“Oh my god, they killed Chakotay!”
Written April 2005 for the JDI Challenge 2
Timeframe: Sixth season, some time after The Voyager Conspiracy and Fair Haven
Disclaimer: The characters belong to Paramount, this is just a bit of fun. A couple of warnings - it features all female action, so look away now if that’s not your thing, and there’s also some rather darkly comic violence, but hey, it’s only Chakotay getting it!
Thanks: nods to Groundhog Day, South Park and Monty Python, which all had an influence on this story, also to JeriKate5 at janewayseven.com for sparking the original idea off in my head.
Picture Used For Inspiration: Set 5, Picture 3 – Fight!
“Chakotay, can you come to my Ready Room, please?”
Captain Kathryn Janeway sat down on the expansive sofa in her office, crossing her legs neatly as she awaited the entrance of her First Officer. The doors below swished open and Chakotay’s eyes quickly scanned the room before locating the Captain on the upper level. He took the couple of steps and stood in front of her, waiting to be invited to sit down. Janeway had noted the eager look that had crept into his eyes as soon as he entered and saw she was sitting on the sofa and obviously in relaxed mode. If only he knew.
“Would you like some coffee?” offered Janeway, indicating the pot she had prepared and placed on the low table before her.
“Yes, please,” replied Chakotay with a smile, coming to sit next to Janeway.
So predictable, noted Janeway to herself with grim satisfaction. She had wondered what she might have to do to persuade him if he’d refused a drink, but she needn’t have worried.
Janeway leaned forward and carefully poured the coffee, having to make a conscious effort to stop her hands from shaking. She wasn’t sure if it was anxiety or the thrill of anticipation that was causing it.
“Is everything all right, Captain?” asked Chakotay while she was placing the pot back on the tray.
Damn, I need to get a grip!
“Of course, Commander,” she replied evenly, handing him his coffee with a deliberately steadied hand.
He took the proffered drink, cupping it in his hands for a moment as he spoke. “Well, that encounter with the Rangar earlier was certainly strange,” he offered conversationally.
Janeway watched Chakotay’s large hands as they absently toyed with the cup. She had to mentally shake herself when she realised she was staring. “Yes, very odd indeed,” she agreed eventually.
Chakotay showed no sign at having thought anything of her hesitation. “To stop us in space like that, scan us, and then just fly off again without a word. We wouldn’t have even known who they were if those traders back on Cetris Prime hadn’t mentioned them to us. I can’t see why they warned us, though, the Rangar seemed harmless enough.”
Janeway snorted quietly to herself. Chakotay caught the small outburst and looked at her with a puzzled expression. “Captain?”
“Nothing,” she replied dismissively, avoiding meeting his eyes. She reached forward to pick up her own drink. “I guess you’re right, there was nothing to worry about after all where the Rangar were concerned.”
Janeway brought her mug to her lips but was careful not to let the liquid touch them. Her eyes flicked up over the rim to surreptitiously study Chakotay. As she had hoped he was following suit, his own mug inching towards his mouth. She could feel her own breath, hot as it bounced back off the steel mug she held close to her face. She was focussed so intently on Chakotay’s cup, and its agonisingly journey to his mouth, that everything else faded into the background. All she was left with was the mug and her own hammering heart. Time itself seemed to have slowed as she waited for him to drink.
Finally Chakotay’s mug tilted upwards, the bob in his throat indicating he had swallowed some of the drink. Janeway held back the sigh of relief that threatened to spill out.
Chakotay lowered his mug, looking down at its contents. “Is it a new blend?”
Janeway coughed to cover up her surprise at the question. “I just added a little something extra to spice it up,” she confirmed after a moment.
“Well, it certainly is interesting,” he remarked taking another swig.
Janeway smiled. “I’m glad you like it.”
Janeway was grateful Tuvok’s summons had interrupted their meeting. Placing her still full mug back down, she rose and strode out onto the bridge. “Report,” she demanded, standing in the middle of the command centre, hands on hips as she faced her Chief of Security.
“The Rangar are approaching again at warp 6,” Tuvok informed her, “They will reach our position in 5 minutes.”
Bang on time.
Janeway lowered herself into her chair, placing her hands on the armrests as she stared at the viewscreen towards the front of the bridge. Out of the corner of her eye, she registered Chakotay taking up his place to her left. She resolutely kept her eyes trained forward, despite the temptation to turn and watch the result of her handiwork.
A slight gurgling sound was the first indication that something was happening. That was followed by some louder coughs and splutters as Chakotay staggered to his feet, clutching at his chest. Janeway remained where she was, refusing to look.
Harry Kim was first to react, as Chakotay stumbled in his direction, grabbing onto the handrail that separated the levels of the bridge. The young ensign quickly dashed round to catch Chakotay before he fell.
“Commander, what is it? What’s wrong?”
Chakotay just grimaced in Harry’s arms. “Urgh,” he moaned, “My stomach….on fire…”
Janeway could resist the urge no longer. She rose from her seat and swivelled round in time to see Chakotay projectile vomiting all over the front of Harry’s uniform. She noted that it was a particularly impressive shade of green as it dripped down the black cloth. The shocked ensign released his hold, letting Chakotay slump onto the carpeted deck. Chakotay writhed about for a couple of seconds before his body went rigid.
Harry looked from his ruined uniform to the still form at his feet. “Oh my god, someone killed Chakotay!”
Janeway felt a dozen stunned eyes turning in her direction, waiting for her instruction.
“Take him to sickbay,” she commanded without inflection, “The doctor can perform an autopsy.”
“Captain?” questioned Harry.
“Did you not hear me, Mr Kim?”
“Er, no, I mean, yes, Captain,” stammered Harry.
Janeway calmly sat back down in her seat as the activity continued behind her. It was funny how it got easier to kill him each time.
“Computer, what time is it?” she asked.
“Computer, perform a five second countdown to 20:00 hours,” instructed Janeway, leaning back into the familiar curves of her chair.
Janeway disregarded the strange looks she was getting from the rest of the bridge crew at her continued indifference to what had just occurred. Instead, she sombrely waited for the countdown to begin.
“Captain, the Rangar are powering engines….”
“They’ve gone, warp 6. Shall I pursue?”
Janeway sighed and gave the command she had given numerous times already, “No, Mr Paris, set a course for the Alpha Quadrant, warp 7.”
“Aye, Captain,” replied Tom, swinging back round and making the necessary inputs.
“I’ll be in my Ready Room,” Janeway informed Chakotay as she rose from her seat. It was still disconcerting to see him sitting next to her, alive and well every time, like nothing had happened.
Slumping into the chair in her office, Janeway closed her eyes and let out a long sigh. How many times was this going to go on? She wearily rubbed her hand across her face, realising she didn’t even know when the last time she slept was, especially as time had ceased to have any proper meaning. Her eyes drifted down to the computer terminal perched on her desk. Flashing on it was a message from the Rangar, mocking her as it had done every time since this thing had started. She angrily slapped the button to turn the screen off. She already knew what it said and didn’t need the taunting reminder.
Janeway got up and paced over to the large window as she considered her next move. The stars zipped past and she watched the streaks of light hoping they might provide some inspiration.
This was the eighteenth time she’d been back at this point in time now, with she being the only one on board who seemed to realise they were stuck in some sort of temporal loop. The loop was fairly short, encompassing the point from where the Rangar flew off the first time up until 20:00 that same evening – a total of six hours. The first couple of times through the loop had been confusing, until she had realised what was going on. The message from the Rangar was a riddle, one that she had to solve in order to break out of the loop.
Janeway had no idea about how the Rangar had managed to trap them in this period of time, and scans in earlier iterations of the loop had proved unhelpful in illuminating the cause of the phenomenon. No wonder the traders on Cetris Prime had warned the crew of Voyager to avoid the mysterious aliens if at all possible. Not that they’d had much chance to do that, Janeway thought ruefully. The Rangar had appeared pretty much out of nowhere, performed their scan and then disappeared again without any kind of communication, save the message to her computer terminal.
The first ten or so times through the loop, she had discussed the situation with the senior staff but their collective talents had been unable to shed any light on the problem. They had also tried pursuing the Rangar, but every time the alien ship just disappeared from sensors after a few minutes. After that Janeway had gotten tired of repeating the same explanation time and time again, since no one else remembered having heard it before. In the end she had resolved not to bother taking the others into her confidence on subsequent cycles. It had obviously fallen to her to solve the riddle, and solve it she would even if it took her forever. It wasn’t as if she was pressed for time after all.
Anyway, having perused the message, one thing had immediately sprung to mind as a way to break the cycle of time. She hadn’t wanted to mention it to the rest of the crew in the loops she had involved them, but as soon as she realised it was down to her alone she couldn’t ignore the obvious any longer. There was one thing that had been plaguing her thoughts for a while and it was obviously that to which the Rangar were referring in their riddle.
As Janeway thought back, she realised it was shortly after the incident where Seven had downloaded too much data into her cortical node that the thoughts in question had started to pre-occupy her. During that incident, Seven had summoned Janeway and informed her of an elaborate plot by Chakotay to overthrow her in a Maquis mutiny. Janeway had dismissed it as pure fantasy on Seven’s part at the time, caused by the overload of information in Seven’s brain. Yet it had planted the seeds of doubt in her mind, and over time she had begun to consider that perhaps Seven’s accusations weren’t quite so fanciful after all.
Chakotay had been reasonably loyal for their first three years in the Delta Quadrant, but then Seven had come on board and everything had changed, including his attitude. He had grown more and more insubordinate, challenging Janeway’s decisions on numerous occasions, such as the time with the Borg and Species 8472 or when they had encountered the Equinox. She wasn’t sure what was behind it, but she knew that she had to watch her back.
When she’d started to have dreams, where she enacted different ways to dispose of her First Officer, she had been somewhat disturbed, but at least she had been able to dismiss them for what they were – night-time fantasies that she would never actually put into practice. Then they had encountered the Rangar and their insidious riddle. The wording of it had left Janeway in no doubt that they were referring to her dreams. In order to break the loop she had to kill Chakotay.
Only she had tried it seven times already without any sign of the loop ending.
The first time had been the hardest. Waiting for him in the cargo bay, her hands had trembled on the gun that lay in them. As Chakotay entered it had taken all her will and determination to raise the weapon and cut him down in cold blood. She had quickly left after that, unable to even look at his dead body on the deck as the guilt had threatened to consume her.
