Title: Beginnings (7/7)
Couples: 7 & Others (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!

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 PART OF THE STORY TAKES PLACE DURING THE EVENTS OF EQUINOX I.  SO IF YOU HAVEN‘T SEEN THE EPISODE, AND DON‘T WANT TO BE SPOILED... STAY AWAY!!!  Some of the dialogue between the characters comes *directly* from that episode.

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

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

Tom hands her the roses, and goes to sit down on her couch. He watches B‘Elanna walk across the carpet, wondering what made her decide to comm him *this* afternoon. She places the roses in a vase, then carries it into her bedroom and bathroom. Tom hears the sink run briefly, then B‘Elanna reappears in her bedroom door, carrying the roses. She places it on the end of her table, and looks over to where Tom is sitting.

"You planning on joining me?"

"What? Oh. Sorry, B‘Elanna." He rises to his feet and walks to stand next to her at the table. Dropping a quick kiss on her lips, he pulls a chair out for her.

She sits down, and places her chin in her hand. "Something bothering you, Tom?"

"Nope. Just being my charming self. Now, I assume our dinner is just waiting for the final rematerialization order?"

"Yes, it is." She starts to rise.

He smiles and shakes his head. "Sit down. Let me take care of you for a change." He goes and gets their food from the replicator, and brings it to the table. Pouring each of them a glass of the already chilled and opened wine, he then sits down at the table with her.

B‘Elanna bites her bottom lip, not sure how to begin this conversation. //Straight ahead, B.L.T. You just made it to your first anniversary with this guy. Do you really want to blow *that* because of some misplaced jealousy?// She looks down at her plate of food, then back up at Tom. "I‘m sorry, Tom. I‘ve been acting like a grade-A jealous lover, when you‘ve *never* given me any reason to doubt you. I *know* that the talk recently about you and various people was just that, talk."

//Oh, B‘Ela... if only you knew the truth. But I love you too much to want to give you up, and Seven isn‘t sure enough of her feelings for me.// He takes her hand in his own, and rubs his thumb across the back of it. "I know, B‘Elanna. And I don‘t think that new hit song is helping any."

"Actually, it made me rethink what I was doing. The song is what made me comm you this afternoon, Tom. But I only want you back if you *want* to come back."

"I *want*, B‘Ela. Oh, how I want." He smiles at her. "But first, I want dinner. I haven‘t really been eating the last few days, and I *know* I‘m going to need to keep my strength up for tonight." B‘Elanna just grins back at him, and begins to eat her dinner.

In the Astrometrics lab, Seven of Nine, Captain Janeway, and Commander Chakotay are staring at the screen. Shock registers on their faces, and they look at each other. They had just heard the distress call of a Starfleet Captain named Ransom.

"Ransom," Janeway says to herself, ignoring Chakotay and Seven‘s presence for now. "He was in command of a science vessel, the Equinox."

"The distress call was transmitted approximately 14 hours ago," Seven reports.

"Distance?" Chakotay asks.

"3.2 light-years," Seven responds.

"What‘s their exact location?" Janeway asks. Seven begins to scan for the vessel using the Astrometrics sensors.

"What‘s it doing in the Delta Quadrant?" Chakotay wonders aloud.

"Perhaps it‘s searching for Voyager", Seven suggests, but Janeway shakes her head negatively.

"The Equinox is a Nova-class ship. It was designed for planetary research, not long-range tactical missions."

Seven pinpoints the current location of the Equinox: "Heading 258-mark-12."

Janeway looks over at Chakotay. "Commander, would you do the honors? Red Alert, maximum warp."

"Aye, Aye, Captain." Chakotay leaves Astrometrics quickly.

Janeway stares at the screen. "Hang on, Captain," she mutters, then turns off the Astrometrics screen.

Seven follows Janeway into the corridor, and they walk together. "Do you know this individual?" Seven asks.

"Only by reputation," Janeway says. "He was an exo-biologist, promoted to Captain after he made first contact with the Yridians."

Seven is surprised. "Species 6291. The Collective determined that they were extinct."

"So did the Federation," Janeway says, smiling. "Ransom proved otherwise. I always wanted to meet him. Too bad it won‘t be under better circumstances." Janeway seems eager to unite with another vessel, and provide any assistance necessary.

Seven also anticipates the rendezvous. "I look forward to meeting him, as well. *And* his crew. I wish to... expand my knowledge of humanity."

