Summary: Ro Laren tries to adjust to life with the junior Wildwomen. Kathryn and Seven welcome Kathryn’s career change, and the extended family celebrates Christmas. The decision to open a permanent wormhole to the Beta Quadrant causes political unrest for the Sato crew, and Kieran must face an old nemesis.
Author’s Note: The full cast of characters is fleshed out in this transitional episode.
Foreword & Dedication: The hectic pace of my real life notwithstanding, I have managed to find time to entertain a whole new direction for the series that I would never have considered if not for the whole new direction my own personal life has taken. I’m almost as excited by the ideas for the story as I am by the developments in my own little corner of paradise. Sincere thanks to Jen for the plot developments we started hashing out last January, and my apologies to my faithful readers for taking so long to get it on cyberpaper, nearly six months later. Fasten your seatbelts, kids, because this ride is about to get interesting—but then the story always parallels my life in certain respects, and Jen, this is turning out to be one hell of a roller coaster ride. I defy Kit Wildman to write ANY coaster this thrilling. Now if I can just figure out a way to stop working 65 hours a week, I might have time to actually finish this damned series! Side note: My beloved spousal equivalent informs me I am not allowed to ever finish the series, or I will wind up singing along with Tammy Wynette, “My D-I-V-O-R-C-E”. I guess we know who wears the pants in this family…or the SED as the case may be.
The Sato Series, Episode 3: Ancient History By Michelle Marquand
The USS Sato traveled at high-warp through the Alpha Quadrant, making its way home. Captain Kathryn Janeway lounged with her wife, Seven of Nine, holding the young Borg in her arms, as they stretched out on the couch in their quarters.
“Kit did a good job cleaning up,” Seven commented, grinning. “I’m glad she lost the bet. You should gamble more often, Kathryn,” she teased her wife, waggling her elegantly arched golden eyebrows playfully.
Kit Wildman, the helmsman of the Sato, had made a foolish bet with Kathryn, and upon losing it, had paid the price of cleaning the Captain’s quarters, and of taking the Captain for an extravagant dinner.
Kathryn chuckled, her auburn hair swaying gently as she did. “I only wanted the lobster dinner. The cleaning was Kit’s idea. She was so sure she’d win,” she snickered. “She did make the place shine,” Kathryn allowed. “I don’t think Geejay had seen the floor of her room in months.”
The Captain surveyed the expansive living room, pleased at the order and detail Kit had attended to. The glass curio case had been polished and dusted, and the mementos inside were exactly placed the way the couple had left them. Inside the case were souvenirs and art pieces from their thirteen years in the Delta Quadrant, years they spent lost aboard the starship Voyager.
“I wonder if Kit made the Wildwomen help her?” Seven asked, thinking of Kit’s wives, Jenny and Emily Wildman. Seven was fond of the younger women, and assumed they had assisted their mischievous partner in paying for her folly.
“They probably wouldn’t,” Kathryn noted. “Kit should know better than to challenge me, and there’s not much chance her wives would support such stupidity,” she boasted.
“When is she playing you in Velocity?” Seven asked, hugging Kathryn’s sinewy arms around her waist.
“Tomorrow morning. You’ve played her. Is she really that good?” Kathryn asked, kissing Seven’s soft, white-blonde hair. Kathryn had an inordinately prideful streak when it came to her athletic prowess. She only played Velocity and tennis, now, but she was loathe to relinquish her standing in either sport aboard the ship. She had a reputation to uphold, and even more so against a junior officer like Kit.
Seven chuckled softly, knowing Kathryn was in for the match of her life. “Yes. Don’t kill yourself trying to win, Kathryn. Promise me,” she demanded. “I want you in one piece, for any number of reasons,” she flirted, wiggling her bottom against her wife.
“I’ll be careful, love. Did you have fun tonight?” she asked tenderly, knowing Seven adored dancing together, simply because it allowed them to hold each other while they listened to music. Kathryn had taken Seven dancing earlier at the Transwarp, an intimate restaurant that boasted a holographic orchestra for the dinner hour, so that Kit had plenty of time and space to do a thorough sanitation of the Captain’s quarters.