However, come 20:00, she had subsequently found herself right back at 14:00 again, with Chakotay by her side. At that point Janeway had experienced equal parts relief that he wasn’t dead, and annoyance that she would have to kill him again, since she had determined that there must be a specific way the Rangar were expecting her to kill him. There had certainly been many different methods in her dreams, so she supposed she would just have to keep trying until she’d attempted them all or the loop stopped.
She’d tried phasering him again on the second attempt, just to check whether that really was the incorrect method. However, knowing that time would most likely be reset, she had been able to take the opportunity to really study the shocked look on his face as she cornered him in the cargo bay. He’d even pathetically pleaded for his life a couple of times before she’d ruthlessly pulled the trigger. The surprising degree of satisfaction that swept through her as she stood over his lifeless form had been not a little disturbing to her.
The third time, she’d gone for another of the more frequent methods from her dreams – flushing him out the airlock. It had been interesting watching the way his eyes bulged in the vacuum of space as his lifeless body drifted away into the blackness. It was just a shame that the attempt had proved to be as futile as the phaser rifle.
There had then followed several more fruitless efforts before she got to the poison in the coffee on the seventh attempt at killing him, the seventeenth time through the loop itself. She had been slightly reluctant to sully her favourite drink with the foreign substance, but had resolved to herself that it was in a good cause. She hadn’t realised it would be quite so messy, though, and poor Harry hadn’t deserved to be covered in that spectacular spray of vomit. Mind you, she supposed that from the ensign’s point of view it had never happened anyway.
Which brought her to the current iteration of the loop. Janeway racked her brains as she contemplated what to try this time. She certainly had plenty of options to choose from – her mind had been rather active when it came to dreaming up ways of disposing of Chakotay. With each passing day since she had rescued Seven from herself, Janeway had found new ways that Chakotay annoyed her, each one of those sparking new ideas of ways to hurt him. It had got to the point where Janeway could barely hold a conversation with him without the urge to smash his smug, tattooed face into the bulkhead.
Of course she had restrained herself, but the current situation had suddenly given her free reign to attempt what she had only dreamed of. It was almost like some sort of game, the chance to give in to her desires without risk of consequence. Every time she killed him, Chakotay was just back there again. It occurred to Janeway that there was always the possibility that she would eventually break the loop and her First Officer would really be dead. However, with each passing cycle that seemed more and more remote, along with her connection to reality.
Gathering herself for the task ahead, Janeway tugged down her tunic and headed back out onto the bridge. The crew were going about their everyday tasks as she crossed to her chair, completely oblivious to the fact that this was the eighteenth time they had lived these few hours. Janeway continued to wonder why she was the only one to be cursed with the knowledge that they were repeating themselves over and over.
Noting that Chakotay was busy over at the science station, Janeway set about putting her latest plan into action, calling up the relevant data on her chair-side console. Having made the necessary adjustments she sat back and waited for her efforts to come to fruition. It was some thirty minutes later when she heard the telltale beeping coming from the operations station behind her.
“Captain, we’ve got a problem on the forward sensor array,” Harry Kim called down.
Janeway craned round to look at him. “A ‘problem’ Mr Kim? Could you be more specific?” Of course she knew full well what the problem was, but she needed to act like it was a surprise.
“Er, no, the readings are erratic…I don’t understand it,” replied Harry, looking down at his display with a bemused look on his face.
Janeway joined Harry at his station, giving the readouts a summary glance for show. “You’re right, the readings are odd. I guess someone needs to go out there and take a look. Commander?”
Chakotay swivelled round in his seat. “You want me to go out there?”
“Yes, I need Harry at this end monitoring things.”
“But surely someone from engineering…B’Elanna…Vorik…”
“Are you questioning my order, Commander?” Janeway made a point of emphasising his rank. This was exactly the sort of thing that had annoyed her about the Chakotay in the first place. If she had any lingering doubts about what she was doing, this only helped to reassure her that she was right.
“No, of course not,” Chakotay responded, getting up and heading for the turbolift, “I’m on my way.”
Janeway wandered down to the lower level, nonchalantly going over to stand next to Tom. “Drop us out of warp, Mr Paris, we don’t want the Commander flying off the hull after all.” At least not yet.
After a few minutes there was some more beeping from operations. “The Commander is accessing the sensor array controls,” Harry informed them.
Janeway merely nodded at receiving the information and then leant forward ever so slightly on the console in front of her, making sure her palm hit just the right control. The ship suddenly burst into life again, the streaks of light of the forward viewscreen evidence that they had jumped to warp once more.
“What the hell?” cried Tom frantically running his hands over the controls to work out what had gone wrong and bringing the ship to a dead stop once more.
“What happened Mr Paris?” demanded Janeway.
“I don’t know, Captain, I swear I didn’t do anything!”
Janeway swung round to look at Harry, who was desperately staring down at his controls. “The Commander?” she asked, trying her best to sound concerned.
Harry looked up with a distressed look on his face. “We’ve lost him.”
Janeway just managed to keep her command mask in place, though it was hard to hold back the smile.
“Wait!” said Harry suddenly, “I’m getting a signal…”
“What?” cried a confounded Janeway.
“Yes, it’s faint…he’s ahead of us, he must have got catapulted off the hull when we stopped.”
Damn! Chakotay was obviously more resilient than Janeway had given him credit for. Unluckily for him, she was equally as determined to accomplish her mission.
“Can you bring him up on the viewscreen?”
Harry obliged, the image of Chakotay floating in space in his environmental suit filling the display in front of Janeway. Janeway repeated her previous console-leaning manoeuvre, pretending she was just squinting at the screen. Once again the ship leapt forwards. Since Chakotay was only a few hundred kilometres in front of them, there was no chance for Tom to react before Chakotay impacted forcefully on the outside of the screen.
Janeway heard a number of groans of revulsion from those around her and a fair few sets of eyes were diverted from the gruesome vision in front of them. She herself stared grimly at the screen. Chakotay’s brains had been smashed quite spectacularly over it, extending to all four corners of the large display. What remained of him slipped up the screen before flying up over the top of the ship, leaving only an ugly red smear over the outside of the screen.
“Oh my god, I killed Chakotay,” said Tom quietly, his face ashen.
Janeway put a reassuring hand on his shoulder. “It’s all right, Mr Paris, it was an accident, no one is blaming you.”
Janeway turned to the rest of the crew. “The Commander will be missed, but this was just a tragic accident. Harry, can you lock onto his body and beam it to the morgue.”
Of course she couldn’t really care less if they left it floating in space, but she had to be seen to be doing the right thing.
“I’ll be in my Ready Room,” she added, fixing a mournful look on her face, to make the crew think she was so overcome with grief that she needed to go and be on her own for a bit. She even managed to squeeze a tear out, though it was a supreme effort.
Come 19:59 Janeway was back in her command chair, waiting and hoping that this time she would make it to 20:00. Glancing to her right, she watched the seconds tick by on the chronometer:
“Captain, the Rangar are powering engines….”
“They’ve gone, warp 6. Shall I pursue?”
“No, Mr Paris, set a course for the Alpha Quadrant, warp seven.”
Janeway rested her head glumly on her hand as Tom followed her order.
“That was certainly odd,” noted Chakotay from next to her.
What’s even odder is that you’re still here!
“They didn’t even make any attempt at communication.”
“Captain, are you listening?”
Janeway jolted out of her inner thoughts. “Huh, oh yes, sorry, Chakotay, I was just pre-occupied.”
“Anything you’d care to share?”
Janeway couldn’t help laughing, “I don’t think so.”
“Now you’ve got me intrigued,” noted Chakotay, leaning across the console that separated them.
“Actually,” remarked Janeway as an idea started to coalesce in her brain, “You might be able to help me out…”
“Yes?” prompted the Commander, practically leaping over the console in his eagerness to ingratiate himself with her. Janeway just found it sickening. She suspected that Chakotay still harboured thoughts of some sort of romantic relationship with her. She realised she should never have encouraged him, those first few years on board. It had been fun at the time, toying with him by flirting just enough to string him along. How was she to know that he wouldn’t let it drop when she had long since lost interest in her little game?
Still, at times like this, his desperation was useful. Janeway leaned slightly closer, to give the impression of a private conversation, for their ears only, dropping her voice a couple of notches too. “A few things have been troubling me recently. I was hoping that you might be able to help me contact my spirit guide again.”
Chakotay looked surprised. “You want to contact your spirit guide? I thought you had forgotten all about that after that first attempt five years ago. You’ve never even mentioned it since.”
Rather than give voice to the scathing thoughts that were really on her mind, Janeway shrugged. “If you don’t want to help me…”
“No, no, of course I will, I was just surprised that’s all,” Chakotay quickly noted.
“Good, my quarters at 19:00 then?”
Chakotay grinned as soon as she mentioned her quarters. “It’s a date.”
Janeway groaned internally. “Well, I have some work to do,” she remarked as she rose from her chair, “I’ll see you later.”
Satisfied that she had carried out all the necessary preparations, Janeway crossed to the replicator in her quarters. She deliberated over what to order for a moment, considering something stronger than her usual.
“Coffee, black.” She needed to keep a clear head for now.
Removing her black and red tunic top she flung it over the back of one of the chairs, before taking the drink and sitting over on the couch. Sipping tentatively from it, Janeway glanced out at the passing stars, before closing her eyes for a moment. She sincerely hoped she got out of this loop soon, the repetition was beginning to wear her down, not to mention the killing she was forced to perform with each cycle. She had to remind herself again that it was necessary if this was ever going to end. The chime of the door broke her out of her reverie.
“Come in,” she called, turning her attention to Chakotay as he entered, his furry medicine bundle under his arm.
“Good evening, Kathryn.”
Janeway ground her teeth as her name came out of this mouth like they were great friends. She didn’t know why she had ever given him the privilege of being able to call her by her first name, but she could hardly take it back now without appearing petty. She just added it to the long list of annoyances.
“Shall we set up here?” Janeway indicated the coffee table in front of her.
“Fine my me,” replied Chakotay, coming over and lowering himself to the floor by the table.
Janeway joined him, crossing her legs as he unfurled his bundle on the table. Chakotay went through each of the items as he got them out. “A blackbird’s wing, a stone from the river, an Acuna.”
