide-eyed.

"It came from up there," Paris offered, his voice a bit unsteady.

Then they heard a man's scream, almost hysterical in its intensity, and loud enough to impress even the half-Klingon. "Kahless, what a sound!" B'Elanna exclaimed.

"I believe that was the ghost of the murderer," Seven explained matter-of-factly.

"The murderer?" the Doctor inquired.

Of all those present, Seven considered that only the Doctor really had cause for concern since he, too, was a hologram, like the "dangers" in this scenario. Nevertheless, even he should not have been as nervous as he seemed since the holodeck safeties were on. Seven marveled at the way her fellow crew members, even the brave Captain Janeway herself, were reacting. And then she caught the hint of delight twinkling in the captain's eye. She was letting herself get frightened for the sheer enjoyment of it.

"Should we go investigate?" Janeway asked eagerly.

Seven frowned. "As you wish, Captain."

"Who wants to lead the way?" the captain asked.

"I will," Torres volunteered, eager herself for the unexpected adventure.

She began ascending the stairs cautiously, the rest of the crew following very closely behind. A sudden clap of thunder from outside visibly startled everyone present--except Seven, of course. This was followed quickly by another piercing scream, and suddenly Seven felt thin fingers gripping her left bicep.

It was the captain. She smiled a little nervously at Seven. The Borg, however, was nonplussed by the contact and stared back wide-eyed.

Janeway quirked her head at the odd reaction, as if she had made an unexpected discovery. And indeed she had. 'So,' she thought, 'apparently some things do scare my young Borg friend'. The captain filed the information away for later and continued holding the young woman by the arm.

Seven was so distracted that when another scream pierced the air, she too jumped with fright.

Kathryn Janeway smiled to herself.

*****

The command crew and young Ms. Wildman spent an enjoyable day touring through Seven of Nine's haunted mansion program. When they were done, they retired to the messhall for the evening's Halloween celebration, Neelix pulling out the treats he had prepared the night before.

The captain had continued to cling to Seven of Nine anytime something "scary" had "attacked" them, as part of the program, of course. So by the end of the day, Seven was herself a little on edge, confused by her own reactions and decidedly apprehensive by the captain's continued proximity. Some of the others had begun to notice.

B'Elanna and Chakotay were standing by the punch bowl watching the captain and Seven talking.

"The captain seems to be up to something with Seven," B'Elanna observed.

"Yes," Chakotay agreed with a knowing grin. "I think she's figured out what scares Seven."

"What?" the chief engineer asked curiously.

Chakotay's eyes twinkled at her mischievously. "Romance," he said simply.

Torres let out a surprised breath and considered. "Huh. So the captain is pretending to seduce Seven," she stated. "Or is she pretending?"

"Does it matter?" Chakotay shrugged.

"I don't think she's pretending," B'Elanna observed casually.

"No, I don't think she is," he smiled back.

"It's about time."

Paris overheard that last comment. "What's about time?" he asked.

"The captain is seducing Seven," B'Elanna explained, "as her Halloween scare."

"Really," Paris stated. "This should be interesting to watch.....Hey, Harry," the pilot called out, "come take a look at this."

"What's up?" Kim asked, joining the small group that was gathered in one corner of the messhall observing Seven and the captain.

"Captain Janeway has come up with a way of scaring Seven for Halloween. She's flirting with her."

"Oh, yeah?" Harry smiled. "Do you think that'd scare Seven?"

"Absolutely," Chakotay offered. "Haven't you ever noticed how nervous Seven gets around the captain? I think she's had a crush on her for months."

"I think so, too," Paris agreed. "And it's got to be affecting her even more to see the captain dressed like Seven herself. Imitation is the highest form of flattery."

"Yeah, and I'm sure Seven picked up on that," Harry added. "Did you notice the way she stared at the captain when she first saw her dressed like that on the holodeck?"

"I noticed," Paris responded, smiling almost lecherously.

"Poor Seven," B'Elanna commented, to everyone's surprise. She caught her shipmates' reaction and explained. "Well, I mean, she's really out of her depth with Captain Janeway, isn't she?"

The group laughed quietly. Then they nodded knowingly amongst themselves as they overheard Janeway feigning a dizzy spell and asking Seven to help her to her quarters.

The Doctor heard, too, and started to move towards the captain with his medical tricorder in hand, but Paris forestalled him.

"No, Doc, it's an act," he whispered.

"Yeah," Kim added, "the captain is just trying to get Seven alone. Pretend not to notice them when they pass by."

The group turned away from the two women and seemed suddenly very interested in a section of bulkhead as Janeway and Seven made their way to the door.

Janeway had, of course, caught their inspection and understood that they knew what she was up to. She marveled at how terribly amused everyone seemed that she was flirting with the Borg to give her her Halloween scare.....everyone but Seven, of course. She couldn't resist the temptation to add a little more to the young woman's apprehension.

