Title:	 The ChetSev Series
Author:  Jemima
Contact: webmaster@jemimap.cjb.net
Series:  VOY
Rating:  PG
Codes:   C&P, C&7, J&C, C/7
Summary: A series of episode additions to C/7 episodes.

Disclaimer:  When Gene Roddenberry comes to me and complains, 
	     I'll stop.

Date:  March, 2001 - December 2002

The ChetSev series consists of Take it on the Run, Borg Error, The Wrong Emotion, Au Naturel, and Every Word I Said, which are also available on separate, linked pages beginning here.

Take it on the Run

Codes:   C&P
Summary: Tom advises Chakotay to move on.  
	 Episode addition to "Workforce II".

"Eating alone, old man?"

Chakotay looked up into the concerned, but nevertheless crafty, eyes of Voyager's helmsman. Tom had adopted his wife's nickname for her former captain soon after their marriage. Chakotay ought to have nipped it in the bud, but Tom had a talent for getting away with these things.

"Have a seat, Tom," Chakotay said, bowing to the inevitable.

Tom sat down and dived into his purple pancakes like a dying man eating his last garishly-colored meal. He certainly had style, and he had something on his mind.

"Out with it, Tom."

"Mmmmphf?" the pilot inquired innocently, around a purple mouthful.

"What's up?"

Tom swallowed. "Not much - just thinking about our lives among the Quarren. It was fun while it lasted, but I wouldn't want any of our actions down there to be taken the wrong way. It would be a shame if someone held it against Celes Tal that she was employed as a telephone sanitizer."

"Or that you were wiping tables in a bar..."

"And poor Tuvok!" Tom continued, ignoring the jibe. "It would be awfully strange to see him in Sandrine's, ruining jokes and laughing too loud."

"The Doctor assures me that all of you are fully recovered."

"So there's no reason to expect that the Captain will be looking for domestic bliss here on Voyager, now that she's left Jaffen."

Chakotay was too surprised to speak.

"She should be set for another year or so," Tom continued between mouthfuls. "It's getting to be a pattern - one man a year. Remember that slippery Sikarian dude with the amazing trajector technology? Then there was Lord Burleigh, then you. You held her over for a couple of years - very impressive, old man. But all good things must end: then came Kashyk, then another hologram, and now Jaffen."

Chakotay was surprised how little Tom's callous accounting disturbed him. He should have been angry; he should have wiped the messhall floor with the brash Lieutenant. Instead, he argued.

"The Captain was engaged to be married when we left the Alpha Quadrant. She's not what you think she is."

"Oh, yeah, our three-week mission - I'm used to being this unlucky. So are Starfleet captains. I doubt she saw much of Professor Johnson way back when. And if a little war started back there in the Alpha Quadrant, say, with the Dominion, she would have been right there on the front lines, not back on Earth keeping his toes warm at night. That's not her style.

"It's not like you haven't had your own share of passing blondes. After all, the Delta Quadrant is a lonely place. In the words of a 20th-century poet, 'You're under the gun, so you take it on the run.'"

"That's her, not me," Chakotay snapped, and instantly regretted it.

"I'm glad you've finally come to your senses. The way I see it, we've all fallen for the Captain, but she's the only one of *your* old flames who's still here with us. So, like an officer and gentleman, you've tried to keep on loving her. But it's not working, is it?"

Chakotay didn't reply.

"Give yourself a break, old man. She doesn't need that kind of loyalty from you. She can find the occasional man when she needs him. You need someone else a lot more than she does, and if you were smart you'd look for her elsewhere."

"Space is a lonely place."

"This ship is full of women."

"This ship is full of women I outrank."

Tom reflected on the convoluted ways of the human mind: because Janeway was rejecting Chakotay over protocol, he displayed his loyalty to her by rejecting the rest of the crew, using the same excuse. Fortunately, fraternization was not at issue in the plan Tom had in mind.

"Not all the women are Starfleet."

"Naomi Wildman is a little young for me."

"I hear Seven of Nine has the hots for you."

Chakotay winced at Tom's ancient and colorful idiom.

"Are you suggesting I trade in the man-killer for the Borg?" The worst part of talking to Tom was how you inevitably sank to his moral and verbal level.

"It's been four years. Seven is quite...domesticated."

"She's not my type."

"I beg to differ. More than one gorgeous blonde has been seen on your arm. Seven is most certainly your type."

