Title: Beginnings (3/7)
Couples: 7 & J Delaney (P/T, C/K)
Rating: R (for language)
Disclaimer:  I don‘t own the characters... Paramount does.  I can‘t even
get a micron of Voyager‘s dust for myself.  I made no money off the use
of their characters, and I promise to return everyone when I‘m done,
happier and more sexually satisfied!
Disclaimer2: The Dr. Demento show is aired weekly in syndication, you
can check out his official page at,

This is the *very* first part of the story I began in Welcomes.  As such
I have to establish the *old* dynamic *before* I can establish the one I
came up with in Welcomes.  Don‘t worry, those of you who enjoyed my
pairings in "Welcomes" will enjoy this story as well.

WARNING! Spoilers for everything I‘ve seen so far (up to "Pathfinder" in
Voyager‘s Sixth Season)... so if ya don‘t want to be spoiled *don‘t*
read it!  

This story begins during the end of Season five... but before the events
portrayed in "Equinox I".

Thoughts of the characters are contained between the double forward
slashes (//).

Summary: The Winds of Change, they are a blowin‘

The next morning, Seven walks into the Mess Hall, carrying her customary PADD. She collects her leola root porridge, //A particularly horrid creation!//, and glances about for a place to sit. She sees Jen Delaney sitting at a table with Sue Nicoletti, and notices that Jen is motioning her over to their table. She sees no one else she knows in the room, and decides to sit with Jen and Sue.

She walks to their table and stands next to the empty chair. "Good Morning Jennifer, Lieutenant Nicoletti. May I sit down?"

"Sure Seven. I was just telling Sue that I had found a fourth for our quartet, and in you walked."

"I am gratified that you would think me worthy of mentioning to the other members of your group, Jennifer." Seven places her tray on the table and sits down. She turns to face Sue. "Good Morning Lieutenant Nicoletti. How are things in Engineering?"

Sue Nicoletti can feel her eyes nearly fall out of her head when the former Borg greets her welcomingly. She recovers quickly, and smiles nervously at the blond woman sitting across from her at the table. "They‘re okay. But if we don‘t get that project Lieutenant Torres has me on done *today*, my life won‘t be worth living."

"Life in Engineering may not be worth living anyway, rumor has it that Tom and B‘Elanna had another fight last night." Jen adds.

"Shit! She‘s always the most moody when they‘ve fought. What were they fighting about?" She notices that Jen looks away from her, and that suddenly Seven of Nine has found her porridge particularly fascinating. //OH MY GOD! *SEVEN* was the second voice we heard down in Engineering last night. Well, Jen was right to invite her into our group then, we need someone as talented as her. They‘re both avoiding my question.//

Sue lowers her voice, so that Jen and Seven have to strain to hear it. "Quit stalling, Jen. I *know* it was you singing in the Jeffries tubes last night. You have to crawl past B‘Elanna‘s quarters to get to intersection Gamma-7. So spill."

Jen Delaney licks her lips nervously. Fortunately, Seven saves her from having to answer. "I believe that whatever Lt. Torres and Ensign Paris *might* have fought about last night is none of our concern. I think it is best that we let them sort it out for themselves. Perhaps we can be better friends to both of them until this is resolved, either positively or negatively. It is my observation that, that particular couple fights approximately twice every 1.5 weeks, and makes up within a few days."

"She‘s right y‘know, Sue. Besides, just imagine, Tom Paris out on the market again." Jen sighs.

"He wouldn‘t come after either of us! Seven might be in the running... or maybe the guys on board, but he basically swore off the women of Voyager when he and B‘Elanna got together."

Jen interrupts the conversation then. "Really? I didn‘t think that the fluctuations of the warp field could effect the sensors in Stellar Cartography so drastically. Thanks for telling me Sue."

Sue shoots Jen a confused look. She opens her mouth to speak again, and feels a booted foot kick her in the shin. Seven continues the ‚topic‘ Jen had started. "Perhaps you can tell us more about these fluctuations. They may interfere with the sensors in Astrometrics as well."

Sue finally gets the hint. She realizes that either Tom or B‘Elanna has walked into the Mess Hall, and is more than likely sitting behind her. "Oh, it‘s nothing *that* major, Seven. You might want to ask Lt. Torres at the staff meeting this morning. I could always message you two with the specifics later."

"I believe that would be best." Seven rises from the table, ready to leave the room. "Thank you both for letting me sit here this morning. Our conversation was enlightening." Then Seven walks to dispose of her tray.

Jen and Sue share a look, but say nothing. They watch as Tom and Harry follow Seven out of the room, obviously wanting to talk to her about something.

"What I wouldn‘t *give* to be a fly on the wall of the turbolift right now."

"You and me both, Sue. So what do you think of Seven?"

"As what?"

"As a person? Even a possible member of our group?"

"I think that Seven of Nine will make an excellent addition to our singing group. I refrain to comment on her as either a person or a member of our group of friends until I get to know her better, okay?"

"That‘s fine. So you be sure and back me up when Meggie resists her joining the singing group, as I *know* she will."