"Seven, I'm going to need you with me the rest of the evening, so say, 'good night' to everyone."

The young woman swallowed nervously and then complied. "Good night, everyone."

A chorus of amused "good nights" trailed the two women out the messhall doors.

*****

Seven of Nine stood almost at attention in the middle of the captain's living quarters.

"Are you feeling better, Captain?" she hazzarded, warily eyeing the older woman.

"Much better," Janeway responded, as she made her way to the replicator. "But not well enough for you to leave me alone yet," she added, riveting the young woman in place. "Can I get you something to drink?"

She fully expected Seven's habitual "I-do-not-require-liquid-refreshment" reply. So she was surprised when Seven said, "Yes, I'd like a champagne, Captain."

"Two champagne cocktails," the captain ordered. She made her way back to the young woman and handed her the drink. "I thought champagne interfered with the proper functioning of your cortical implant?" Janeway teased.

"My thought processes are somewhat.....erratic at the moment. I find that I desire something that will interfere with my thinking."

Janeway smiled. "So," she began in low, seductive tones, "you haven't told me yet what you think of my cortical implant."

"That is not a cortical implant, Captain," Seven corrected. "As you said, it is merely a costume."

"Yes, but, do you like it?"

Seven took a sip from her champagne before responding, uncertain why the captain's tone was unnerving her so. "It is....intriguing."

"Do you think it flatters me?" Janeway asked flirtatiously.

The young woman inhaled slowly, trying to decide how to respond. Nothing occurred to her other than an honest, "Yes."

The captain smiled winningly. "You know, Seven, I've always found a little ornamentation over the brow to be very alluring."

Seven nervously evaded the implied compliment. "Is Commander Chakotay aware of this?" she asked, alluding to Chakotay's own tattooed brow.

"Aware of his own attraction? Yes, I believe so," Janeway responded whimsically.

She instinctively understood that Seven was trying to deflect her attention, but the Starfleet captain was not going to allow herself to be diverted from her present course. "The question is, are you aware of how attractive you are?" she asked seductively.

The young woman considered that perhaps the champagne or something in Neelix's "eyeball" treats or some other unknown toxin was causing this strange psychotic episode on the part of the captain. She wondered if she shouldn't perhaps call the Doctor. She was also growing uneasy about the way Janeway was prowling around her, and found herself compelled to turn as the captain circled her so that she could keep the smaller woman in her line of sight.

"What are you doing, Captain?"

"What does it look like I'm doing?" Janeway responded with evident amusement.

Seven arched an eyebrow. "You appear to be stalking me."

The captain grinned. "Yes," she said slowly. "You are my prey."

"That is ridiculous."

"Is it?" Janeway countered rhetorically. "Well, then," she continued, slowly approaching the young woman, "why not just let yourself be caught?"

The tone made Seven want to back away, but she stood her ground valiantly, sensing that the captain was trying to frighten her and unwilling to lose the challenge.

Janeway stopped barely a breath away from Seven and did something very unusual indeed. She sniffed her.

"You smell delicious," she growled. "Good enough to eat."

Seven swallowed nervously.

"What are you feeling?" Janeway asked slowly.

The young woman considered it. "Apprehension...I think. I am not sure."

"Is your heart racing?" the captain asked in low, intimate tones.

"Yes."

"And your breathing is more rapid?"

"Yes. And my stomach....feels odd. It is....quivering."

Janeway smiled. "You're frightened," she concluded triumphantly. "I promised you a good scare, remember?"

"Yes," Seven answered tightly.

Janeway studied her closely. "Are you enjoying the scare?"

Seven considered, her breathing becoming more ragged as she felt the heat of the captain's body so near to her own. "Yes," she admitted finally.

Janeway took the champagne glass from Seven's hand and put it next to her own glass on the nearby table. Then she resumed her close inspection of the young woman. "Tell me, Seven," she began again, teasingly. "Why are you afraid of me?"

"I am not afraid of you, Captain."

"Kathryn," the captain corrected.

Seven gasped. "Kathryn?"

"Yes, call me 'Kathryn'. We're friends, after all. Seven and Kathryn. There's a bond between us, remember? We trust each other. We've been through so much together, Seven......so why do I frighten you now?"

"Because you are behaving strangely.....Kathryn.....and I do not know what you are going to do next."

"What do you think I might do?" Kathryn whispered, barely a breath from Seven's face.

"I.....I believe you are going to...." Seven licked her dry lips. "To kiss me."

There was a hint of something in the captain's eyes, but Seven couldn't quite read the expression.

"I might kiss you," Kathryn confirmed simply. "How does that make you feel now?"

The young woman took a short breath through her parted lips. "Wet," she said honestly.