"I'm not the one who dates mass-murderers." Spirits, had that really come out of his mouth? He hadn't realized quite how angry he was at Kathryn.

"Let's put Kashyk behind us - even you dated a Cardassian once. At least when Seven assimilated planets it was against her will."

Mind control - how much could you really chalk up to mind control? Kathryn the power-plant worker was in many ways even more Kathryn than usual. She had been programmed to be happy, and like everything she did, she went all-out at it. In the end, though, it wasn't her happiness with Jaffen that disturbed her XO.

"While he was aboard, Jaffen came to me to apologize," Chakotay volunteered.

"Ah. For turning you in to the authorities."

"For convincing Kathryn to turn me in." Why was he baring his soul to Tom Paris? Space was a lonely place, indeed.

Tom tried to hide his involuntary gasp by saying, "You can't blame her."

"No, I can't. She plays by the rules, no matter who gets hurt."

"That's why Jaffen stayed with the Quarren, isn't it?"

"Protocol, no doubt. She can't allow herself to become - or remain - involved with her employees. She just walks away." A mixture of pain and wonder came with this realization, and Chakotay looked to Tom, Tom Paris of all people, for insight into their Captain.

Tom disappointed him by saying only, "You could walk away, too."

"I don't have her knack for it."

"You know what they think of you and her on the lower decks - that yours is a legendary love, a romance of mythic proportions."

Chakotay shrugged.

"That's what appeals to you, the romantic story of a renegade who swore fealty to a Starfleet captain. It would make a great holonovel, but as a life it leaves a lot to be desired. You can't have a great love with only one lover, Chakotay. Your relationship with the Captain is so mythic it's imaginary."

"I'll never understand her."

"That doesn't mean she's deep. You keep waiting for the real Kathryn Janeway to show up, but she's been here all along. Whenever she tries to settle down, it's with dull men like Jaffen or Professor Johnson who won't get in the way of her career. Otherwise, she takes it on the run.

"Now Seven, on the other hand, is a fascinating woman. She's led a billion lives - a billion lives cut short in their prime by violent assimilation, but a billion lives nevertheless. She's intelligent, witty, available, and she likes you."

"I don't know, Tom. I'll have to think about that one."

"Don't think too long. Doc still has a photonic eye on her, not to mention poor Harry."

"I'll keep it in mind."

Borg Error

Codes:   C&7
Summary: Chakotay advises Seven not to give up.
	 Episode addition to "Human Error".

"So old man, did you ask her out?"

B'Elanna shot Chakotay an apologetic look across the messhall table, but made no attempt to halt the interrogation.

The Commander sighed. "Yes, Tom, I gave it a shot. She wasn't interested."

"What did she say?"

"Maybe another time."

"I *told* you she had the hots for you!" Tom almost knocked over his leola shake in his excitement.

"Well, she seems to have cooled off."

"You don't know her like I do," Tom said, and B'Elanna stopped feigning fascination with her breakfast to raise a threatening eyebrow at her husband. "I mean," he stuttered, "I've heard a lot about Seven from Harry. She wouldn't say 'some other time' unless she meant it."

"In my experience, 'another time' means 'when we get back to the Alpha Quadrant'." Chakotay flashed his companions a wry grin to show he wasn't quite as bitter as he sounded.

B'Elanna, feeling sorry for the old man, told him something she hadn't intended to mention in front of her gossip-monger husband. "I agree with Tom. Something is definitely up with Seven - she asked me about my 'coiffure'."

Tom stared at her.

"My hairdo, flyboy," she explained. "I think Seven of Nine, Tertiary Adjunct to Unimatrix Zero One, has gone native."

Tom transferred his stare to Chakotay. "You're a lucky man."


After two weeks and three attempts, Chakotay found himself out on his first date with Seven. It wasn't anything fancy - just a late dinner in the mess hall - nor was Seven's attitude particularly encouraging.

"How many more minutes until you tell me what's on your mind?" Chakotay asked.

"Twelve point four," Seven answered automatically, then, hearing her own words, raised an eyebrow at her dinner companion.

"Maybe we should just skip ahead to that," he suggested.

She nodded. "Am I correct in assuming that your interest in me is romantic?"

That was blunt, but then blunt was Seven's middle name. "You may assume so, for the sake of argument," he answered.

Her eyebrow, which hadn't quite resumed parade rest, rose again. "In that case, I must regretfully inform you that I am unable to pursue such a relationship." Her voice sank with her eyebrow as she said it, punctuating the unusual declaration.