"I‘ll back you on that, but only if you tell me which of you sang ‚The Scotsman Song.‘ That one had Joe Carey laughing so hard I thought we were going to have to call the Doc down from Sickbay."

"That was *Seven*."

"You‘re shittin‘ me, right?"

"No. That was Seven of Nine singing the song in question. She told me she‘d researched humor in the ship‘s database, and found the song on a collection from Dr. Demento."

"Wasn‘t he a DJ in the latter part of the 20th and early 21st centuries?"

"Yup. He had a real cult following, which explains why knowledge of him survived the Third World War. Anyway, we need to get going, so we‘re not late for our shifts. See you later, Sue!" Jen hurriedly puts her dishes in the proper receptacles, and walks out of the door.

Meanwhile on the Turbolift to the Bridge...

Harry Kim turns to look at the placid face of Seven of Nine. She is standing with her feet shoulder width apart, and her hands clasped at the small of her back. She notices his attention and raises an eyebrow.

"Something I can do for you, Ensign Kim?"

"Why were you sitting with Jen Delaney and Sue Nicoletti?"

"I was associating with members of the crew, an endeavor I was told would make me more human. The senior staff can only take me so far. Why do you ask?"

"No reason. It was just strange, is all." Harry holds his hands up in a conciliatory manner.

"You were wondering if the rumors were true." Seven looks up. "Computer, halt lift." She glances back at Harry. "Now you can ask me the question you would like to. Please do so."

Tom Paris grins at his best friend‘s discomfort. He notices Harry looking over at him. "Hey, don‘t look at me. You‘re the one who started this line of questioning. I‘m just on *my* way to work."

Seven glances at Tom, but turns back to look at Harry. "Well, Ensign Kim?" She crosses her arms over her chest.

Harry licks his lips. "Okay. Why did you keep glancing at Tom and I throughout our conversation in the Mess Hall this morning?"

Seven of Nine smiles at the two men now looking at her. "Computer, resume lift." As the turbolift arrives at the first deck, she finally speaks. "I *need* a reason to look at two of the most attractive men on the ship? Pity." Then she walks into the hallway, leaving a stunned Tom and Harry behind her.

//Well, I think *that* went over well. Perhaps I should tell the Doctor that his dating lessons are still working? No. I will tell Jennifer about my comment later in the day. She‘ll be sure and get it on the rumor mill correctly.//

Seven lets these and other thoughts occupy her mind as she walks down the hall and into the conference room. She takes her customary place at the left hand of Lieutenant Commander Tuvok, and notes that the Captain and Commander Chakotay are talking before the meeting starts. Lieutenant Torres, Neelix and the Doctor are already here. She glances towards the door as the still shocked Tom and Harry walk in the door.

The Captain looks up as they enter the room, and notices them both shoot glares at Seven. "Something wrong, gentlemen?"

"No, Ma‘am. We‘re just upset that we missed the turbolift Seven arrived on," Tom supplies quickly, as he sits in his customary place between Chakotay and the Doctor at the briefing table.

"Very well. Shall we start?" Every head nods around the table. "Commander, anything new to report on those anomalous readings we got on internal sensors last night?"

Tuvok answers. "No Captain. Once again, the music coming from the Jeffries tubes was unable to be traced. I do not think it is the work of ‚ghosts‘, as I have heard it being called. Lieutenant Torres, has Engineering looked into this?"

B‘Elanna Torres, looking the worse for wear, turns to face Tuvok. "Yes, and frankly we‘re stumped. We *know* it‘s got to be some members of the crew, very musically talented ones at that. But we haven‘t been able to figure out where they are singing from. Lieutenant Carey entered into the official Engineering records what songs they sang last night. Two were Christmas songs, ‚I‘ll Be Home For Christmas‘ and ‚Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas‘. The third song was apparently humorous, and Joe wasn‘t sure what it‘s called. Although, Lieutenant Nicoletti entered into the records only a few minutes ago that the song is called ‚The Scotsman Song‘ and was written in the 20th century." B‘Elanna checks her PADD again. "Lieutenant Nicoletti also notes that this song was a favorite of Hercules fans, and that they liked to sing it together at something called a ‚convention‘." She lowers her PADD to the desk and looks at the Captain.

Seven does not let her reaction to B‘Elanna‘s statements show on her face, but she does react. //I have to inform Ensign Delaney that the senior staff is looking into her singing in the Jeffries tubes. Lieutenant Torres does not look well, perhaps her argument with Ensign Paris was more serious than Jennifer and I believed it to be last night. I will observe how she and Ensign Paris interact the next few days.//

"Thank you, B‘Elanna. Chakotay? You had something you wanted to talk about?"

"Yes. It has come to my attention that..."