Janeway felt a slight quickening of her pulse at the mention of the last item - the Acuna - the device Chakotay’s people used in place of herbs to facilitate the vision quest. Janeway knew all about it from the last time she had contacted her spirit guide. She had been less than impressed on finding her guide was supposed to be a dozy-looking lizard.
“Now, just place your hand on the Acuna…” continued Chakotay.
“Actually,” Janeway interrupted, “I was wondering if you could show me how you contact your spirit guide first. I’d like to see how an expert does it.”
Chakotay’s eyebrows raised slightly, crinkling the tattoo on his forehead. “Ok, I don’t see why not,” he replied after a moment’s thought.
Janeway smiled to herself – she had banked on the false flattery being enough for him to agree. She slid the small electronic device in his direction. “I think you’ll be needing this,” she noted, amazed she could even keep her voice steady.
Chakotay took a few deep breaths, preparing himself for his quest. Janeway did the same to calm her own nerves, though hers were nothing to do with spirit guides.
Chakotay reached out his hand and placed it on the Acuna. Janeway’s own hands gripped the cloth of her trousers as she waited, holding her breath.
Janeway watched with satisfaction as the jolt of electricity arced out of the Acuna and through Chakotay’s body. It had been simple sneaking into his quarters earlier and tampering with the device, so that a shock was discharged as soon as he uttered the trigger word. Chakotay continued to jerk wildly as the electricity flowed, his eyes briefly alighting on Janeway’s face in between spasms. Seeing the look of cool indifference to his plight that sat there, Chakotay’s eyes bulged in shock. He tried to speak, but his teeth clamped firmly together in a final death spasm before his lifeless form flopped forwards onto the table.
Janeway calmly clambered up off the floor and used her boot to shove him off the table onto the floor. She didn’t want him cluttering up the place. Wiping the toe of her boot on the carpet, she crossed back over to the replicator. Now she could reward herself with a whiskey.
Settling back down with her drink, she glanced down at Chakotay, his accusing eyes staring back at her from beyond death. A small part of her mind told her she should be more disconcerted that the charred form of her First Officer was on her carpet, yet she felt oddly detached. No doubt he would be alive again in a moment anyway.
“Computer, what time is it?”
“Computer, at 19:59 perform a five second countdown into 20:00”
Janeway drained her glass and lay back down on the couch, ignoring the slight smell of burnt flesh that wafted up from below her as she closed her eyes and waited. The sound of the ordered countdown roused her from slumber some forty minutes later.
“Captain, the Rangar are powering engines….”
“They’ve gone, warp 6. Shall I pursue?”
“No, Mr Paris,” stated Janeway in exasperation, “Set a course for the Alpha Quadrant, warp seven.”
Tom stared at her for a moment, having caught the odd tone. She merely glared back at him until he swivelled round and did as he had been ordered.
“I’m going to my quarters,” Janeway said curtly to Chakotay as she started for the turbolift.
“Captain? Are you all right?” he asked, standing up to watch her departure.
“Yes, just great,” she snapped back.
The swish of the turbolift doors as they closed behind Janeway prevented him from saying anything further. Janeway sighed and closed her eyes as she leant back against the wall of the lift, which vibrated slightly during the rapid descent. She hadn’t felt this strung out since the incident with the aliens who ran covert experiments on the crew over two years previously. Only that time she’d had the excuse of her dopamine levels being cranked up to explain things. This time her mind felt like she hadn’t slept for about a week, which she supposed it nearly must be by now, in actual hours elapsed since the loops began.
The barest of jolts signalled the lift had reached its destination and Janeway opened her eyes again as the doors slid open. Just as she was stepping through them she stopped for a second. She looked to her side at where the door had disappeared into the bulkhead, a smile creeping across her face.
With renewed intent, Janeway strode off in the direction of her quarters. She had decided exactly what to try on this time through the loop.
“Computer, locate Commander Chakotay.”
Excellent, thought Janeway to herself. She tapped the last few commands into the panel by the doors to the lift before retreating up the corridor. Now she just had to wait and watch.
“Good evening, Captain.”
Janeway practically jumped out of her skin, whirling round to face the speaker.
“Sorry,” said Neelix apologetically, “I didn’t mean to startle you.”
“You didn’t startle me,” replied Janeway indignantly, “I was just lost in thought.”
“They must have been some good ones,” noted Neelix with a smile.
“Oh, they were,” agreed Janeway. Though probably not what you think!
The sound of the doors opening down the corridor drew Janeway’s attention, and she glanced up the carpeted hallway as Chakotay made to step out of the turbolift. He was halfway out when the doors crashed violently together once more. As the doors slid back open, half of Chakotay slumped out into the corridor while the other half flopped backwards into the lift.
Janeway stood rooted to the spot, partly stunned that it had worked quite so well. She had been hoping that the force of impact would be enough to crush Chakotay, but to have him chopped in half had been an added bonus. She realised Neelix had left her standing and dashed down the corridor to check on Chakotay. Janeway hurried after him, intent on making a good impression as the grieving Captain.
Neelix stared down at Chakotay’s neatly bisected body and then up at the deadly doors. “The…the doors…oh my god, they killed Chakotay!”
“How…” Janeway searched for an appropriate word, “…awful. They must have malfunctioned.”
She knelt down to study Chakotay’s remains, bringing her hand up to her mouth in a pretence of shock. Right between the eyes! Shame I didn’t split that stupid tattoo.
“Are you all right, Captain,” asked Neelix gently, reaching down to place a hand on her shoulder as she remained silently staring at her First Officer.
Janeway patted his hand where it lay. “Yes, thank you, Neelix,” she said, adding a slight tremor to her voice for good measure. “Do you think you can you arrange for his body to be taken away, I need to…I need to go and sit down.”
“Of course, Captain,” replied Neelix with understanding as she clambered to her feet, “You take your time.”
Janeway sat on the couch in her quarters watching the agonising progression of the last few seconds of the current loop.
“Captain, the Rangar are powering engines….”
“They’ve gone, warp 6. Shall I pursue?”
Janeway barely had time to utter her regular response as she stormed off to her Ready Room. The doors had only just closed behind her when she picked up the bronze statue from the shelf by her desk and hurled it across the room in anger. It clattered noisily against the replicator and tumbled onto the floor. The remainder of the ornaments swiftly followed its trajectory through the air.
Twenty sodding times! This is getting ridiculous!
Pacing backwards and forwards in front of her desk Janeway decided it was time to get a different perspective on things. She needed someone else’s input, some fresh ideas. And if there was one person on board that could be guaranteed to give a unique opinion then it was Seven of Nine.
As Janeway made her way to Astrometrics, she wondered why she had waited so long to seek the young woman’s help. Seven had been in the early briefings with the rest of the senior staff, the ones Janeway had eventually given up on. In those, Seven hadn’t been any more helpful than the rest of the crew. However, Janeway considered that Seven quite often responded better to individual attention, particularly when it came from Janeway.
Walking along the corridors on deck eight, Janeway dismissed the few niggling doubts at the back of her mind that she was incorrect in her course of action of trying to kill Chakotay. No, she reiterated to herself, she had to kill Chakotay, she just needed to find the right way to do it.
“So you think the way out of this loop is to kill Commander Chakotay?” Seven queried doubtfully, her implant quirking up above her left eye.
Janeway sighed and leant back on the console in Astrometrics. “Look, I’ve been over this in my head dozens of times already. It has to be the answer,” she said, her tone edging towards exasperation. This was why she had given up explaining things to the rest of the crew in the first place – they were always so sceptical. Though she had to admit that it was certainly easier one-on-one, or maybe it was just because it was Seven.
The young woman had listened attentively as Janeway had told her about the temporal loop and what she had done in each of the past cycles in an effort to get out of it. Seven had remained as impassive as usual, even when Janeway had described in gory detail some of Chakotay’s bloody demises. If anything, Janeway could have sworn Seven was actually intrigued by the prospect of killing the Commander.
Janeway peeled herself away from the console, “But if you’re not going to help, then fine,” she added, turning to go.
“No,” said Seven quickly, “I did not say that I would not help. I was just clarifying your reasoning.”
Janeway turned back to face Seven. Somehow she had known that threatening to leave would lead Seven into agreeing to help. It seemed that the young woman would do almost anything to please Janeway these days. That hadn’t always been the case; when Seven had first come on board the pair of them seemed to argue pretty much every day. Though even then, Janeway had to admit to a certain perverse sense of enjoyment from those exchanges. If anyone else had disobeyed her with the regularity that Seven had, Janeway would have found it highly annoying and probably thrown them in the brig for the rest of the trip home. However, with Seven, Janeway couldn’t help but find it endearing. In the way any teacher would find their student’s efforts endearing, of course.
“Right, so you will help then?” Janeway pressed.
“What would you like me to do?”
Funny you should ask…
Janeway caught herself before the stray thought got any further. Now was hardly the time for such distracted thinking. Not to mention the whole troubling concept of what her mind had been drifting towards.
“I need a bit of help with my plan for this time,” Janeway informed Seven, getting back to the point.
Janeway experienced the moment’s disorientation that always accompanied the re-assembly of her molecules before she managed to focus on her surroundings. Just as she had requested she was in Chakotay’s quarters, having performed a site-to-site transport from her Ready Room. The room was dark, since its owner was currently on his way down there by conventional means, giving Janeway a couple of minutes head-start.
“Seven? Are you in here?” Janeway whispered into the dark. She didn’t really know why she was whispering, apart from the fact that it seemed the apt thing to do given the conspiratorial circumstances.
“I am here, Captain,” came back Seven’s hushed voice from somewhere on the far side of the room. Obviously she felt the need for subterfuge too.
“This isn’t hide and seek, Seven,” remarked Janeway as she stumbled in the general direction of Seven’s voice, “Ow! What the hell is this chair doing out here?”
“Sorry, Captain,” said Seven appearing from behind it and grabbing Janeway’s arm, “I had to move the furniture slightly to create a suitable hiding spot.” Seven pulled Janeway down behind the chair with her, where Janeway found herself pressed tightly up against Seven’s side in the small space between the seat and the wall.
“Couldn’t you have found somewhere with a little more room to hide?” Janeway noted, trying to shift position but only succeeding in rubbing against Seven’s body some more. She resolutely tried to ignore the fact that it was invitingly soft and warm.
“Maybe you could suggest somewhere, since you seem to know the layout of these quarters so well,” replied Seven.