Seven of Nine had occasionally repented her actions and apologized to her more easily-offended crewmates, but indulging in an emotion like regret had seemed an inefficient use of her time. Now it seemed...appropriate.

"I had hoped to recapture my life in Unimatrix Zero." Hope - another feeling, the twin of regret. Wasn't regret just dead hope, hope for the past that had not been, or despair about the future? One of the more challenging parts of understanding emotions was the way they seemed to be definable only in terms of yet other emotions, leading her into a maze of half-formed concepts and circular reasoning.

"There, I was fully human - I fell in love, I went for walks in the woods, I lived a normal life. When I tried to create such a life for myself on the holodeck recently, my cortical node...deactivated me. For a drone, emotion is a malfunction."

"Why now and not then?" he asked.

"I am unsure. Perhaps Icheb's cortical node, which I now possess, is a more efficient model, or perhaps the fail-safe does not engage during regeneration cycles. Dreams do not impair efficiency, but daydreams do."

Ah, then she hadn't really been designing a gravimetric array all those hours in the holodeck. "You approve of this fail-safe mechanism," he said, half to himself.

"I endangered the ship." She had almost said, 'I endangered the Collective'. A glowing Borg metronome was ticking in the back of her mind - when had that started? She was treading on dangerous ground; she could not afford to get into another argument with Chakotay.

Her Chakotay would have pushed the issue. The real one did not. Instead, he placed his napkin on the table, stood up, and said, "Let's go for a walk."


"What?!?" The EMH rarely shouted; Tom quailed at the sound. Even B'Elanna looked nervous.

"I know you like Seven, Doc, but she's clearly interested in Commander Chakotay," Tom said defensively. Since when was it a crime to set people up?

"I am well aware of her *interest* in the Commander," the EMH said - bitterly, Tom thought. B'Elanna's forehead creased more than usual. She had completely forgotten the back pain that had brought them here, at Tom's insistence, for a late-night prenatal check-up.

"Computer, state the location of Seven of Nine," the EMH said in a more professional tone.

"Seven of Nine is in the Airponics bay."

"Monitor her vital signs and alert me of any changes. Authorization EMH lambda two."

"What's wrong with Seven?" B'Elanna asked.

"I am not at liberty to discuss that."

"She's broken again, isn't she, Doc?"

"Seven of Nine is not a machine, Mr. Paris." He turned to B'Elanna to add, "The baby is fine, Lieutenant. If your back is still bothering you, I can give you an analgesic."

"I'm fine, Doc, thanks."

"Well, if that's all," - he gave them no chance to answer - "computer, deactivate EMH." He faded away.

"Kahless! Chakotay..."

"Chakotay is in his element, B'E. The unattainable woman, the tragic figurehead sacrificing her own humanity for the good of the ship - I was really hoping he'd moved on, but somehow he outwitted me."

"It's not that hard, flyboy."


They sat on a bench, facing the orchids. Seven practiced a simple Vulcan breathing exercise Tuvok had taught her two weeks before, and the haunting Borg metronome grew silent. Though the Doctor still wanted to attempt repairs on her cortical node, she preferred the organic Vulcan approach to dangerous emotions. Tuvok, like Chakotay, asked no questions.

"It's not quite the woods, but then none of us have exactly what we want here on Voyager."

He was much subtler than her Chakotay, bringing her here to make the point that she could still walk in the woods, and that none of the crew had normal lives. Only one item from her description of full humanity remained: "How many more minutes until you prove that I can fall in love?"

"I think you are in love, Seven, with Axum, or the EMH, or whomever you've been daydreaming about. A person can fall in love without even noticing. Then you wake up one morning and realize, 'Spirits, I'm in love with the Captain,' and there's nothing you can do about it."

"Are you still in love with the Captain?"

"Are you still in love with Axum?" He didn't wait for a reply. "You see, it's not such an easy question to answer. Love is not a simple emotion like anger. Sometimes love is a raging fire, but more often it's a quiet knowledge that's always with you, like the voices of the Collective."

Seven found herself deeply disturbed by the possibility that she had fallen in love with at least four people - Chakotay had left Harry out of the list, but Seven's accounting was more efficient - without noticing. She was a rogue drone twice over: a Borg who felt too much emotion, and a human who existed in an equally dangerous ignorance of her own feelings. Such a state of affairs could not be allowed to continue.

"I must consult Lieutenant Commander Tuvok," she thought aloud, not realizing her companion had heard her, or that she had stood to go, until he put a restraining hand on her arm.