Seven stops listening to the Commander, and begins her internal dialogue again. //Why was the Commander so hostile last night? It could not have been anything Jennifer nor I did. Perhaps he and Ensign Kim are fighting? No, that‘s not possible. Ensign Kim just smiled at him over Ensign Paris‘ shoulder. Maybe it was what Jennifer suggested. Is he attracted to me? I will watch his body‘s reactions to me, and look for the signs of attraction; pupil dilation, increased breathing, a rise in heart rate.//

Seven notices that Tuvok is observing her. //I wonder what Commander Tuvok wants? Perhaps he is interested in my observations of the senior staff again. I will ask him at the conclusion of the meeting.// She notices that Chakotay is looking at her again, in the same manner he had the night before. //I do not think the Commander is well. He keeps looking at me. I will have to tell the Doctor of my suspicions.//

Chakotay‘s voice drones to a stop, and he concludes his report with, "And we are about to start into an area of space our last traded for star charts lists as ‚unoccupied‘, so perhaps a rotation of duty shifts would be in order."

"I concur, Chakotay. Make a duty roster and place people in their cross-training duties starting in a few days. Don‘t forget to include yourself this time." Janeway‘s smile softens her harsh words.

"Of course I will, Captain." He looks around the table again, his glance resting momentarily on Seven before moving onto Neelix sitting next to her. "Neelix? Are the ship‘s stores ready for little to no trading for a few weeks?"

The Talaxian sits straighter in his chair. "Of course they are, Commander. What with our recent trades with the Blizor, we will not have to trade for food again for at least another month."

"Thank you, Mr. Neelix. Anything else?" Janeway looks around the table, but no one calls attention to themselves. "Very well. We‘ll have another meeting before the new cross-training efforts go into effect. Dismissed."

Everyone starts to get up, as the Captain says, "Seven? I‘d like to see you in my Ready Room before you head back to Astrometrics."

"Of course, Captain." Seven remains in the Conference room a few moments, as the rest of the senior staff head out the various doors. //Ensign Paris will not look Lieutenant Torres in the eyes this morning. Perhaps *he* is at fault for their argument last night?// Her ruminations come to a close when she hears a throat clearing behind her. She turns to look at the ship‘s Tactical Officer. "May I be of some assistance, Commander?"

Tuvok raises an eyebrow at her. "I was going to inquire the same thing, Seven. Please stay here a moment. I wish to speak to you."

"The Captain has already expressed a wish to speak to me."

"I will let the Captain know I am the reason you were tardy to her office. Shall we sit down?"

Seven sits back down at the conference table, her face betraying none of her puzzlement. She looks at Tuvok. "We are alone, Commander. What do you wish to speak to me about?"

"I observed that you were not paying much attention to what Commander Chakotay had to say this morning. Further, your gaze drifted between him, Ensign Paris, Ensign Kim, and Lieutenant Torres many times during the course of the meeting. You never looked at the Doctor, nor myself, and you only looked at Mr. Neelix when he talked. My question is why?"

Seven pauses a moment before answering. "I have observed a strain in the relationship between Lieutenant Torres and Ensign Paris. Perhaps someone not quite as well versed in their relationship would not notice it as I do. Also Commander Chakotay observed me for over 46% of his talk this morning. I tried to determine if a similar rift had occurred between himself and Ensign Kim, but I do not believe so."

"That is your only reason for observing Commander Chakotay?"

"No. Last night he was rude to myself and Ensign Delaney in a turbolift. We did not report the incident, because Ensign Delaney was quite rude to the Commander as well."

"Fascinating. Do you know why Commander Chakotay was rude to you?"

"Jennifer Delaney believes it is because he desires my body, but I am not so easily convinced. You may speak of this to her. She will likely tell you in more detail why she believes her opinion to be true."

"That is not necessary. Thank you for speaking to me this morning, Seven. You should go to your appointment with the Captain now."

Seven rises from her chair and walks out of the conference room. She strides across the bridge, feeling as if all the male members of the senior staff are observing her do so. She lifts her chin higher, and taps the chime on the Captain‘s ready room door.

"Enter." Seven enters the room at the Captain‘s beckon.

Janeway is sitting on her couch, a cup of coffee in her hand, when Seven walks in. Janeway motions her over. Seven sits down near Janeway.

"Seven? Do you know why I called you in here today?"

//Were I Tom Paris, I would make an appropriately humorous statement here. But I am not Tom Paris. Perhaps the truth could help?// She takes a breath and releases it. "No, I do not, Captain."

"I have here a report from Lieutenant Carey that a relay near Astrometrics was repaired last night, without authorization. You wouldn‘t know anything about that, would you?"

"Yes I would. Due to my efforts to enhance the sensors in Astrometrics, a nearby power relay blew. I know they are busy with a large project in Engineering, and did not want to draw anyone needed for that project to repair a relay that was only damaged by *my* efforts. I have seen many members of the crew do the same thing."

"You‘re right, they have. But those other members of the crew notify Engineering of their efforts. You did not. It was only discovered in the effort to find this mysterious music last night."

"I will report my efforts in the future, Captain. Will this effect my freedoms anymore?"

"No, you showed the same initiative any member of my crew would. You‘re dismissed for now, Seven."

"Thank you, Captain." Seven rose and left the ready room, and soon the bridge.