“I did. We should do it more often. Once you’re an ambassador, you’ll have to take me to all sorts of formal diplomatic functions, and I will get to dance to my heart’s content,” she decided. “You are certain you are at peace with this decision, Kathryn?” she asked softly, turning in the smaller woman’s arms to look in her steel gray eyes.
Kathryn Janeway had elected to step down from her Captaincy of the Sato, to become an Ambassador to the Beta Quadrant, in anticipation of the permanent wormhole that Lenara Kahn Wildman would soon be creating between the Alpha and the Beta Quadrants. The placement of the actual aperture inside the Beta Quadrant was a current topic of debate at Starfleet, and the Federation member worlds were hotly contesting the current plan to place the exit point outside Romulan space. Kathryn was not looking forward to the lengthy negotiations that awaited her on Earth. But she was satisfied about the direction she was taking.
“My darling, I am completely assured this is the right career move. I want time with you, and with Erin, and Hannah, and Geejay. And I’m so excited to be going home. Mom is going to flip over the baby,” she laughed happily. “And I need a vacation. And Mom is so excited to have us home for Christmas. Harry and Phoebe are coming, too,” she noted. “It’ll be the first time in years we’ve all been there—since the year Naomi and Kieran brought Kit to meet us all.”
Seven giggled like a girl. “I love you, Kathryn. I always have such fun at the farm. I wish your mother and Kieran’s father could ship out with us. I miss your mother.”
Kathryn’s mother, Gretchen Janeway, had become romantically involved with Kieran Wildman’s father Gerald Thompson, several years before when Gerry became a widower. The elderly couple tended to the matters of home, and kept their starfaring children rooted in the Sol system.
“I know,” Kathryn sighed. “That was the only difficult thing about choosing to remain aboard the ship. Mom is getting up there, now. But I know Gerry keeps an eye on her, and since he’s younger, he keeps her spry.”
“Spry?” Seven laughed. “Is that what you call what they do? Keeping each other spry?” she teased, referring to the elderly couples rather vocal sexual antics.
Kathryn laughed. “Darling, don’t give me the creeps by making me think about what they do. I’ve heard them often enough to have nightmares.”
Seven kissed her intimately, exploring her mouth with a curious tongue. “I think I should keep you spry, my love,” Seven flirted with her. “You’re going to be fifty soon, you know. I can only imagine what sort of horrible pranks the Wildwomen will pull for your birthday.”
“It’s not until May, don’t rush it,” Kathryn scolded. “And Kieran, I’m sure, is already plotting. But she’s going to be forty next fall, and I intend to do it in style,” she promised. The Captain and her first officer had a long, infamous history of playing practical jokes on one another, dating all the way back to their early relationship on Voyager, nearly eleven years before. The longest standing joke was the defilement of a model of Kieran’s Academy statue which was in the Sato’s gymnasium.
“Speaking of practical jokes,” Seven grinned conspiratorially. “Did Amanda approve the plan?”
Kathryn let out a peal of laughter. Amanda Brand, an Admiral in charge of Starfleet Academy, had been the one to purchase the replica of Kieran’s statue for the Sato. Amanda loved ribbing Kieran Wildman almost as much as she loved beating Kieran at poker, which is how she got the money for the statue. “She loved the idea,” Kathryn enthused. “She’s making all the preparations, she promised me. Kieran is going to kill us,” she said with delight.
“I want to help,” Seven offered, turning back to face outward again and leaning her head back against her wife. Seven smiled softly to herself, silently reveling in the comfortable intimacy she shared with Kathryn.
Kathryn nodded. “Of course. I should promote Kit to commander for coming up with this one. If Kieran only knew that most of these tricks are driven by her own daughter, she’d toss Kit out an airlock,” she laughed.
Seven chuckled with glee. Kieran, in fact, was already planning Kathryn’s birthday, and the details made Seven want to cackle out loud. And if Kathryn pulled off this latest prank, it would only make Kieran more determined to get Kathryn’s goat. The one-upmanship kept the crew in stitches, and the humor between the two women kept their friendship thriving. Unfortunately for Kieran, she was outnumbered, as Kathryn had a huge group of conspirators assisting her in the perpetual ribbing of the Commander.
“Do you have a favorite, of all the pranks you’ve pulled on her over the years?” Seven asked, chest thrumming with amusement.