"Tuvok is asleep by now. I think it can wait until morning."

Seven sank to the bench. The Commander was right, and Tuvok would certainly agree - self-knowledge did not constitute an emergency. She heard the metronome ticking faintly, or was it just the beat of her heart? She would drown it out this time with speech rather than meditation.

"The Doctor believes he can repair my cortical array, but I have refused treatment."

"You want to be fully human."

"Yes." He seemed to understand, but she explained anyway, to block out the beating in her ears: "The Doctor does not operate on Lieutenant Torres for her temper or on Captain Janeway for her depression. I do not wish my personality to be regarded as a medical condition."

"To a man with a hammer, everything looks like a nail." The eyebrow went up again, so Chakotay explained, "It's an old Earth saying. The Doctor can't help wanting to 'fix' you, but you're right to refuse.

"Most of us take our integrity, our uniqueness as individuals, for granted. We know if we go to sickbay, we'll walk out with the same identity we had when we were carried in. You've had to fight for your individuality, and maybe you always will have to fight for it. But that only makes it more precious. Don't give up."

Maybe the beating was only her heart. "I won't."

He stood to leave. "Good night, Seven."

"Good night, Chakotay."

He froze for a moment at the unfamiliar sound of his name, but her attention was on the orchids. If she'd heard her slip of the tongue she gave no indication of it, so he left her to the woods and her thoughts.

The Wrong Emotion

Codes:	 J&C
Summary: Chakotay talks to Janeway, who doesn't hear.
	 Belated C/7 episode addition to "Author, Author".
         Lyrics to "That Ain't Love" are by Kevin Cronin, 1987.

"How'd it go, old man?" Tom asked Chakotay over breakfast.

For the fifth time - not that he was counting - Chakotay regretted ever baring his soul to Tom Paris, ship's gossip. The Commander didn't bother to ask how he'd known about the date with Seven.

"Not well," he replied.

"I heard she has another Borg screw loose." Tom watched carefully for Chakotay's reaction.

He glared at the helmsman, as expected. "The Doctor talks too much. Tell him he'd be more likely to succeed if he quit pushing the issue."

"He's not going to appreciate that sort of advice from you." From his rival, Tom's tone said.

Chakotay knew the Doctor had been in a bad mood since his publishing difficulties; he certainly didn't want to annoy the hologram more. "That's why *you're* going to give it," he said.

Tom nodded his assent. "So what are *you* going to do, Commander?"

"I'm going to talk to the Captain, before this gets back to her through your channels." That was, the shipboard grapevine.

Tom wondered what, exactly, might get back to the Captain. He'd pushed too far for one morning, though - speaking of which, he might as well go bluff the Doctor now as later.


You tell me what you think I'm feelin'
You know why I do what I do
Why should you listen to a word I'm sayin'
When it's already so clear to you?
You tell me 'bout my bad intentions
You doubt the very things I hold true
I can no longer live with your misconceptions
Baby all I can say to you, is

That ain't love
I believe you've got the wrong emotion
That ain't love
At least it doesn't feel like love to me
As long as I say what you wanna hear
Do what you wanna do, be who you want me to be
You think that's love,
Well baby that ain't love to me


They were scheduled for a meeting that morning. To Janeway it was like a thousand other meetings, but to Chakotay, it was a turn in the road, though at first he wasn't sure which way he was turning. Had he ever known where they were headed? They'd seemed so close after the ship had been split into various time-zones - and then there was Jaffen. Maybe that had been the turn-off; maybe today was just another milestone on this new road.

Janeway was ready to dismiss him after the usual discussion of personnel and departmental reports, but Chakotay had one last order of business. She nodded for him to speak - every motion, every expression on her face was so familiar. If you amassed enough familiarity, enough facts, did that add up to love?

"It's about Seven of Nine."

That, of course, caught her interest. "I assume this is about her performance while Voyager was in the subspace munitions range."

"In a manner of speaking, yes," Chakotay said.

"She's been at her post since then. Don't be so hard on her."

He brushed off his own annoyance - did she have to interpret all concern as criticism, even when it came to her protege? - and said, "I'm worried about her. She lives in a cargo bay, she spends most of her free time tutoring Icheb and Naomi - what kind of a life does she have aboard Voyager, really?" He didn't mention her medical condition. Janeway didn't reply, so he went on. "She might as well still be Borg. I think she needs to experience the spiritual side of her humanity."