"Let‘s hope you get the chance," Janeway says at last, as they continue their leisurely stroll towards the bridge.

By this time, B‘Elanna and Tom are finished with dinner, and have moved to her couch. She is leaning back against him, and he is sipping wine from a glass. B‘Elanna looks up into Tom‘s face. "It‘s times like these when I have to struggle to remember that sometimes you make me mad enough to throw things at you."

Tom looks down at her. "What about those *other* times you throw things at me?"

"Oh, those aren‘t as easy to forget." B‘Elanna turns around, and takes the wine glass from his hand, placing it on the floor. She captures his lips in a kiss.

Tom moans against her lips, and gathers her more closely into his arms. Suddenly, the red alert klaxon goes off, and Chakotay‘s voice can be heard on the comm system. "Senior Officers to the bridge."

Tom sighs against B‘Elanna‘s lips. "Sounds like our romantic evening has been cut short. Meet you up on the bridge?"

B‘Elanna pulls away from the kiss, and she smiles at Tom. "Sure. Betcha I get there first!"

"No contest! We‘re in *your* quarters, thus giving you the advantage in changing back into your uniform."

B‘Elanna leans down and bites Tom on the neck. He yelps in surprise. She smiles at him. "There. Now we‘ll *both* be reminded of our coitus interuptus." She gets up off the couch, and pulls him to his feet as well. She steers him quickly towards the door, and swats his butt as he walks through.

Tom glares at her as the door closes. Then, rubbing his neck, in an effort to hide the already forming bruise, he heads towards the turbolift and his quarters. Deciding he should give the Captain the option of his uniform, he speaks aloud. "Computer, halt lift." He taps his comm badge. "Paris to Janeway."

"Yes, Tom?"

"I‘m afraid you caught me out of uniform, Captain. I‘m in the turbolift now. Do I have enough time to stop at my quarters to get into uniform?"

The Captain‘s tone reveals her effort to contain her mirth. "Of course you do, Tom. Please try and get here within ten minutes."

"Yes, Ma‘am. Paris out." Tom taps his comm badge. "Computer, resume lift." He stops and considers something for a moment, then speaks again. "Computer, location of Seven of Nine."

"Seven of Nine is on the bridge."

//Shit! Okay, calm down Tommy Boy. You can do this. Just act like you‘ve simply become better friends over the past few days, which is true enough. Forget for awhile that you told her you loved her. Forget? Yeah, right. Oh, look it‘s my deck. Leave the turbolift, stride down the corridor, and *get* into uniform!//

Tom puts his last thoughts into actions. He leaves the turbolift, striding down the corridor to his quarters. He keys in the access code without a thought, and heads into his bedroom to change into a fresh uniform.

Chakotay is sitting on the bridge of Voyager, ostensibly studying the display before him, but actually lost deep in thought. //Okay, I know from Harry, when I get a chance to actually see him, that gossip is alive and well on the ship. For *once* the really juicy stuff isn‘t about Tom and B‘Elanna, it‘s about Seven right now. But why Seven?//

Chakotay steals a glance over his shoulder at the former Borg, then he turns back to his display. //Okay. I know *that* reason. She‘s attractive, and a complete enigma to everyone except the senior staff. *Except* the senior staff? Including the senior staff. Although it seems she has become better friends with some of the junior staff lately. Why does that idea make me jealous? I‘m attracted to her, admittedly, but that doesn‘t explain my actions lately.//

Chakotay is brought out of his reverie by the opening of the turbolift doors, and B‘Elanna walking onto the bridge. He looks at her, and has to fight to keep his smile under control. //Well, it looks like B‘Elanna and Tom made up. And from her self-satisfied smile, I‘d say that she got him to promise her some ‚personal‘ time later. That‘s good. When they fight, it always affects the atmosphere on the bridge. I think it even affects Stellar Cartography. Spirits! Jenny Delaney was in the turbolift the other day when I reacted to Seven so badly. Why am I doing that?//

The Commander‘s thoughts chase around in similar patterns for the next few minutes. He always manages to get back to Seven somehow, but his thoughts towards her always confuse him. When Tom comes onto the bridge, in just under ten minutes from his comm to the Captain, Chakotay notices a spring in his step.

Tom bounces onto the bridge, hiding the turmoil he felt earlier under his normal cocky attitude. He smiles at everyone who glances at him as he walks to his station. Tom takes the conn from Batehart and effortlessly adjusts the course heading. His panel beeps, and he opens the message without breaking his concentration.

