A Woman Alone

by Emily Salzfass

Warnings: There is some homosexual lust and some sapphic admiration going on here, as well as a little innocent autoeroticism. Not vanilla, but not really rocky road either.

Archive wherever, just tell me.. .

Seven-of-Nine comes about as a result of the combined talents of Jeri Ryan and Paramount's writers. I wish to hell they'd let her have this moment, poor frustrated Borg-girl, but, since they didn't, I did. And Kate Janeway is the brainchild of Jeri Taylor and Kate Mulgrew, and she is just as fabulous as Seven thinks she is. Point being, I didn't create these characters.

She was restless. She paced the room, asked the replicator for coffee, changed her mind, changed her mind again. Taking the steaming cup, she sat down in front of her computer console.

"Computer!" She said firmly. "Respond."

"This is the USS Voyager onboard computer. How may I help you?" the computer's chipper voice returned.

Seven blinked a little, listening to the faint echo of the voice resonate off the walls, the furniture. //Warms the room nicely,// she thought. But the computer's voice faded nanoseconds after it began, and Seven furrowed her brow, listening to the faint sound stretch, warp, and disappear. Superior Borg hearing, the doctor had observed. Seven chalked it up to simply an intense desire for company, for another voice, for something other than the hollowness of her own, singular, inferior mind, that enabled her to hear better than the rest of the crew. Either way..

"This is the USS Voyager onboard computer to Crewmember Seven-of-Nine. How may I help you?"

"Oh, uh.." Seven's voice trailed. "Never mind."

A click, and the communication was severed, leaving Seven alone once more in that eerie silence called humanoid existance.

//Thinking is a lot like listening to someone else talk,// she thought. //It's like I don't know how I feel until I've verbalized it in my mind, and then I have to read it back and figure out what the hell I'm talking about. See, there? Just now. I don't know where that thought came from..I don't even get it!//

"Aaargh!" She clutched her hair in two fists and shook her head. "How do these Voyager people deal with this..this constant pull to do this or that, to want one thing or another, to need, and to feel..aargh!"

She got up. //Forget it. Forget it.// She took a deep breath, shook her head again, this time as if to shake cobwebs free. //Okay. I could go down to Engineering,// she thought. //They could use a - //

"No," she said aloud, surprising herself. "I want to be alone."

//That can't be right,// she thought, closing her eyes and checking in with herself to figure out what she wanted. And she surprised herself again.

"I'm tired of them!" she said, casting her eyes around the room nervously, trying to make sure these thoughts were hers alone. That Kim kid with his sweaty palms and pathetic attempts at inane conversation; Chakotay, so calm and peaceful and .. slow .. that Seven frequently wanted to give him a good shake; the Torres woman, interesting, determined, at least, if irrational and volatile; the blond one, her lover, named Lyons or Milan or Paris or something, good pilot - Seven had to admit this, even to herself - way too insecure for Seven's taste. Tuvok seemed okay, if a little dull. He knew right from wrong, and he seemed to get the job done..

Seven found herself sitting on the arm of her bedroom chair. She gave the chair a dirty look. "I'm tired of them. I'm tired of this ship, and all these noisy, sticky, bratty humanoids," she sighed. //Janeway, on the other hand..//

Seven nearly smacked herself. "No way," she said loudly. "It's a trick. I do not like Captain Janeway; I do not feel anything for these people. I am Borg."

But she checked, and the squirming knot in her stomach told her her initial reaction had been right. "Okay," rational-Seven took over. "There is no point in denying what is obviously true. So, now I need to find a way to use this knowledge to my advantage. I like Captain Janeway." She stumbled a little across the words, but went on, her brow furrowed, her spine straight, her eyes clear. "I respect Captain Janeway. What good is this knowledge to the collective? .. I mean, us." Seven paused, her heart fluttered for a moment. ".. I mean, me."

She stood, smoothed her skintight jumpsuit, which needed about as much smoothing as the tabletop she strode towards, and sat at the console once more.

"Computer, I want to see all your information about Captain Janeway."

Janeway's Federation-ID picture flashed up onto the monitor, captioned with, "Janeway, Kathryn, Captain. Current assignment, USS Voyager."

Seven scrolled down the page, reading Janeway's bio hungrily, her eyes darting from side to side, her legs folded beneath her as she sat, crouched as if ready to leap into the monitor. The file was aggravatingly short.

Seven blew a loud rush of air out from between her lips. "No! Computer, I want to know how Janeway thinks! How she feels! How she deals with being a single, solitary floating asteroid of a damned human every single day!"

"Displaying Captain's Logs, indexed in reverse chronological order," the computer said smoothly, not missing a beat. Seven was impressed.

"Thanks," she said before she could catch herself. She blushed a little and started reading, gnawing her lip idly, looking altogether human.

Seven had never been embarrassed before, and she wasn't about to start now. Still, at every sound of footsteps she jumped a little, looked over her shoulder more often than was really necessary, in her own quarters, with the door locked. An hour passed, then another, as Seven devoured the Captain's logs.

She read about Kes, and her time-travelling, and her early warnings of the upcoming Year of Hell.

She read about Janeway and Chakotay stranded on New Earth together, how Chakotay had built a boat and a bathtub. (Here Seven felt a pang of something that a humanoid would identify as jealousy. The former Borg ignored it, read on.)