The Captain shook her head slowly. "I don't think Seven's the type to go looking for her animal guide."

"What about you?" Chakotay asked, in a sudden swerve to the other side of the road. "When was the last time you contacted your animal guide?"

"It's been a while," she admitted readily. "I guess I'm not the spiritual type, either."

"We could try it again sometime," he offered. Did he want to try again with Kathryn Janeway? Chakotay wasn't at all sure about that, but he felt he owed her the opportunity. "I'm free tonight."

Janeway, for her part, was surprised by this sudden assault. She preferred putting off these sorts of conversations indefinitely. It mattered very little to her whether or not she wanted to chase her spirit guide around a dreamscape; she had her duty to think of. Part of that duty involved maintaining a professional distance from her crew.

"Some other time," she answered.

"There may not be another time."

This conversation was getting more serious than she'd intended to allow any conversation with Chakotay to get. Janeway had only one answer to such questions, but this was neither the time nor the place for it. "Let's talk this over - say, over dinner tonight?" she offered.

Although he wasn't reassured, he accepted the invitation.


We've got to talk it over sometime,
These feelings won't just disappear
I'm just gonna keep telling you what's on my mind
Even if it's not what you wanna hear
Oh right now your world and mine are such different places
Through yours I wander lost and confused
And I feel like I'm speaking in a different language
And the only words I haven't used, are

That ain't love
I believe you've got the wrong emotion
That ain't love
At least it doesn't feel like love to me
As long as I say what you wanna hear
Do what you wanna do, be who you want me to be
You think that's love,
Well baby that ain't love to me


Her quarters, her territory. The entire ship was her territory - the bridge her workspace, the holodeck her living room. He was serving aboard the U.S.S. Kathryn Janeway. He sighed, pressed the door chime, and reported for duty.

Another replicated meal was spread on her table, like a hundred before it. Seven, he recalled, had cooked that late dinner in the mess hall, on their first and only date. He hadn't known at the time; Tom had pried the information out of Neelix after the fact. Now he owed her home-cooking - it would be a good excuse to coax the former drone out on another date. With an effort, he returned his attention to the woman at hand and complimented her on the arrangement.

"I felt like celebrating," Janeway explained. "We'll be home soon - I can feel it in my bones." Everyone was optimistic, now that Voyager had established real-time communications with Starfleet.

"Far be it from me to question captain's intuition," he said, feigning an enthusiasm to accompany hers, "but there's an ancient saying..."

"And that would be?"

"Trust in Allah but tie up your camels."

She laughed. "You're worse than Neelix sometimes."

He tried to smile at that; judging from her expression, he succeeded. For all Seven's blunt criticism, the former drone never belittled anyone. Fact without malice was Seven's approach; the woman before him, on the other hand, pushed and pulled on any lever she could reach.

Janeway might have agreed with his sentiments, except for the disapproval. She danced a careful dance with Chakotay, one that had been choreographed long before, when Tuvok had retrieved the two of them from New Earth. Teasing here, smiling there, the Captain was in rare form. Her partner, on the other hand, seemed distracted, stumbling over old, familiar steps. She tried to reinvigorate him with promises of blue-green Earth.

"Between us and Starfleet, we'll build a transwarp drive or find a wormhole home in no time." She set her own crew on a par with the best of Starfleet Research. "Once we're home, we'll all have time to pursue our personal interests. Seven and Icheb will be able to live normal lives," she added, recalling one of his concerns from their meeting earlier in the day.

She hadn't heard a word he'd said, so Chakotay proceeded to tie up the camels himself. "We won't get home instantaneously - not even B'Elanna is that fast." He could almost share her enthusiasm - almost. "We ought to plan for another year or two in the Delta Quadrant."

"What did you have in mind?" she asked lightly.

Chakotay let out a breath, suddenly annoyed at her flippant attitude, though she'd taken such plans for adjusting to the Delta Quadrant lightly, all along. "We should pay more attention to the shore leave schedules - the crew have been shortchanged there for a while now. Replicator rationing is a long-term inconvenience that we could work around, if we gave it a bit more thought." It would certainly be simpler than building a transwarp drive. "Also, Seven and Icheb don't have to live in a cargo bay. I'll arrange quarters for them."

"That isn't necessary."

"In my opinion, it is. The crew shouldn't have to spend the next forty years at yellow alert." Not just because the Captain enjoyed living that way, in any event. Nor could he spend another forty years, or four, waiting for his life to begin, though it was clear enough from her words that that was exactly what she expected him to do.