Janeway craned her head round to try and catch Seven’s expression but it was too dark to get an accurate impression. Janeway was sure there had been just the slightest hint of annoyance in Seven’s tone. She didn’t have the chance to contemplate it further as the doors to the room swished open and Chakotay stomped in.
Janeway instinctively hunkered down further behind the chair, leaning into Seven. They were so close that Janeway could feel the young woman’s breath whispering rhythmically out across the top of her head, floating through the strands of her auburn hair. While she closed her eyes to get the full effect of the rather delightful sensation, Janeway could hear Chakotay letting out a number of curse words as he headed straight for the bathroom.
“You managed to successfully spill the coffee on him then?” asked Seven softly, her lips mere centimetres from Janeway’s ear.
“Yes, freshly hot from the replicator, all over his trousers,” replied Janeway, “Did you complete your modifications.”
“Good. So, do you think we’re safe to sneak over there yet?” Janeway asked, “We don’t want to miss the main event after all.”
Seven peeked out from behind the chair. “I believe Commander Chakotay has finished disrobing,” she confirmed.
“Come on then,” said Janeway, clambering out from her concealed spot and tiptoeing over to the entrance to Chakotay’s bathroom. She slowly snuck her head round the doorway in time to see Chakotay stepping into the stall of his sonic shower. Luckily the frosted surround around the middle of Chakotay’s shower unit spared her the sight of the more private parts of his anatomy. Janeway sensed Seven’s closeness once again and realised the young woman had followed her lead, only she was peering round the corner just above Janeway’s head. Together the pair of them must have resembled a pair of naughty children, checking the coast was clear.
“Computer, activate sonic shower.”
Chakotay closed his eyes as the particles of dirt started to vibrate off his body. He revelled in the sensation for a moment, turning around a few times in the stall as the sound waves cleansed his body. Only the pitch of the shower continued to increase, the vibrating beginning to grow more intense. Chakotay’s eyes flew open.
“Computer, deactivate sonic shower!”
The sonic vibrations continued to build, and Janeway winced as they pummelled her ears.
Chakotay didn’t get to finish his sentence as his body quite literally exploded, vibrated apart by the sonic waves. Janeway flinched back and pressed her eyes shut as the blood splattered forcefully over the frosted glass. After a couple of moments she couldn’t resist the temptation to tentatively open one again. Chakotay was spread nicely around the whole shower area, a few stray bits of innards plopping down from where they had clung to the ceiling.
“Impressive,” noted Janeway.
“Indeed,” agreed Seven, straightening up, “A most interesting alternative use for a sonic shower. So what happens now?”
Janeway turned away from the bloody bathroom too. “Now I have to wait until 20:00 to see if this time I get to continue with my life, or whether I need to go through this whole rigmarole again. In the mean time, how about a drink?”
“…do not require liquid refreshment at this time.” Janeway finished for Seven as she approached the replicator.
“Actually I was going to say that I would like a coffee, black.”
Janeway spun round and stared at Seven in surprise. “You were?”
Seven merely cocked her head slightly to one side as she replied in her even tones. “I surmised that since in all likelihood this period of time will cease to progress in approximately ten minutes from now, then my ingesting coffee will not have any lasting implications.”
“And if time does actually continue?”
“I shall ‘cross that bridge when I come to it’” replied Seven, emphasising the colloquial saying since it was not normally something she would employ.
Janeway let out a small laugh at the enforced use of the terminology. “And why coffee?”
“I presume there must be some interesting qualities to it, since you consume it with such regularity. I wished to experience those for myself.”
Janeway smiled and turned back to the machine. “Coffee, black”
Handing the drink to Seven, Janeway stood and watched in interest for her reaction.
“Are you waiting for something?” asked Seven, noting the Captain’s study.
“No, no, just interested what you think of it,” replied Janeway, folding her arms and trying to stop the smile from creeping across her face. She already suspected what Seven’s response to the drink was going to be; the young woman had a notoriously low tolerance of anything strongly flavoured.
Seven looked at Janeway curiously for a moment, before bringing the mug to her lips and taking a small sip. Seven’s brow immediately crinkled together in a look of obvious disgust before she schooled her features into their normal impassive expression.
“It is…interesting,” she offered noncommittally.
Janeway could contain herself no longer and burst out laughing. “It’s all right, you can say you hate it, it is quite an acquired taste,” she managed to say between guffaws.
“Indeed,” noted Seven looking down at the mug in her hand like it was a scientific specimen, “How can you drink this?”
Janeway took the mug from Seven and gulped some of the coffee down, “With great ease, it keeps you sharp.”
“I think I shall have to ‘stay sharp’ without it,” replied Seven.
Janeway suddenly realised that time must be creeping on. She had almost forgotten about the situation during the friendly banter with Seven. “Computer, what time is it?” she asked.
“The time is 19:58”
“Computer, perform a five second countdown to 20:00”
“It appears you do not have long to wait,” remarked Seven.
Janeway nodded. “I’ll know one way or another in a moment. I just wanted to thank you for your help this time, Seven. I’m sure my request must have seemed strange to you, considering that from your perspective this is just like any normal day.”
“I was glad to be of assistance, Captain,” replied Seven sincerely.
“Well, thank you anyway,” repeated Janeway, patting Seven gently on the arm. Only she didn’t take it away as she normally would, letting it rest there for a moment instead.
Seven looked down at Janeway’s hand before her pale blue eyes glanced up. “Do not hesitate to seek my assistance again, should you find yourself back at the start of the loop.”
Janeway smiled at Seven, before the computer suddenly broke in with its countdown. Just as it reached one, Janeway thought she saw the corners of Seven’s mouth twitching upwards too.
“Captain, the Rangar are powering engines….”
“They’ve gone, warp 6. Shall I pursue?”
Janeway trotted out the same orders once more and immediately excused herself from the bridge. Seven had said that Janeway shouldn’t hesitate to seek her assistance again after all. Not that Seven would remember having said that, Janeway had to remind herself as she made her way down to Astrometrics.
Once there, Janeway repeated her explanation of the situation, unable to keep the boredom from her tone as she covered the same ground for the umpteenth time. The tone extended into her descriptions of how she had killed Chakotay, and she realised it probably came out sounding like she couldn’t care less about the fact she had murdered her First Officer, several times. The funny thing was, she really didn’t care. Not any more. She had done it so many times now; it just didn’t seem real.
Seven was somewhat sceptical as she had been the previous time, but again she didn’t need much persuading to go along with the Captain’s plan. Janeway was grateful that Seven seemed to trust her enough to take what Janeway told her without question.
“Captain, I’m having trouble getting a lock on Commander Chakotay” Harry said, concern and confusion edging his tone.
Janeway got up from her seat and made her way nonchalantly over to operations. It had been fairly easy locating a suitable planet within range in order for Chakotay to have to lead an away team. “Ensign?” she asked as she got there.
“Some sort of interference from the surface,” added Harry, looking down at his console, “We may have better luck retrieving him from the transporter room.”
“It’s all right, Ensign,” said Janeway holding out a hand to forestall him, “I’ll head down there, you continue to monitor things from up here.”
When Janeway entered the transporter room she was pleased to see Seven was already waiting behind the controls.
“Well done on creating that ‘interference’” Janeway said, joining the young woman on the raised platform.
“Thank you, Captain.”
“So are we all set then?” asked Janeway eagerly.
“I believe so.”
Janeway smiled “Ok, let’s get this show on the road then. Janeway to Kim…”
“I’m in transporter room one, we’re going to try beaming Chakotay back now.”
Janeway nodded to Seven, whose deft fingers flicked over the necessary controls, the hum of the transporter indicating the response to her inputs. Both women glanced up as the blue glow formed on the opposite side of the room. It was immediately obvious that the shape forming was not the correct one for a human being, and Janeway allowed a small smile to flicker across her face.
As the sparkles died away, Janeway stepped round the transporter dais and crossed the room. What had materialised on the pad made a vague twitch before becoming still.
“Is it to your satisfaction?” asked Seven as she joined Janeway, peering down at Chakotay, or more precisely what he had now become.
“That certainly is an interesting species of tree you’ve managed to fuse him with there,” noted Janeway, “I particularly like the way that branch pops out of his ear, very creative.”
“Thank you, Captain,” replied Seven, “So, what happens now?”
Janeway let out a small laugh as she straightened up, having looked at the partly wooden Chakotay enough.
Seven glanced quizzically at her, not understanding what was so amusing
“Sorry, it’s just that’s exactly what you said last time,” Janeway explained to the confused young woman.
“And what was your reply last time?”
“That I had to wait until 20:00,” replied Janeway, “And then I offered you a drink.”
“You offered me a drink?” repeated Seven, getting even more confused, “Did I accept?”
“Yes, you did.”
“Well, I would not want to alter history,” noted Seven, “So I shall accept again.”
“Your offer of a drink, I accept.”
“Right,” said Janeway, now the bemused one since she didn’t actually recall making the offer. She had to admit that she was finding it increasingly hard distinguishing things she had said in one loop from those in another, though. “Well, how about in my quarters then?” Janeway offered eventually.
“Acceptable,” agreed Seven.
Janeway wandered over to the replicator. “Coffee?” she asked the young woman behind her, trying to keep her tone level and not smile.
“Coffee? Why would I want coffee?” queried Seven as she stood just inside the door to Janeway’s quarters. “Ah, let me guess, last time?”
“You got it.”
Seven eyed Janeway suspiciously as she waited expectantly by the replicator for Seven to confirm her order. “And did I like the coffee last time?”
“Oh yes, you couldn’t get enough of it,” replied Janeway as sincerely as she could manage.
“You are lying,” remarked Seven straight away.
Janeway laughed. “Damn, how did you know? You’re right of course; you absolutely hated it. You should have seen your face!”
“Indeed. I think I will have water, thank you.”
Janeway requested the water and a black coffee for herself, taking both of them over to the coffee table. Sitting down on the couch, Janeway indicated for Seven to join her. The young woman perched herself on the edge of the sofa, knees together, back straight. Janeway herself took her coffee and relaxed back into the cushions.
“You don’t know what you’re missing,” Janeway teased Seven as she took a sip from her cup.
Seven raised the implant above her left eye to indicate she still didn’t believe the Captain. “My water is fine,” she replied, picking it up.
Janeway watched Seven drinking, her lips moistened by the water as she set the glass back down. “Do you think we will have been successful this time?” asked the young woman. “Captain?” she pressed again when Janeway didn’t respond.