Kathryn thought about it. “Well, I was rather fond of the one where I left her in charge of the bridge and made the computers simulate a Borg cube attacking the ship—but really, darling, I can’t take much credit for that, since you did the programming. It was eerily realistic, when that cube appeared on sensors and then on the viewscreen. By the time I got to the bridge, Kieran was in such a lather! She didn’t think that one was a bit funny,” Kathryn noted, pleased with herself.
Seven grinned. “I liked that one, too, but her retaliation was very imaginative,” she pointed out.
Kathryn scowled. “I still don’t know how she knew I was naked. I think you helped her with that one,” she accused. “Beaming me into the holodeck in my sleep was bad enough, but without clothes? And really, making me wake up naked in a pig sty? I had mud in my ass crack for a week,” she groused.
Seven threw back her head and laughed. “You exaggerate, darling. It was holographic mud, and would have disappeared from your ass crack the second you left the holodeck.”
Kathryn shook her head, turning Seven in her arms so they were face to face again. “No, she linked the god damned replicators to the program. The mud was real. I can only imagine how long it took her to clean that mess up. And I have Tom Paris to thank for figuring out how to interleave the two technologies to make some of the simulated details real. But I suppose I can’t complain,” she decided, smiling. She fingered a necklace Seven had made for her from a piece of replicated Jasper inside their Wyoming program. “The technology has some useful applications,” she said fondly.
“I’m glad you like it,” Seven said softly, nuzzling Kathryn’s lips.
Kathryn was still thinking about their pranks. “But I got her good,” she added darkly, licking her lips with satisfaction, remembering her subsequent strike against the Commander.
“I thought it was cruel, at that point. She has such a bug phobia, Kathryn,” Seven reminded her reproachfully. “Really, darling, when we were on the jungle planet, I had to kill every bug that came near our encampment.”
“Then all the better to confront her with it. She’s the great white psychologist, after all,” the auburn-haired Captain snickered wickedly. “Nothing like a little desensitization.”
Seven snorted inelegantly. “It’s supposed to be gradual, not an immersion into the phobia itself. But it was ingenious hiring the children to collect the bugs from the arboretum, and I know Katie and Geejay thought it was great fun. And it was nice of you to warn the other Wildwomen so they wouldn’t get in bed with Kieran that night.”
Kathryn laughed. “We’ve backed off with the cruelty factor, since then. I think she realized I’m much more heartless than she is,” she chuckled. “I’m going to miss the pranks, in fact. But this one will have to be the last hurrah. If I’m going to be an ambassador, I have to have some semblance of dignity.”
Seven kissed her sweetly. “You will be the exemplar of dignity, my darling, and the uncharted worlds of the Beta Quadrant will join the Federation en masse.”
Kathryn hugged Seven tighter. “Would you join, if you were the liaison of an alien world, my love?” she asked playfully.
“I was, and I already have,” Seven replied, leaning forward in her wife’s arms to kiss her tenderly. “But why don’t you show me your best diplomacy, and prove to me how persuasive you can be?” she invited. “It never hurts to practice,” she added, glacier blue eyes twinkling invitingly.
Kathryn kissed her back, tongue avid in Seven’s mouth, leaving the young Borg breathless in an instant. “How shall I persuade you, my gorgeous wife?” she whispered against Seven’s lips.
“That was a good opening strategy,” Seven teased, taking Kathryn’s face in warm hands and returning the kiss with ardor. She adored these drawn out seductions, the way that the two women verbally circled each other. Bantering this way was something Seven had learned with Kieran, and Kathryn seemed to enjoy it as much as her Borg wife did, although the intrepid Captain attributed the nuance of it to Seven’s overall increasing mastery of her humanity. She had no idea where the knowledge had really come from, nor did she care.
Kathryn’s mouth opened delicately beneath Seven’s, the soft warmth of Seven’s tongue inciting her arousal with the gradual exploration of Kathryn’s lips, the tracing of their curves, the teasing way that Seven nipped at Kathryn’s mouth. Kathryn responded by reaching for the buttons of Seven’s blouse, opening the first one and letting one languid finger caress the base of Seven’s throat and the v-shaped exposure of her chest.
Seven’s entire focus shifted to that touch, and she shivered as Kathryn let her finger trail along the silken skin.
Kathryn’s lips curled at the edges, and she said throatily, “Darling, are you cold?”