Surprise flashed briefly across the captain's face, then she smiled knowingly. "You're aroused?" she asked and explained all at once.

"Yes....'aroused'."

"Because I'm going to kiss you."

"Yes," Seven affirmed with a visible shudder.

"And this scares you?" the captain hissed against the Borg's full lips.

"Yes," Seven gasped.

"Why?"

The young woman cast about the blue-grey eyes for help. "Because....because I do not want it to be pretend," she finally blurted.

Kathryn's heart clutched at the unexpected response, and she felt suddenly guilty. She was sincere about her seduction but hadn't realized until that moment how much that sincerity mattered to the typically aloof Borg.

"This is no trick, my darling," she responded honestly.

"It is my 'treat' then?" Seven asked innocently, still caught up in the evening's theme.

The captain smiled magnificently. "You tell me."

Finally, Kathryn pressed her aching lips against Seven's, needing the fleshy contact of the young woman's hot, wet lips against her own hungry mouth. As soon as she tasted Seven's sweet breath, her heart pounded in her ears from the sheer joy of their long-awaited kiss. She realized suddenly that she had been wanting this contact for a very long time.

The shy kiss escalated almost immediately into the scintillating passion they both felt for each other. Kathryn opened her mouth and licked across Seven's lips, requesting entry. The young woman instinctively complied, parting her lips and then rocked by the intensity of emotions she felt from the way Kathryn's tongue caressed her--the rough, wet muscle massaging her own in a form of contact that Seven found unexpectedly arousing. Several moments later, they parted, gasping for air.

Seven was surprised to discover that her hands had moved up to Kathryn's back to hold her in place. The captain did not seem to mind the touch, so the young woman indulged herself. Breathing heavily, she caressed the palms of her hands against the captain's back, up to the shoulders, along the arms. Her gaze connected with Kathryn's, and she understood that the captain was going to allow these exploratory caresses. In fact, Kathryn seemed to be inviting the exploration. So Seven became more daring.

Staring intently into Kathryn's eyes, she trailed her hands back up Kathryn's arms and then slowly down the smaller woman's spine. Kathryn's breathing was also ragged, especially as Seven's hands reached the captain's waist and hesitated.

Kathryn's lips parted.

She hugged Seven closely and kissed her cheek, then slowly trailed her lips to the Borg's soft ear. She heard the young woman gasp as she licked the fleshy lobe and then began to suck gently on it, finally pressing the tip of her tongue along the curve of the ear. When she was satisfied she had the Borg's attention, she whispered to her plaintively. "Don't be afraid, Seven....I want you to touch me."

Seven shuddered and then complied, finally petting her hands over the smooth curve of Kathryn's hips and then squeezing her buttocks possessively.

Now it was Kathryn's turn to gasp.

"What now?" Seven asked, her tone gentle and expectant. "Trick?....or Treat?" she added more suggestively.

Kathryn smiled. "Treat," she said kissing Seven and starting to press her backwards toward the bedroom. "Treat," she said again, planting another kiss as they got closer. "And another treat," she said as they moved passed the doorway and toward the bed. "And now," she growled, "it's time for a few tricks."

She pressed Seven gently but firmly onto the bed and then settled seductively on top of her, slithering her body provocatively along the Borg's length and then grinding their pelvises together in erotic motion.

"Kathryn," Seven gasped. "That is a good trick!"

The rich, throaty laugh that met her ears curled Seven's toes. She smiled into the auburn hair of her companion and then watched as the captain pulled away a bit to meet the Borg's eyes.

"If you like that trick now," Kathryn began, "just wait and see how much better it gets when we do it with our clothes off."

Seven swallowed again apprehensively.

Kathryn caught that reaction, too. "Still scared, my love?"

"Not scared, Kathryn. Just eager.....and a little sad."

"Sad?" the captain asked with concern. "Why sad, darling?"

"Because Halloween comes only once a year," she said smiling.

Kathryn Janeway smiled back. "But I don't," she responded flirtatiously, certain that Seven would not catch the double meaning.

To her utter surprise, the former Borg began to laugh softly.

Then, amidst the sounds of zippers unzipping, lips kissing, and breaths gasping, Kathryn and Seven felt a haunting loneliness retreat from their hearts. And as it was replaced by the warmth and security of their mutual affection and desire, Seven realized she was no longer scared to be loved.

"Kathryn?" she softly called moments later.

"Yes, Seven?"

"I am no longer afraid to touch you."

The former Borg demonstrated in an unexpectedly intimate fashion.

"Seven!" Kathryn gasped. And immediately she felt her body surrender to her companion's deliciously probing fingers. "Ohhhh, Sssseven......"

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 November 30, 1999. Updated January 2, 2002, to delete table and add logo graphic.