“What? Oh, yes…er…I don’t know, I hope so,” replied Janeway as she tried to concentrate again after her study of Seven’s lips.
“I’m sure you have no shortage of other ideas if it proves we weren’t,” commented Seven.
“Yes, I have quite a few stored up, that’s for sure.”
“Have you tried one of the most obvious yet?” enquired Seven.
“What one would that be?”
“Just send the Commander on a shuttle mission,” Seven suggested in her deadpan tones, “That’s bound to end up in some sort of accident.”
Janeway tipped her head back on the couch cushions and laughed to the air. “I shall bear that in mind,” she agreed, leaning forwards once again. “Talking of time loops, I suppose I better set my countdown again. Computer, perform a five second countdown into 20:00.”
After the computer beeped its acknowledgement it went quiet in the room for a moment. Janeway took another swig of her coffee and glanced sideways at Seven who looked like she was deep in thought. “Something troubling you?”
“No, I was just thinking that it must be hard, repeating this loop on your own every time,” Seven remarked.
“Indeed it is,” replied Janeway, before adding a rueful shrug of the shoulders, “But I’m used to having rely on myself, being on my own.”
“But you must get lonely,” pressed Seven.
Janeway’s brow furrowed slightly as she regarded Seven. “I beg your pardon.”
“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to pry,” said Seven, looking down at her hands instead of meeting Janeway’s gaze.
“It’s all right,” insisted Janeway, reaching out to touch Seven’s hand. It was her mesh covered left one and was surprisingly hot. Janeway didn’t know what she had expected, cold metal perhaps?
Janeway withdrew her fingers again. “I just wondered what you meant. In what sense would I be lonely?”
“I meant in general, being the Captain, having to stay distant from everyone, not allowing yourself to get too close or confide in anyone,” explained Seven.
“I’m close to certain members of my crew,” replied Janeway defensively.
“I meant in a romantic sense.”
“Ah,” noted Janeway, pausing for a second as she sucked in a breath, “Well in that case then I guess I do have to maintain a certain distance, yes. It’s not the done thing for Captains to be getting involved with members of their crew, even if there was anyone suitable.”
“So you’re saying there isn’t anyone you consider suitable on board?” probed Seven.
Janeway looked curiously at Seven. “Why are you so interested in my love life anyway?”
Seven didn’t respond, glancing away instead. Janeway stared intently at her averted face. If she didn’t know better, she would swear the young woman’s cheeks were slightly red. Was Seven of Nine blushing?
“What?…no…wait…” said a startled Janeway. She hadn’t realised it was that time already.
“Seven…?” pressed Janeway frantically, wanting to know what was behind her questions.
Seven glanced up, her blue eyes meeting Janeway’s in a brief searing look.
“Captain, the Rangar are powering engines….”
“They’ve gone, warp 6. Shall I pursue?”
Janeway thumped her fist on the armrest of her chair, causing Chakotay to jump in his seat and look at her in surprise.
“What?” she snapped at him.
“Er…I think Ensign Paris was waiting for your orders…,” he replied, glancing in the helmsman’s direction.
“Right, yes, of course,” Janeway nodded, rubbing her hand roughly across her temple in frustration. “No, Mr Paris, we will not be pursuing. Set a course back to the Alpha Quadrant, warp seven.”
Tom briefly glanced from Janeway to Chakotay as if seeking confirmation, no doubt concerned at the Captain’s odd behaviour too.
“Didn’t you hear me, Mr Paris?” thundered Janeway, leaping from her seat, “Now just do it!”
“Y-yes, Captain,” he stammered, quickly turning to the ship’s controls and launching them into warp before the Captain launched him from his chair.
“Captain, are you all right?” asked Chakotay as Janeway plonked herself back down in her seat. He leaned closer when she didn’t respond. “If you don’t mind me saying, you look rather tired.”
Janeway briefly contemplated reaching down, whipping out the phaser from under her chair and shooting him dead there and then. But then that loop would be wasted and it would be another six hours before she could try again.
“Why don’t you take a break,” offered Chakotay, interrupting her confused thoughts, “We can handle things here.”
“Actually, I think I may just do that,” replied Janeway after a moments consideration, “Thank you.”
Janeway sat on the roadside bench in Fair Haven watching the Irish characters bustling about, as they had been programmed to do. The villagers thought nothing of a uniformed Starfleet officer sitting amongst them, just treating her as one of the locals and offering the odd greeting as they wandered past.
As the sun peaked out from behind the fake clouds, Janeway wondered what was keeping Seven. If she didn’t hurry, Chakotay would get there before her. As before, Janeway had managed to persuade Seven to aid her latest plan without much difficulty. During that conversation, Janeway had been tempted to ask Seven about the last loop, but knew that was patently ridiculous.
By the way, what did you mean, you know those things you said about being lonely, that you can’t actually remember saying?
Janeway had realised she would just end up sounding like even more of a lunatic than she already did. It had probably only been her addled mind playing tricks on her anyway. Seven’s line of questioning had no doubt been borne out of her natural inquisitiveness, nothing more. And as for Seven’s willingness to help, well, that was just because Janeway was the Captain and she’d asked, that was all.
Janeway found herself somewhat disappointed by that prospect. She turned that feeling over in her mind a few times, realising it was no good denying the obvious any longer. This current situation had strung her mind out so much now with the constant repetition that everything was pretty much laid bare. There was no hiding place for things that she normally kept so well buried. Instead they were right there on the surface, staring her in the face. And one thing in particular was glaringly obvious, the fact that she was in love with Seven.
The sound of the train letting off steam behind her made Janeway jump in her seat.
“I’m surprised that still has the capacity to startle you.”
Janeway’s eyes flicked up to squint at the woman who had spoken to her, silhouetted against the sun in her long dress. Janeway did a double take.
“Seven, why are you wearing that ridiculous dress?”
“I thought it would help me ‘blend in’” Seven informed the Captain matter-of-factly, brushing her hands over the long skirted garment.
Janeway couldn’t help the grin that crept across her face.
“Is it not correct?” asked Seven, a look of concern colouring her features.
“No, no, it’s just right,” replied Janeway, desperately trying to fight back the sniggers, “But it’s just…it’s not really you is it?”
There wasn’t really anything wrong with the dress. In fact, Janeway had to admit that it was quite pretty now she took the time to study it more after her initial surprise. It certainly had a rather distracting low cut around the neck.
“Considering I wear a biosuit the rest of the time, any other attire is ‘not really me’,” Seven reasoned.
“I’m sorry, you look lovely, really,” Janeway said, reigning in her amusement to offer the words sincerely, “Though you might have wanted to let you hair down too, to complete the look.”
Seven looked like she had completely forgotten about that aspect of her appearance and immediately reached round to undo her tight twist. She shook her head a couple of times to allow her blonde hair to fall loose about her shoulders. “Is that better?”
Janeway was momentarily dumbstruck by the vision of beauty before her, sure that her mouth must be hanging open.
“Have I made another mistake?” asked Seven with worry when the Captain didn’t reply.
“What…er…no, definitely not,” replied Janeway hurriedly, “So, er…anyway, what did you mean about the train startling me?”
“Well, I’m sure you spend plenty of time here, you do have a fondness for some of the characters after all,” Seven noted bitingly.
Janeway cringed at the reminder of her dalliance with Michael Sullivan. “Actually I haven’t been here in weeks, not since…”
She trailed off, unwilling to voice out loud that she hadn’t been there since Michael had started a fight with Tom Paris, the hologram having just declared that he had supposedly fallen in love with Janeway. It had all been highly embarrassing. She had just been using Sullivan for a bit of ‘relief’, since it had been nearly six years since the last time. He was mildly diverting company too, especially after Janeway had modified him, but that was all it was - a diversion. Though for a brief time she had almost thought she had developed feelings for him, she had soon come to her senses. He was only a hologram after all, and a not particularly attractive one at that. And when Chakotay had started teasing her about Michael in front of the whole bridge crew, Janeway knew things had gone too far. It had been fun while it had lasted, but she had resolved not to revisit the program.
Only then an idea of a new way to kill Chakotay had wheedled its way into her brain and it seemed like too good an opportunity to pass up. Luckily she wouldn’t have to go in the pub and be forced to rebuff Sullivan’s unwanted attentions. Instead her plan involved being outside in the street, which was why she came to be waiting on the bench by the station. Seven and she had been hard at work that afternoon, modifying the program in just the right way, and now they were just waiting the arrival of the guest of honour.
Chakotay had leapt at the chance of joining the Captain in the holodeck when she had invited him over the comm, and she knew he would be there any minute.
“Well, I suppose you better go and ‘blend in’,” Janeway suggested to Seven, “Since our target will be here soon.”
“Indeed, I shall take up a vantage spot across the street,” Seven replied before doing just that.
Janeway didn’t have to wait long for Chakotay to arrive, the first officer spotting her as soon as her entered the holodeck, and coming over to join her on the bench. Fortunately all his attention was focused on the Captain and he didn’t notice a decidedly conspicuous Seven loitering on the far side of the road.
“How are you feeling?” asked the burly man as he sat slightly too close for comfort.
Janeway shuffled a touch sideways “Fine, thanks, and thank you for taking care of things on the bridge earlier.”
“No problem,” replied Chakotay with a small smile, “As long as there’s nothing else bothering you.”
“No, I was just feeling a little out of sorts earlier, but I’m fine now, really” Janeway insisted. “Anyway, how about a drink?” she suggested, getting up off the bench.
“Ok,” said Chakotay, starting to rise.
Janeway quickly placed a hand on his shoulder. “Why don’t you wait here? It’s such a lovely day, I thought I could get the drinks and bring them out here.”
“Good idea,” he agreed, resting back against the wooden bench.
“Ok, I’ll be right back,” said Janeway before turning to walk across the street.
Striding over the cobbles, Janeway was worried for a moment when she couldn’t immediately see Seven. Then she spotted her hiding just around the corner of a building, and Janeway nodded at the young woman as a signal that it was time to put their plan into action. Seven fished out a PADD, quickly tapping some instructions into it. Reaching Seven’s position, Janeway swung back round to see the result of Seven’s inputs. Chakotay was still on the bench, completely oblivious to the fact that a cow had now appeared on the corrugated roof of the train station behind him.