"Do as you like, Chakotay, but I'm telling you, we're almost home. I can feel it."

The odd thing was, he believed her. They were almost there, almost home, almost free, almost a couple. And he almost cared - almost.

"Thank you for dinner," he said, and stood to leave.

Another misstep, she thought, as she walked her guest to the door. He should have stayed and fenced with her in words, just a little longer, at least. He should have seemed more reluctant to go.

Chakotay was just moody, she told herself - he'd come around eventually. She couldn't expect the crew to have the stamina their Captain did. He was probably tired of the Delta Quadrant, and of duties like worrying over Icheb's socialization. Well, no matter, she thought. They could all get back to normal lives, once Voyager was home.


You keep tellin' me, you know a place
Where your life would be better
You're makin' plans long-range
But I don't know how you expect to get there,
When you refuse to change

Oh baby - that ain't love
I believe you've got the wrong emotion
That ain't love
At least it doesn't feel like love to me
As long as I say what you wanna hear
Do what you wanna do, be who you want me to be
You think that's love,
Well baby that ain't love to me

Au Naturel

Codes:	 C&7
Summary: That missing second date.
	 Belated C/7 episode addition to "Natural Law".

The EMH let out a holographic gasp of excitement. Tom, on duty in sickbay, heard.

"What's up, Doc?"

"It's confidential, medic."

"Is it about fixing Seven?" the perceptive helmsman asked, closing a drawer of medical tricorders and hyposprays.

"No comment." The EMH continued his inspection of the surgical bay.

"You can tell me," Tom said, leaving his inventory assignment altogether to further pester the hologram. "I know all about her cortical node problems." It had taken some effort to worm it out of the old man, but eventually Tom had convinced Chakotay that he needed to know, in order to track just such developments as this.

When it came to gossip, the Doctor rarely disappointed. "She refused to have the sequence of surgeries I proposed, but now I believe I've come up with a quicker, all-in-one approach. Perhaps she'll agree to this one," he concluded hopefully.

"Could you put off telling her, Doc?"

"Why?" His holographic eyes narrowed in a convincing simulacrum of suspicion.

"You have an excellent track record of successes using reverse psychology on the Borg." As Tom did using flattery on the Doctor.

"Indeed," the EMH agreed, proudly recalling the time he'd gotten his patient to accept visitors by claiming she wasn't up for a game of kadis-kot with Neelix. "I'll keep that in mind, Lieutenant."


Tom briefed Chakotay on the development over dinner, and the Commander agreed with his assessment. The more difficult the surgeries appeared to Seven, the more likely she was to consider them. What seemed too easy could also seem dehumanizing - like throwing a switch somewhere among her Borg implants, to remake herself in someone else's image.

"At least the Borg don't have to eat leola stir-fry," Tom said, interrupting his companion's train of thought.

Chakotay stared at the soy substitute blankly for a moment. Then he had an idea. "Tom," he said, in a friendly tone.

"Chakotay," Tom replied, immediately suspicious.

"The Ledosians complained that their tricorders were left behind when you beamed their expedition to the Delta Flyer."

"I didn't know the Ledosians had tricorders," Tom replied.

"Something like them," Chakotay said, waving his fork dismissively. "Their final transmission demanded that we return and reopen the Ventu preserve so they could retrieve their contaminating technology - for the Ventu's sake, of course."

"Of course. What did the Captain tell them?"

"Something about the Prime Directive and not interfering in local Ledosian matters."

Tom nodded and swallowed a chunk of leola.

"Tom," Chakotay said again.


"I want them."

"Why?" the helmsman asked, forgetting to disavow all knowledge of the missing instruments.

"A memento..."

"I could work up a holodeck program out of the Ledosians' readings," Tom offered.

"I had something else in mind."


Neelix bubbled over with his usual enthusiasm at Chakotay's idea. With Tom's contribution of the Ledosian's purloined data, Neelix's stock of local foodstuffs from Ledos, and Chakotay's replicator rations, the next day's lunch was quickly transformed into an authentic Ventu meal.

It was Neelix's idea to stack up the tables and chairs in a corner of the mess hall and serve lunch around a simulated campfire in the center of the room. He also publicized his "Ventu Lunch au Naturel" that morning on "Breakfast with Neelix", so the lunchtime crowd was unusually large.