She read about Janeway's trust in her crew, her respect for B'Elanna's talent, and Tom's (//Paris!// Seven remembered. //That's his name!//); Maquis or not, former prisoner or not, they were her most valuable crew members, and (Seven nodded to herself, understanding) they were the ones the Captain counted on to get the ship home. "Command structure has lost some meaning out here beyond the fringe," Janeway wrote. "We'll hold onto the rank system so some Ensign won't kill me, but it's not my talents that are going to get this crew home. No, that responsibility, that grave burden belongs to Lts. Torres and Paris, Chief Engineer and helmsman respectively. If they ever stop bickering and combine their talents, this ship, this phenomenal ship we call Voyager, will carry us home with the two of them at the wheel. But the burden is too great, so I'll gladly bear it for them. Let them think I'm responsible, let me take the blame. But, come hell, high water or Borg space" Seven gulped, "it's Tom and B'Elanna who are going to get us home."

Seven reminded herself to breathe. She read the last paragraph twice more, chewing on each word carefully. "She is intelligent," Seven said aloud. And even she knew that she meant to say so much more. She read on.

She read Janeway's passions (the ones that made the public logs, at least), her love of physics, of math, of pure form and analysis, her distrust of that which could not be proven.

She read Janeway's goals (the ones that made the public logs, at least), her desperate need to get the Voyager and her crew home at all costs. Her willingness to break Federation rules, to go against her first officer and her crew when she knew she was right. To take risks and jump far and fast without holding her nose.

She read Janeway's fears (the ones that made the public logs, at least), her unshakable feeling that she was to blame for getting her crew stranded in the godforsaken Delta Quadrant.

And she read the first entry: Voyager departs Earth on a routine chase-and-arrest, follows a Maquis ship toward the Badlands.

For no good reason she could understand, Seven's eyes watered. She brushed the drops away with the back of her hand.

When she looked up, three and a half hours had passed. Her room felt still, empty, stagnant. Quietly, as if she were trying not to disturb her sleeping surroundings, Seven rose, stretched her legs, listened to her knees pop and her toes crackle as she curled them. She paced the room, rolling her head on her shoulders to work out the kinks.

If she hadn't looked up just as she was passing the mirror, she might not have stopped. But she did, and she crossed to the mirror, examined herself for a long moment. //Interesting body I have,// she thought, unzipping her jumpsuit and letting it fall to the floor. A naked blond woman, her feet buried in a pool of silvery fabric, stared at Seven. She reached out, touched the glass, felt its cool flatness beneath her palm. When she pulled her hand back, ovals of sweat lingered for a moment before shrinking into nothingness on the reflective surface. Seven furrowed her brow, traced her face with a slender finger. Her hand moved down, explored the hollow of her neck, cradled the round weight of her breast. A shudder filled her body. //I like it. I like this body.// Her hand felt the ridge of her ribcage, the firm mound of her stomach. //I like this ship.// Squinting at herself, she turned sideways, examined her profile, her sloping lower back, the slight dip at the top of her thighs, her angular hipbone. She pressed her palm onto one hip, let the corner of the bone fit into the curve of her hand. Exploring with her fingers, she traced the mound of her pubis, its tender roundess. She cupped it in one hand, and her blood surged, warmed her inner thighs. She panted slightly. //Janeway. I like Janeway.// Her fingertips tingled, sensing the warmth of her thighs, her labia swelling with hot blood. She poked at it exploratatively with one finger and gasped before she could catch herself. //I understand,// she thought, but didn't know why that particular choice of words sprang to mind. //I need this. I love her.// Seven's head was spinning. In the mirror she could see herself trembling, small goosebumps rising on her arms, her knees. She parted her labia, slid a finger inside. //Why this body?// She wondered, watching her muscles contract in the mirror. //Does Janeway approve of this body?// Seven felt warm syrup slide over her fingertips, and she stroked her vagina gently, letting her fingerprints drag across its smooth surface, collecting her discharge in their grooves. She shuddered, her eyes widening. //I approve of Janeway's body..//

Seven gasped, jumped. Her finger had brushed against something that felt like a million nerve endings all standing at attention, sending static-y feedback through Seven's veins. She pulled her hand free, glared at it as if it were criminal. The Seven in the mirror did the same. //What was that?// Slowly, never removing her eyes from her reflection, she allowed her finger to find the spot again, touch it, harder this time. Teeth chattering, thigh muscles taut, toes digging into the floor, Seven fell toward the mirror, catching herself with her free hand. She looked down at her reflection's groin, the alternate-Seven's alternate-hand cupped over the top of her alternate-thigh, her first two fingers hidden in folds of flesh. //Janeway..// Seven closed her eyes tightly, collapsed into the mirror, her head buried in the crook of her arm. Her finger raced across her clitoris, in broad strokes, in circles, in short, rapid motions. She panted and the mirror grew slick with sweat. //Janeway..oh, how perfect..//Seven's breath grew short. She had slid to the floor and was crouched on her haunches, her head still flat against the mirror, her hair spread in a blonde halo. //Oh..oh! Oh! Oh!// Her body was shuddering, flooded with heat, electricity, fire, her fingertips were on fire, her calves were on fire, her stomach was dancing in a blizzard of snow and ice and flame, rivers of light and dark and stars and fire and..!

Seven collapsed on the floor with a sigh, pulled her jumpsuit over her trembling frame like a blanket.

She took a deep breath.

She took another deep breath.

In the mirror, Seven-of-Nine lay on the floor, moist with salty syrup. A smile played at the corners of her mouth, and her eyes were closed tight.

But before drifting off to welcome sleep, both Seven's shared a thought that neither fully comprehended. It was a single word. "Yes."

The End.