Seven replied with a bruising kiss, her tongue thrust in Kathryn’s eager mouth. “You know very well I am not,” she snarled, her voice graveled with desire.
Kathryn chuckled gently, pulling another of Seven’s buttons free and smoothing her hands over the younger woman’s porcelain chest, opening the blouse further. “Good,” she smarted, “because I intend to have most of your clothes on the floor any minute now,” she promised, sliding her hands to the back of Seven’s head and responding with heated kisses of her own. She noted the intensity of Seven’s gaze, the blueness there and the fire that smoldered. “I love you, Annika,” she assured her wife, her voice suddenly threaded with tenderness.
Seven fixed her with a blistering gaze, still holding Kathryn’s face in her hands. “Then take me, Kathryn. Take me to bed and show me that you do. I need you. I need to belong to you,” she asserted passionately, the yearning evident in her tone.
Kathryn never quite understood these moments of near desperation in Seven, but they were fleeting, and she didn’t mind that Seven had occasional insecurities. She supposed they were born of their history, which had been far from certain, and at various junctures quite tenuous. But the tendency was much more pronounced since Seven returned home from her eight-month tenure on the jungle planet with Kieran Wildman, as if that experience had somehow created a deeper need in the Borg’s psyche to be claimed by Kathryn Janeway, to be assured of her place in Kathryn’s life. Kathryn assumed that the experience had left Seven’s sense of continuity shaken on some fundamental level, and she had to admit, her own sense of that continuity had suffered just as much. Being torn from one another was difficult enough, but knowing how fragile the chemistry of love truly was—that was a harsh realization for both women. It made them both cling to one another at times, needing a deeper certainty, a solidity that could not be found in mere words. And they found it in their sexual connection to one another, a grounding and a sustenance that bound them more closely than vows or promises or rings ever could.
Those times between them were the most frenzied in their passion, the most vulnerable, and both women came to one another completely defenseless then, open, exposed, almost primitive in their need and their greed of one another. It had happened the first night when Seven had come home, and her frantic cries and raking fingernails had startled Kathryn, but they had sparked something much deeper in the older woman than Kathryn had ever felt, a desire that blazed fiercely and echoed Seven’s fervent cries and desperate need.
As for Seven, she found she responded primally to Kathryn’s acceptance of their nearly furious lovemaking, and she was grateful that Kathryn hadn’t questioned it or faulted her for it. She recalled how once, long ago, Kathryn had torn Seven’s clothing trying to get it off, and that had frightened the Borg. Now it would not frighten her, and in fact, would likely kindle an equally intense reaction. And that was what had fundamentally changed between them—not the passion itself, but their trust in one another and in their relationship, and it allowed them to share those deeper vulnerabilities. It had taken them so long to find that trust, but ultimately, it had come to them both, and it had freed them in ways neither woman fully comprehended.
Kathryn swallowed hard, riveted to the spot by the insistence in Seven’s request. She nodded mutely, untangling their limbs and rising from the couch, taking Seven with her. She sealed the door to their bedroom, requested one eighth lighting, and gazed wordlessly up at her beautiful wife, reaching for the remaining buttons of Seven’s blouse. Seven returned the look with confidence, took Kathryn’s hands in her own, clasped them to the edges of the shirt’s placket, and jerked it roughly open. Buttons flew everywhere, and Kathryn understood intimately what her wife was asking for with that simple rending of fabric.
Seven grabbed Kathryn, clutching at her shoulders and kissing her fiercely, deeply. Kathryn looked up at her with a questioning expression, needing confirmation that it was Kathryn’s basest desires Seven wanted to spark. Seven groaned between kisses, breathing in Kathryn’s ear momentarily. “Kathryn, please,” she whispered, “make me yours.”
In the frantic pursuit of becoming naked as quickly as possible, more buttons scattered across the bedroom floor, and Seven found herself suddenly beneath her wife, flat on her back, Kathryn’s fingers buried in her warm, wet walls. She tore at Kathryn’s mouth with her own, gasping, hips rising to meet penetrating digits, her needful moans spurring her wife to a heightened sense of urgency. Kathryn moved over her, arching into the sensation of Seven’s nails digging into bare flesh, Kathryn’s buttocks stinging with the sweetest pain she had ever known. Seven threw her head back, baring her throat for Kathryn’s teeth, and Kathryn obliged by raking them down the delicate flesh.