The animal looked rather bemused by its location for a moment, before it started to trot happily towards the edge of the roof, just as Janeway and Seven had programmed it to do. When it got there it didn’t even pause, walking straight off. There was a brief startled ‘moo’ from the cow as it plunged downwards, before it landed heavily, straight on top of Chakotay.
Janeway dashed back over the street to check they had been successful. The cow looked up at her from where it was sitting on Chakotay’s head with a rather nonplussed expression, its bell still making a small dinging noise at it swayed from side-to-side under a name tag which read ‘Daisy’. Nice touch, thought Janeway as Seven joined her.
“That has got to hurt,” Janeway remarked looking down at the single uniformed arm that poked out from beneath Daisy.
“Oh my god…” came an Irish-accented voice from behind them. Janeway didn’t need to turn round to know who it was, but did anyway.
Michael stared at them in shock before levelling a trembling finger in their direction. “Oh my god, they killed Chakotay!” he cried to no one in particular, “Katie O’Clare and her friend, they killed him!”
“Computer, delete Michael Sullivan,” Seven instructed the computer abruptly.
Michael fizzled into nothingness, in the middle of trying to carry on with his accusations. Janeway’s head swung to Seven in surprise.
“He was attracting attention,” Seven stated nonchalantly, turning for the exit.
Janeway glanced around them at the empty street. “Of course he was,” she noted sceptically, following Seven.
As they left the holodeck, Janeway quickly leapt in as she saw Seven was about to speak. “And before you ask, what happens next is that I have to wait until 20:00 to see if the loop ends this time.”
“How did you know I was about to ask that?”
“Let’s just say it was an educated guess.”
Seven’s brow furrowed slightly. “Exactly how many times have we killed Commander Chakotay so far?”
“You and me? This is the third, though I managed it ten times on my own before that. Anyway, enough about Chakotay, how about a drink in my quarters while we wait for 20:00?”
Seven’s brow now rose noticeably. “You are inviting me to your quarters?”
Janeway had to keep reminding herself that Seven wouldn’t remember any of the previous occasions, nor the look she had given Janeway at the end of the last loop. Janeway found herself desperately hoping to see it again. “Yes, I am inviting you to my quarters,” she confirmed.
Sitting on the couch in her quarters, Janeway couldn’t help her eyes drifting back to Seven’s dress as the young woman sat beside her. She’d only seen Seven in anything other than her biosuit a couple of times, and one of those occasions was in the borg plating she had sported when she had first came on board. Who would have known that when that was peeled away, the voluptuous body before her would be revealed?
“You do not like my dress then?” asked Seven, looking from the garment to Janeway.
“You were staring at it again, is it really that bad?”
Janeway reached over to grab her coffee in an effort to cover up her distraction. “No, it’s fine, really,” she insisted, taking a large gulp of the hot drink.
“Maybe I should take it off?”
Coffee spewed straight out of Janeway’s mouth and nose, spraying all over the table and her uniform. She doubled over as the hacking coughs gripped her.
“Are you all right, Captain?”
“Yes, yes, I’m fine,” replied Janeway hoarsely, after a few last splutters, “If you’ll excuse me for a minute, though,” she added, indicating her coffee-stained uniform.
Janeway got up and headed through her bedroom to the bathroom beyond, grateful to get away from the heated atmosphere in the other room. Going over to the sink, she scooped up some water, splashing it over her face as she tried to compose herself.
What’s wrong with me? She asked herself in the mirror, One little innocent comment from Seven about changing her clothes and I’m getting all flustered like some silly schoolgirl. It’s this blasted temporal loop, that’s what it is. I’m some crusty old Captain and she’s a gorgeous young woman, what am I thinking? She would never be interested in me, even if it weren’t entirely inappropriate anyway.
Running her hands through her bobbed hair, she looked down at her uniform and shook her head. Scooping up some more water, she dabbed at the stain on her front a few times before deciding there was little point. Instead she peeled off the soggy top and headed back out into the main area in just her grey t-shirt.
As Janeway came through the doorway she stopped dead in her tracks. Her tunic top fell to the floor from her limp hand. Her eyes bulged. Her mouth dropped open. Her heart pounded in her chest. She stopped breathing.
Seven was standing by the replicator on the far side of the room with her back to Janeway. There was nothing strange about that. What was strange was that Seven was now completely and utterly naked.
Seven must have sensed Janeway’s return because she swung round to face the Captain. “I did not realise you would be back so quickly,” said Seven completely unabashed at standing in all her naked glory in front of Janeway, “I was just changing back into my biosuit,” she explained further, holding up the plum-coloured garment she had replicated.
Janeway desperately tried to engage her brain to say something, but it was being decidedly unhelpful. A neanderthal-like “Uhhh” was all that came out of her mouth instead.
“Uhhhh…uhhhh.” Janeway didn’t know how she could be expected to speak in the current situation, what with the wonderful view on offer.
“Captain, is something wrong?” asked Seven stepping towards Janeway as her concern grew.
“No, no!” Janeway cried stepping backwards, “Nothing wrong, nothing at all!”
Even though her voice had come out as a rather high-pitched squeak, Janeway supposed it was better than the incoherent murmurings she had managed previously.
Seven studied her for a moment, and Janeway felt like the young woman could see right through her to her innermost thoughts. Meanwhile, all Janeway could see was the two magnificent breasts in front of her.
“I believe you are staring at my breasts.”
“I think I know when you are staring at them, since you do it so often,” noted Seven, “And you were definitely staring just then.”
“Well, you are naked…it’s just natural that my eyes would be drawn in that direction,” Janeway tried to reason unconvincingly, while wondering just how long Seven had been aware of her predilection for looking at that part of the other woman’s anatomy.
“Are you sure that’s all it is?” asked Seven, taking another step forwards.
Janeway had nowhere to go since she was already backed up against the bulkhead.
Janeway heaved a sigh of relief, knowing she wouldn’t have to explain herself further.
Though at the same time, part of her was rather upset she was most likely about to be propelled back to the bridge.
Seven leant in even closer so that her breasts brushed ever so slightly against Janeway.
“Captain, the Rangar are powering engines….”
“They’ve gone, warp 6. Shall I pursue?”
Twenty minutes later Janeway was ordering herself a large whiskey from the replicator in her quarters. She overrode the machine when it tried to protest about the order of real alcohol. This was no time to be drinking the poor substitute that synthehol provided. Having lived the same six hours twenty-three times already, Janeway felt she deserved whatever the hell she wanted from the stubborn machine.
Not to mention the fact that she needed a stiff drink after the last loop and the sight of a nude Seven wandering unashamedly around her quarters. Janeway supposed she could have just completed this particular iteration of the loop on her own, but she hadn’t been able to resist the temptation to involve Seven again. Now Seven was here, though, Janeway was beginning to question the wisdom of summoning her straight to the Captain’s quarters this time, rather than going to Astrometrics herself.
Janeway had just finished filling the young woman in on the situation for the fourth time, though she had again neglected to mention anything about Seven’s comments or actions in earlier loops. While Seven had been on the way there, Janeway had resolved that she had to stop getting distracted by her own wishful thinking, she had a job to do – she needed to get her crew out of this blasted loop.
“So what do you think?” asked Janeway, crossing over to the couch with the whiskey glass in her hand, sipping from it as she went.
Seven stood above her as Janeway sat down, the young woman’s hands clasped behind her back in her normal stance. The image of a naked Seven standing before her tried to worm it’s way back into Janeway’s mind, and she attempted to shake away the persistent mental image. It was certainly a difficult picture to dismiss. She reminded herself that this Seven didn’t know anything about that incident.
“Can I see this message?”
Janeway’s eyes flicked up in inquisition.
“The message from the Rangar, may I see it?” repeated Seven.
Janeway raised her eyebrows in surprise for a moment – this was the first time Seven had actually asked to see the original message. It suddenly struck Janeway as odd that Seven hadn’t made the request before, that she had just trusted Janeway and what the Captain had decided was the best course of action.
“Yes, of course.” Janeway crossed to her desk and downloaded the message to a PADD, which she handed to the young woman, indicating she should take a seat on the couch next to Janeway to read it. Janeway watched Seven’s pale blue eyes scanning the text, the Captain repeating the words she knew so well in her own head at the same time:
A riddle for a traveller in our space
Listen thee well, to leave this place
Forever will you languish in the mire
Until you give in to your darkest desire
So make the sacrifice necessary
In order that you all may be free
Seven’s eyes remained cast down at the PADD long after she must have finished reading its contents. Janeway didn’t interrupt her thought process, though she was anxious to know what was going through the younger woman’s mind. While she waited, Janeway found herself studying the woman in front of her. With Seven’s head dipped slightly, Janeway could see a few loose tufts of hair that had escaped the tight twist of hair at the back of Seven’s head. She allowed her eyes to follow the smooth line of Seven’s jaw from there, round to the full lips that were suddenly opening to speak.
“Have you considered that this could refer to something else?”
“Pardon?” said Janeway, hurriedly shaking herself out of her perusal.
“This message may not allude to killing Commander Chakotay.”
“What else could it mean?” asked Janeway in confusion, “I told you, I’ve been dreaming about killing Chakotay for a while, and I would say that classifies as a pretty dark desire. So I’ve been trying to sacrifice him to appease the Rangar.”
“Indeed,” noted Seven, looking down at the PADD in her hand once more.
“Why, what do you think it means?” pressed Janeway.
Seven didn’t respond immediately, slowly placing the PADD on the coffee table instead, before she turned her eyes to Janeway. The blue orbs latched on to the Captain, capturing her in their intense regard. “Are you sure there aren’t some other desires you’ve been denying yourself?”
Janeway surprised herself by gulping as Seven’s eyes remained unwaveringly fixed on her. “I don’t know what you mean.” Janeway’s mouth was suddenly dry, and the words had come out as little more than a husky whisper.
Seven inched closer to her on the couch, close enough for Janeway to be able to feel the heat radiating off her body. “I think you do.”
Seven hovered a hairs breadth from Janeway’s face, and the Captain could do little more than meet Seven’s gaze, too enraptured to move or speak. Achingly slowly Seven leant forwards and pressed her lips to Janeway’s. Nothing in her wildest imagination could have prepared Janeway for the feel of those luscious lips, gliding across her own - warm, sensual, intoxicating. Closing her eyes Janeway succumbed to the wonderful sensations, reaching up her hands to wrap around the back of Seven’s head and pull her closer.