Seven didn't follow "Breakfast with Neelix"; arriving at the transformed mess hall, she was surprised to see the crowd on the floor passing around Ventu dishes and asking the Commander about his experiences on Ledos. When Chakotay had invited her to a meal, she had expected a table and chairs - or at least cutlery. She was about to turn around and leave when B'Elanna greeted her.

"Tom claims this is an authentic Ventu meal," she explained, maneuvering Seven towards the patch of carpet where she'd left her husband and Chakotay. "Neelix and Chakotay put it together."

"Where did they get the information?"

"They won't say," B'Elanna said pointedly, staring down at Tom.

"Commander," Seven added by way of greeting. He replied with the Ventu sign for hello, at which she raised an eyebrow.

With a grunt or two, B'Elanna lowered herself gingerly to the floor. Seven conformed to this new human aberration and helped herself to the food being passed around. With the food came questions about the Ventu from Tom and B'Elanna, as well as crewmen she hardly knew. She was surprised how much she could tell about their primitive culture after such a short stay on the planet.

The lunch crowd eventually thinned and Tom and B'Elanna excused themselves, leaving Chakotay alone with Seven for an awkward moment before Neelix reappeared from the kitchen and broke the tension.

"Seven, what did *you* think about shutting the Ventu back under the energy barrier?" Neelix still had his doubts about the Prime Directive.

"I remain uncertain." What was the intrinsic worth of the Ventu's primitive way of life?

"I thought you believed in technological advances," the Talaxian said. The implied 'because you're Borg' hung in the air unspoken.

Seven glanced momentarily at her own Borg-enhanced hand, wrapped around a clay bowl, and thought of the natives decorating themselves with shuttle debris. "Perhaps one can have too much of a good thing."

Neelix nodded. "Well, I'll let you two get back to your date," he said, and quickly disappeared into the kitchen.

Seven raised an eyebrow. "Did you arrange this for my benefit?"

"Everyone benefitted," Chakotay replied.

Seven was familiar with evasion; she had learned to take everything short of outright denial as an admission of guilt. She moved on to her next question: "Where did you get the information?" There was too much detail, including fruits and vegetable dishes she did not recall from their time on Ledos.

"Let's just say you don't have to worry about the Ledosian expedition's scans of the deflector."

Seven was mentally following this chain of evasion back to Tom Paris when Chakotay changed the subject.

"The hardest decision to make," he said, "is whether to go back to nature. If we hadn't crashed inside the barrier, we would never have considered removing it. But once it was down, it was much harder to put back up again - the temptation to accept a *fait accompli* is strong."

"Entropy is a law of nature."

"Entropy is a tendency. You can resist it."

A hail from Tuvok reminded Chakotay of a meeting he was late to, and he stood to leave. Seven made the sign for "thank you".

Chakotay signed "you're welcome" as he departed. Seven remained sitting on the floor, lost in thought, for some time afterwards.

Every Word I Said

Codes:   C/7
Summary: A very belated C/7 episode addition to "Endgame,"
	 last in a series of five C/7 episode additions.

In the midst of the festivities, the former Maquis clumped together - not out of wariness, for all had clearly been forgiven long before Voyager's return.

"Cheer up, old man," Tom said. His father had gushed over Miral for a decorous amount of time, but then duty had called the new grandpa away. Tom and B'Elanna were left with the knot of Maquis whose family members, if living, would have to wait weeks for reunions here or back in the former demilitarized zone. "It took two of her," Tom said, "but she finally got us home."

Chakotay looked a little sadly around the green parade grounds of Starfleet Academy, unsure whether he had gained or lost by this sudden return to the Alpha Quadrant. "Things have changed, Tom," he said. What little home he'd had was now mothballed in a spacedock, and Seven of Nine was not among the lonely Maquis. Irene Hansen had taken charge of both Seven and Icheb, placing them firmly in the larger, happier Terran portion of the crowd.

Chakotay spotted Janeway, up on a grandstand giving yet another interview to the eager press corps. She was the center of attention, a commanding presence even in a crowd of thousands. He thought she met his eye and smiled, but perhaps it was a more generic gesture, accompanying warm words about her loyal crew.

B'Elanna saw the non-interaction and distracted Chakotay by offering him an irresistable armful of Miral. "Tom," she said, "why don't you bring Icheb over here? He hasn't met our little parasite yet."

"Yes, ma'am."

Along with Icheb, Tom retrieved Seven, Irene, and refreshements. B'Elanna made all the necessary introductions as Chakotay passed Miral over to Icheb.