Seven heaved Kathryn onto one side, reaching for the older woman’s sex, fingers thrusting without preamble into Kathryn’s opening, and the two women’s eyes locked in that moment as they penetrated one another, straining to bring their bodies closer together, both silenced by the immediacy of their lovemaking. The rhythmic motion usurped any control they had over their vocalizations, and their bedroom was filled with intimate murmurs and gasps and whimpers, and finally, passionate cries of release.
Seven regarded her wife with astonishment as her senses returned, her awareness of Kathryn inside her, and of her fingers inside Kathryn. She realized they were both perspiring and panting, but could not say for certain how they had come to that state of exhaustion. She smiled softly, kissing Kathryn with renewed tenderness, the emotional tide washing over them both in the aftermath of the frenzy. Seven was reminded of the feeding of sharks, the way they became so driven and frantic until they were sated. It was as though she and Kathryn had a biological need as basic as hunger at times, and only relentless and vigorous finger fucking could satisfy them. She marveled at the concept, slipped her fingers free of Kathryn’s interior, and brought the slickness to her mouth, sucking it away. Kathryn’s pupils dilated at the sight of her young wife feasting on her juices, and knew as her need returned that it was going to be a long and passionate night.
Kieran Wildman wearily made her way to her quarters, her brain fogged with the details of the day’s briefing. She was disgusted with the politics surrounding Lenara Kahn Wildman’s wormhole experiments, all the posturing and maneuvering among the Federation member worlds. The Romulans were gloating over Starfleet’s decision to place the exit aperture in Romulan space, rubbing the Klingon’s noses in it. The Klingons were fit to be tied over the indications that the wormhole would bypass Klingon space. The Empire felt it had been slighted and undervalued, and had demanded a formal session of the Federation delegates to address the matter. So instead of a relaxing holiday with the family, Kieran knew the Sato’s senior officers would be tied up in meetings the second Christmas had passed.
No wonder Kathryn wanted to step down, Kieran realized. She remembered Christmas at the Thompson household, and what a huge celebration it had always been. Kieran’s parents were marine biologists, not Starfleet officers, and no one told them where to go or when to go. Christmas had been a special, family time. Kieran wanted this holiday with her infant daughter, Cami, especially because she had missed so much of Cami’s infancy. Now it looked as though she would have to escort her wife, Lenara, to a plethora of dull meetings over the wormhole issue.
Kieran had spent the evening conferring with Ro Laren over dinner, discussing the security issues surrounding the conference, most notably with regard to Lenara Wildman. Kieran was always protective of her family, but doubly so in this instance. The Klingons were out for blood, and to make matters worse, their representative from the high counsel was none other than P’Arth of the house of Ve’chuk, Kieran’s ex-lover and former abusive partner, who was now Chancellor, or the head of the Klingon High Council.
Ro Laren had watched the briefing vid in disbelief, shaking her head. “KT,” she had breathed raggedly, “how the fuck did that parasite get on the Klingon high counsel?” she had demanded, hatred glittering in her dark eyes.
Kieran had tried to tell Laren it would be fine. “Hey,” she had said to the Bajoran head of security, “what does it matter, Laren? P’Arth is where she is. And I have to deal with her. I always knew someday life would toss her sorry ass back in my path. Maybe,” she had added hopefully, “she’s changed?”
Laren had scowled at that. “Not likely. I was asking the question rhetorically. I know all too well how she got on the counsel. Treachery,” Laren had informed her.
“Treachery?” Kieran asked, puzzled.
Laren had shown Kieran the news vids from Qo’noS, detailing the death of P’Arth’s husband, who died in questionable circumstances. “Popular opinion is that she had the poor bastard killed so she could claim his seat on the high counsel,” Laren advised. “She’s ambitious,” she intoned sarcastically.
“I can’t understand it,” Kieran admitted. “I remember when we were in school, P’Arth told me specifically, women are not allowed on the high council. The one exception was only allowed a temporary seat for a brief mission. Women weren’t allowed to inherit property, either. It used to piss her off, because women could go die in battle as warriors, but they didn’t enjoy the same status as men in the political arena.”