Suddenly Janeway broke away, flushed, unsure of what had just been happening. “We shouldn’t be doing this…” she began, though her mind was berating her for letting such words escape from her mouth.
Seven leant in closer to Janeway again, not so easily put off. Part of Janeway was telling her to get up off the couch, run away, while at the same time her body seemed to automatically respond to the young woman’s proximity. Janeway could feel the rush of arousal that shot right through her and settled somewhere in her groin.
Seven’s fingers brushed over Janeway’s cheek and pulled her face round. Every little touch sent fresh tingles skittering through Janeway. “You can’t deny you’re attracted to me. I’ve seen the way you look at me,” noted Seven.
“I’m sorry, I didn’t realise I was making you uncomfortable,” replied Janeway, unable to refute the accusation.
Seven shook her head briefly. “It doesn’t make me uncomfortable. I like it when you look at me. I want you to look at me. I want you to touch me.”
Seven reached down and took Janeway’s hand in her own, bringing it up to her lips. Janeway watched in stunned fascination as Seven slowly drew one of Janeway’s fingers into her mouth, sucking the digit and wrapping her tongue tantalisingly around it.
“Oh god,” cried Janeway, rapidly pulling back her hand before her emotions and body completely betrayed her. She shifted away from Seven. “You don’t know how much I want this, but I’m the Captain, I can’t get involved with a member of my crew!”
“Because it’s too dark a desire?”
Janeway’s head shot round, her eyes staring at Seven as the meaning behind the words sunk in.
Seven gave Janeway a moment before continuing. “It could be the only way to break out of this temporal loop,” she offered eventually, when it seemed the Captain was too stunned to formulate anything herself.
“I never thought of it like that,” replied Janeway slowly, trying to work it through in her mind. Could Seven be right, could this be the way?
The full implication of that began to permeate Janeway’s brain. “Oh my god…” she muttered quietly as she thought back to the other loops.
“Captain?” asked Seven, the concern evident in her tone.
“Oh my god…” repeated Janeway distractedly, her eyes wide as she stared off into space.
“Captain, are you all right?”
Janeway showed no obvious sign at having heard Seven; she was too caught up in her own terrible thoughts. “Oh my god, I killed Chakotay!”
Seven reached out to touch Janeway’s arm, but the Captain suddenly shot up off the couch. “Jesus Christ! What have I been doing?” she cried, bringing her hand up to her forehead as she paced across the room, “All those times I killed Chakotay! I just assumed that was what the message meant. It was the first thing that came into my mind. With each cycle I just became more and more convinced, until all I could think about was killing him. It never even occurred to me that the message could mean anything else. It seemed to fit so perfectly…”
As Janeway whirled back round she found Seven right behind her. She hadn’t even heard the other woman moving across the room in her agitation.
“Captain,” said Seven gently, holding onto Janeway’s arms to stop her pacing, “It’s all right. It doesn’t matter now. Anything you did in any of those other loops, none of it happened. The Commander is alive and well and no one knows you killed him before.”
“I know!” replied Janeway, looking beseechingly up into Seven’s eyes.
“You were just doing what you thought you had to, to save the ship,” Seven reasoned.
Janeway bowed her head and shook it. “Oh, how I wish I could agree with you, but there was part of me that wanted to do it, that took pleasure in doing it. After a while it just became like some game – ‘how shall I kill Chakotay today?’ Shall I phaser him? Shove him out the airlock? Drop a cow on his head?”
“Captain,” said Seven forcefully, breaking Janeway out of her rambling. “You said it yourself, it was like a game. You knew that what you were doing was never going to have any lasting consequences.”
“Even if that were true, it still doesn’t make it right!”
“Maybe not,” conceded Seven, “But you were under immense strain too, having to repeat those hours again and again, the only one who knew what was really happening, your mind always active with barely any respite. It’s only natural that your judgement might have started to become impaired.”
Janeway laughed ruefully. “Impaired? I’ve practically been deranged.” She turned away from Seven, crossing her arms across her chest as she looked out at the stars. “How could I have been so deluded that I could do those things…”
Janeway trailed off allowing the silence to press in on her, along with gnawing feelings of guilt and remorse. Eventually she felt Seven’s hand on her shoulder. Janeway supposed it was meant to be comforting, but she couldn’t bring herself to meet Seven’s eye, remaining with her back to the young woman.
Seven was unperturbed and began speaking anyway. “Captain, first of all I want you to know that no matter what you might have done, I still believe in you. You may have got caught up in this temporal loop and let it cloud your judgement, but who wouldn’t have done under that pressure. But don’t forget all those countless times you have saved this ship and the crew on it.” Seven paused for a moment before emphasising the next point. “All those times you have saved me.”
“Those are the things that count,” continued Seven, “Not those other loops, which no one even knows happened. As I see it you have two options. Either you can continue to wallow in self-pity and guilt, or you can do something about trying to get us all out of this loop.”
“That’s been the problem,” muttered Janeway, hanging her head, “Trying to get us out of this loop. I became so fixated on it that I would consider anything to achieve my aim.”
“Not anything…” offered Seven tentatively.
Janeway slowly turned back to face Seven, who stepped closer to the Captain, her blue eyes bright in the dim quarters. “Forget those other loops,” said Seven gently, “What matters now is this one, and the chance to end the cycle. There will be plenty of time for recrimination later.”
Janeway shook her head, it was all too much to try and take in. “I don’t know…”
“Looking at it another way, you could see what’s happened in a positive light,” offered Seven.
Janeway just stared at her like she had also gone mad.
Seven continued, trying to explain her reasoning. “What I mean is that you were able to take out some of the obvious frustration you must feel towards the Commander without any ongoing implications. In fact it’s given you an insight into yourself, and at least you now know not to let things get quite so bad in the future.”
“Are you determined to try and make me feel good about this somehow?”
Seven’s fingers reached out to brush softly across Janeway’s cheek. “I do have my own motives.”
Seven kept her fingers on Janeway’s cheek, pulling her into a delicately light kiss. As before, the rush of emotion was overwhelming, and Janeway instinctively reached out to place her hands on Seven’s hips, partly to stop herself collapsing on the floor as her legs began to buckle.
Janeway pushed herself back from Seven for a moment, though kept her hands where they were for support. “And you really think this is the way to break the loop?”
A small smile brightened Seven’s face. “It is a possibility, and certainly one I’m more than willing to try.”
“Me too,” agreed Janeway, a smile creeping onto her face for the first time too.
Pulling Seven to her, Janeway tilted her head up and took the initiative by hungrily pressing her lips to Seven’s. She knew it was too late for resisting, and a lustful moan bubbled up from deep within her as she savoured every little moment of the kiss.
Janeway leant back, gazing up at Seven, looking into her startlingly blue eyes. “In fact, I suppose you could see it as my duty to do this.”
“Just your duty, Captain?” asked Seven, raising her eyebrow ever so slightly and quirking the implant that covered it.
The corner of Janeway’s lips twitched into a sly smile. “That…and my deepest, darkest desire,” she whispered huskily.
Beneath her hands, Janeway felt the tremble that shot through Seven’s body as the Captain leaned into her once more. Only this time Janeway trailed her lips seductively up Seven’s neck.
“Oh, and Seven…” said Janeway as she reached Seven’s ear.
Seven’s took a couple of seconds to respond, her voice coming out in breathy tones, completely unlike the normally unflappable woman. “Yes, Captain?”
“Call me Kathryn.”
Seven didn’t answer, but Janeway could feel the muscles in Seven’s face twitching into a smile since her cheek was practically resting against the young woman’s. Janeway came round and melded her lips to Seven’s once more, knowing the time for talking was over. Now was the time to release all those feeling she had been holding back for so long; to let go of everything that had been dragging her down on those numerous trips through these same hours.
The only thing Janeway had to worry about now was trying to keep a check on her raging desire, which was telling her to rip off Seven’s clothes and make love to her right then and there. They stumbled backwards across the room as Janeway pressed forwards, deepening the kiss, sliding her tongue into Seven’s inviting mouth. Seven’s back thumping into the wall stopped their progress, but neither woman seemed to notice, consumed by the passion of the moment.
Janeway pushed up against Seven, her leg slipping between the young woman’s thighs and eliciting a loud groan. The sounds emanating from Seven’s lips only served to inflame Janeway further, and she reached up to slide her fingers through Seven’s hair, releasing it from its tight twist as she did.
They rolled along the wall, remaining tightly together as they headed in the direction of the bedroom. Seven’s hands roamed over Janeway’s body, sliding up her front to fumble with her uniform in an attempt to undo the top. Giving up, she tugged forcefully at it, a loud ripping noise indicating she had finally been successful. Janeway shrugged it off onto the floor and Seven took the opportunity to yank Janeway’s t-shirt up over her head too. For a moment Seven just stood, looking admiringly at the bare flesh that was now exposed to her. Janeway felt a slight blush creeping up her cheeks at the intense study. Then she saw Seven’s eyes fix on her chest and widen even further. Her hand snaked out to tentatively touch one of Janeway’s breasts, stilled constrained by her bra. Despite the material that separated Seven’s fingers from her skin, Janeway couldn’t help letting out a small gasp at the intimate contact. Seven’s eyes flicked up, seeking confirmation it was all right to proceed further. Janeway just smiled back in acknowledgement, wanting to reassure the uncertain young woman.
Carefully Seven pushed aside the edge of the bra and slipped a finger inside the cup, grazing over Janeway’s nipple. Janeway groaned, and Seven’s eyes switched between watching the stiffening nipple and Janeway’s face, no doubt wanting to watch Janeway’s reaction to each touch. Her thumb wormed its way underneath the material too, allowing her to pinch the hard nub that was tight against it now.
Suddenly Janeway grabbed Seven and pulled her body close, unable to withstand the teasing any longer. Their lips met in a fiery kiss as Janeway reached round to undo the fastening on Seven’s biosuit. Releasing it, she pushed the garment over Seven’s shoulders, brushing her fingers across her skin as she went. Seven herself joined Janeway in removing the biosuit, seemingly keen to be free of it. As she slipped it off and let it drop on the carpet, Janeway gazed on the naked form that was revealed to her. Seven’s skin was so pale and smooth, and, though it was scarred at intervals by her borg implants, Janeway didn’t think they detracted in any way from her beauty. If anything, they made her seem more exotic…different.
“Of course this is the second time I’ve seen you naked,” Janeway suddenly remembered.