There was no privacy in the crowd that day, but all other eyes were on Miral as Seven turned to Chakotay. "My aunt has offered to become Icheb's legal guardian."

"I'm sure he's old enough to be emancipated," Chakotay replied.

"She claims he ought to 'get out more'. She intends to ensure that he socializes properly while at the Academy."

"I assume she has similar plans for you."

She nodded. "Our situation has changed."

"We no longer have dangerous occupations," he said.

Seven smiled.


Most of Voyager's crew had friends or family on Earth. Starfleet lent the unclaimed crewmembers a few houses in the restored North Beach neighborhood usually reserved for visiting diplomats. Somehow Irene managed to get herself assigned to one with Seven, Icheb, and Chakotay.

Seven accepted the fait accompli. Chakotay's own suspicions about the matter were confirmed when Tom stopped by to visit. The wind whistled in the doorway as Chakotay let him into the empty house.

"How do you like the digs, old man?" Tom asked, making himself comfortable on a Victorian period reproduction of a daybed.

Chakotay was never quite sure what Tom was saying when he sank into dialect. "If you mean the house, it's lovely. I never made it out this way when I was a cadet. Seven and Irene are out for the morning." He handed Tom a synthehol drink - something green and vile that had come with the decor. "I haven't seen the Captain around."

Tom sipped his mock-absinthe. "The brass are keeping her close at hand. She's a PR bonanza, our Captain."

Chakotay didn't ask; he just stared.

Tom soon buckled. "I confess. My father left the console on in his office and I...rearranged a few things."

"The Captain won't be pleased when she finds out."

"I still know how to cover my tracks," Tom boasted. "I just came out here to tell you that B'Elanna and I are taking a position at Utopia Planitia."

"Congratulations," Chakotay said, and meant it. "That was a quick decision."

"It was the chance of a lifetime - two posts open at once in the design department. You know B'Elanna was always full of ideas on how Voyager *should* have been put together."

"I'm sure all Starfleet's new designs will be adequately cheese-proofed."

Tom grinned. "Speaking of job offers..."

"You know about ours." Chakotay was tempted to ask whether Tom had arranged all of these once-in-a-lifetime career opportunities during his encounter with Admiral Paris' console. He resisted the urge.

"I've heard rumors," Tom said, "just rumors."

Chakotay relayed the news simply. "Seven and I were offered positions with the Federation Council on Exobiology."

"That's her parents' old outfit, isn't it?"

"Yes. They're interested in the Borg's knowledge of other species, and in my anthropological research in the Delta Quadrant." His excitement began to show through. "Seven has more data buried in her secondary memory than she's ever tried to access. Translating it from Borg terms to human ones will be an exciting challenge for her, and reconstructing entire civilizations out of fragmentary Borg data--"

"--is an archaeologist's dream job," Tom completed his thought. "That's great. I suppose that means you'll be staying on Earth for a while."

"Yes. We all need some time on solid ground."


Seven sat alone on the porch, gazing unseeing at the landscape below. She knew that this part of Earth was considered unusually beautiful, but she had not formulated an opinion on the matter. The wind blowing through her hair was a sensation of which she had not yet tired, so she closed her eyes to appreciate it more fully. Eventually, she heard the porch door slide open.

She could tell who it was by his polite silence. Without opening her eyes, she said, "Captain Janeway stopped by today. She invited us to dinner."

Chakotay placed one hand on her shoulder, but did not reply.

She opened her eyes. "I believe that had you been here, she would have invited only you." Seven's tone held no recriminations. Fact was fact.

He looked down the hillside, seeing a beauty there she could not, or would not, see. "Things have changed, Seven."

"So she hopes," Seven said, shaking off his hand as she stood up by the porch railing. "The Captain is accustomed to having her own way."

He joined her at the rail. "So are you."

She examined the scene more carefully, trying to see the order of the Omega particle in the style of the reconstructed buildings and the chance glints of sunlight off the ocean. What if she could never see what he saw out there? Maybe he wanted someone more...human.

"Do you still love her?" she asked.

"Does it matter?"

She turned to him. His eyes were dark but his tone was teasing, and she knew she had won this war she'd never meant to fight with her mentor and friend, Kathryn Janeway. Seven of Nine had struck no blows, she'd cherished no fragile human hopes - she'd even fled the battlefield once or twice, yet here she stood, the victor.

This place was beautiful after all, she decided.


The end.

Say No to J/C