“Kathryn?” asked Seven, taking the opportunity to try out Janeway’s first name.
Janeway grinned at the sound of it passing Seven’s lips; something about the way she said it was intensely arousing. Though Janeway realised that, at this point in time, Seven could be describing the maintenance of the plasma conduits and she would have found it unbelievably arousing.
“Never mind,” said Janeway, wrapping her arms around Seven and gliding her hands up her back as their lips met once again.
Janeway trailed her hands languidly over the warm flesh, delighting in the feel of it beneath her fingers. At the same time, Seven slipped her hands up Janeway’s back and undid the clasp on her bra. Janeway quickly shook it off before pressing their bodies together again, with no barrier now between their heated flesh. Guiding Seven across the room, they flopped onto the bed, though Janeway found herself beneath the young woman who had somehow manoeuvred her into that position. She raised her eyebrows at Seven’s brazenness, and Seven briefly smiled back before dipping her head to touch her lips to Janeway’s neck. As her tongue tracked along Janeway’s skin, Seven’s hair tickled across her flesh too, the dual stimulation causing Janeway to close her eyes and sigh at the wonderful sensation. When Seven’s hand started inching tantalisingly down across her stomach too, Janeway thought her head was about to explode.
As Seven’s fingers started playing with the hem of her uniform trousers, Janeway decided it was time for her to take charge once more. She gently pushed Seven over onto her back, while prising off her boots and the trousers Seven had half-undone anyway, deftly whipping her pants off in the process. She stopped to hover above Seven, to take time to appreciate every little nuance of the experience, every reaction and response that Seven made to their nude bodies sliding together. Seven looked up at her expectantly as Janeway’s auburn hair fell about her face.
Then Janeway bent down brushing her lips lightly over Seven’s before continuing along her defined jaw-line. She spent a moment circling her tongue round the small starburst implant below Seven’s right ear. Janeway realised it must be especially sensitive when Seven let out several gasps as Janeway worked her way between each little point on the star.
Janeway continued on down Seven’s neck, nipping gently at the skin as she went, before her tongue reached the young woman’s collarbone. Janeway licked along the prominent bone towards the centre of Seven’s chest and then trailed down lower to that which had distracted her on so many occasions before. Only now she was free to stare as much as she wanted. And not only stare, she could touch, and lick and suck. It was like all her Christmases come at once. Janeway snaked her tongue out to flick across Seven’s already hard nipple, the young woman juddering beneath her as soon as contact was made. When Janeway started sucking on the erect nipple, drawing it between her teeth and teasing it with her tongue, Seven tipped her head back and moaned loudly to the stars behind her.
Switching her mouth to the other nipple, Janeway allowed her hand to glide across Seven’s abdomen at the same time, carrying on down between her legs. Janeway was astounded by how wet Seven was, her finger easily slipping inside the young woman. Seven moaned once more at the delicate invasion, and Janeway found herself following suit as she delighted in the feel of her finger sliding against Seven’s most intimate areas.
Janeway tried to keep her motions deliberately slow, to savour the sensation, but it was getting increasingly hard. With each groan that issued from Seven’s lips Janeway’s own passion heightened, along with her need to touch Seven. She wanted to feel every part of her, taste every part of her. Slipping away from Seven’s nipple, Janeway tracked her tongue along the path that her hand had just taken. Pushing Seven’s thighs further apart with her free hand, Janeway settled down between them, her tongue joining her finger in the wet folds.
Slowly she drew her finger out, allowing her tongue to penetrate up inside Seven in its place. With each thrust, more of Seven’s juices coated her face, and Janeway eagerly swallowed them down. Glancing up she could see up Seven’s heaving body to where her head was still tilted backwards, the young woman gasping at each motion of Janeway’s tongue. Janeway slid it out and up the slick folds to the hard nub of Seven’s clitoris. Seven jerked upwards as soon as she touched it and Janeway had to sidle up the bed to maintain the contact.
Janeway began drawing her tongue slowly back and forth across the hard nub, gradually building the speed and intensity of the flicking movement. As she did Seven’s pants increased and grew faster and Janeway could feel the wetness spreading between her own legs as she witnessed the amazing sight of Seven completely lost in the throes of passion. Her hands clutched randomly at the sheets, drawing them up into her fists as her body trembled with Janeway’s continued rubbing.
“Kathryn…oh…Kathryn!” wailed Seven.
Though Janeway had thought the sound of her name being spoken by Seven was arousing, it was nothing compared to hearing it being screamed with such naked desire.
Then Seven was arching up even more, her body going tense in one blissful moment of ecstasy with one more corresponding cry of Janeway’s name to the night. The young woman collapsed back down onto the bed and Janeway crawled slowly up her body to rest on her elbow at Seven’s side. Seven’s eyes were still closed, her breath coming in great shuddering gasps.
“Seven, are you all right?” asked Janeway, momentarily concerned that perhaps she had hurt the young woman in her enthusiasm.
Seven’s eyes flicked open to gaze longingly over at Janeway. “Yes, Kathryn, I am ‘all right’, I am more than all right. I never realised that it could be so…that I could feel so…”
She trailed off, seemingly unable to find the words to express how she felt. Instead she slid her fingers across Janeway’s cheek and pulled her down into a lingering kiss to demonstrate exactly what she was feeling. Seven gently nudged Janeway over so she could clamber on top of her, her thigh slipping in between Janeway’s legs. Janeway groaned and thrust herself against the muscled limb, rubbing against the smooth skin. Seven responded by pressing harder against her while leaning down to kiss up Janeway’s neck. Janeway inhaled sharply as she felt Seven’s hot breath fluttering across her ear, before her tongue started tracking provocatively around it.
Janeway gasped again when Seven’s hand crept across her chest and on down her body, dancing tenderly across the skin. She began to tremble in anticipation before Seven got anywhere near her sex, so aroused was she from seeing Seven’s earlier orgasm. Then Seven’s fingers were brushing through the tangle of her pubic hair, slipping downwards…
“Ohhh,” cried Seven suddenly, sounding slightly surpised.
“Seven?” queried Janeway, amazed that she could actually summon the mental faculties to speak as Seven’s fingers rested between her legs, “Is something wrong?”
“No…” replied Seven, coming away from Janeway’s ear to gaze down upon her, “You are just so…wet!”
Janeway couldn’t help the laugh that erupted from her mouth on hearing Seven’s obvious amazement. She had to keep reminding herself that this was Seven’s first time. Before Janeway could say anything further, though, Seven decided that she wanted to explore the wetness some more, slipping one of her fingers inside Janeway.
“Oh...god!” moaned Janeway, feeling the slender finger gliding up inside her.
Janeway could feel Seven’s eyes upon her, watching the result of her penetration with rapt attention. Janeway opened her eyes to meet Seven’s gaze and hold it as Seven slipped a second finger inside her to stroke the slick flesh inside Janeway. Seven’s soft blue eyes were wide, with a mixture of excitement, wonder and desire evident in them. The combined effect only added to Janeway’s already out of control lust and she found herself gyrating wantonly against Seven’s fingers. Seven could obviously sense Janeway’s intense need and she began sliding her fingers in and out of the dripping channel in time to Janeway’s rhythm.
Janeway was unable to maintain her lock on Seven’s face, so lost was she in the glorious sensation of the young woman filling her with her fingers. She squeezed her eyes shut, crying out frenziedly as she bucked under the relentless pumping of Seven’s hand. She could feel the euphoric feeling building, unable to hold it back any longer as it spread through her.
“Seven!” screamed Janeway as the climax hit.
Though Seven stopped her thrusting as Janeway slumped back down against the disarrayed sheets, she left her fingers where they were, deep inside her. Janeway felt the aftershocks of the orgasm rippling through her, her sweaty body shaking with each fresh wave of ecstasy. Finally Seven slid her fingers out, and wrapped her arms around Janeway, holding her close as the trembling died away. Janeway rested her head contentedly upon Seven’s chest, happy to let herself be held in Seven’s warm embrace. She could feel the periodic rise and fall of Seven’s chest with each breath, along with the strong heartbeat beneath her ear. The regular beat was so soothing and hypnotic that Janeway found herself closing her eyes to listen to it…
Janeway shot up in bed, disorientated for a moment. “Computer, what time is it?” she asked frantically.
Her mouth fell open, and she was temporarily at a loss for words. “Computer, what time is it?” she asked again eventually, in case her ears had been playing tricks on her the first time.
Janeway let out a relieved laugh and gazed thankfully up at the ceiling.
Next to Janeway, the slumbering form of Seven stirred under the sheets that had been pushed back down her torso with Janeway’s abrupt awakening. Janeway gazed down at the expanse of pale skin that was exposed, the young woman dozing on her side, her blonde hair loose over Janeway’s pillow. Janeway smiled and lay back down, absently sliding her fingers through the gossamer strands splayed out over the cotton.
So, Seven had been right, that had been the way to break the loop all along – a night of passion with the young woman. Janeway found she was faintly disappointed that she wouldn’t be getting the chance to live that particular iteration of the loop over again. It had certainly been the most pleasant of them.
Looking back at the other cycles now, she wondered how she could have let things get so out of hand. Her desire to kill Chakotay had become some all-consuming obsession, blinding her to other possibilities. Thank god Seven had been there to snap her out of it or she might have been killing him for all eternity as she descended further into madness. Janeway considered her irrational thought process could have been a manifestation of her general frustration, borne out of the denial of her true feelings. That frustration had been focussed onto her First Officer - an easy target after Seven’s initial accusations had planted the seeds of doubt where he was concerned.
Janeway wasn’t sure what might have happened if she’d kept her feelings for Seven bottled up inside any longer. Luckily she had now finally admitted to herself and Seven that she was desperately in love with the woman at her side, and suddenly all her frustrations had disappeared. Having made that leap, any annoyance Chakotay provided seemed pretty inconsequential. It was just fortunate she hadn’t killed him in the end; that no one apart from Seven knew she had even tried. Janeway would still have to live with the knowledge of what she had done, but now that she had Seven, she was sure she could find a way to cope.
Dismissing all thoughts of Chakotay, Janeway turned her attention back to the blond who slumbered contentedly at her side. She brushed her fingers lightly over Seven’s naked shoulder, careful not to wake her. Maybe she wouldn’t be reliving this exact same night again, but Janeway hoped there would be lots more chances to re-experience the events of the evening in the future that now stretched out invitingly before her.