   Priority: Personal
   To: Paris, Thomas, Ensign
   From: Delaney, Megan, Ensign
   Your presence is requested at the earliest possible convenient
   time, to witness history in the making (and if I have *my* way,
   you‘ll participate), on Holodeck 3.  Bring yourself, and a certain
   blond, former Borg.  Don‘t worry.  She‘ll protect your virtue.
   Have those pipes of yours warmed up appropriately, you‘ll need

Tom rolls his eyes, but lets his smile spread across his face. //Only Megan Delaney would be thinking about something *other* than whatever the current crisis is. But whatever she‘s hinting at is pushing my ‚singing in public‘ button, when Megan *knows* I‘m not comfortable with that. Well, no way to satisfy my curiosity like facing it head-on.// He keeps his attention on the minor course corrections, but types out his answer to Megan.

   Priority: Personal
   To: Delaney, Megan, Ensign
   From: Paris, Thomas, Ensign
   I accept your challenge, as you and I both know it to be a
   challenge.  I will of course, bring Seven with me, whenever the
   current red-alert is over.  Sometimes your humor escapes even me.

When the crew of the USS Equinox are safely recovering in Sickbay, the senior staff gets some much needed time off. Tom walks out of his stint in Sickbay to find Seven waiting for him. He greets her with a raised eyebrow and a spoken, "Seven?"

"Ensign Paris. I have been told to collect you and bring you to Holodeck 3 ‚as though the bats of hell are chasing after you‘, or so Jennifer Delaney told me. Now, shall we go to Deck Six by ladder or turbolift?"

Tom can hear in the challenge in Seven‘s voice, and smiles at it. "Ladder will be sufficient. Besides, it‘s not that far."

"As you wish." Seven opens the access to the Jeffries tubes, and climbs inside. She quickly crawls the one section forward to ladder D-7, and begins her downward climb. She glances up and notices that Tom is hesitating. "Please keep up, Thomas. I do not have the time to circle back and find you."

Tom‘s chuckle echoes down the ladder at her. "You‘re very much assured that *I* will need rescuing, Seven."

"You are an imperfect being, who is only using this method of transportation because I appealed to your sense of vanity."

"In other words, you dared me to come this way. Glad to see you recognize your motivations, Seven."

"I am merely returning the favor, Thomas. I believe you used similar methods when I joined you in the Ping-Pong match a few weeks ago." She reaches the correct deck, and climbs off the ladder, hitting the opening. "We have arrived."

Tom jumps the last few feet, and joins Seven in front of the door. "So we have." He offers her his elbow. "Shall we?"

Seven twines her fingers around the offered appendage, and they leave the Jeffries tubes. For once this corridor is empty, and no one sees them exit the Jeffries tube together. Seven steers Tom unerringly towards Holodeck three, the smallest of the holodecks. As they approach, the doors fail to open.

Seven sings a simple phrase. "This song‘s just six words long."

Tom shoots her a confused look, as the doors open and the computer responds, "Welcome back, Seven of Nine."

"Seven? What was *that*?"

Seven tugs him into the Holodeck, and the doors close behind them. She answers him as she walks down wood-paneled hallways, lined with ancient LPs encased in glass. "It is privacy lock enabled on this program. I used Borg algorithms to make it only accept four people‘s voices singing the phrase I did. Only myself, Jennifer and Megan Delaney, and Susan Nicoletti can access this program. The phrase is from ‚Weird‘ Al Yankovic‘s parody song ‚(This Song‘s Just) Six Words Long‘. Come, we must introduce you to Vic."


"Our sound engineer and publicist. He rivals the Doctor in Hologram superiority."

"This I can‘t *wait* to see."

Seven opens a door, over which a sign that reads "Recording" is hung. She looks around the booth, and sees Vic in the studio with Jen, Megan, and Sue. She walks over to the panel, and flips a switch. "Are you teasing the girls again, Vic?"

Vic, a brunette with close-cropped hair and green eyes, turns and smiles at Seven. He walks to a microphone, and speaks to her. "Don‘t I always, Angel?" He spots Tom standing behind Seven in the booth. "Who‘s your friend, Angel?"

"Ensign Thomas Paris. He is here to help with the recording we discussed last session."

Vic‘s face lights up. "Great! Well, get him in here to practice, and the girls and I will be in there to join you."

"Of course." Seven flips the switch and turns to face Tom. She raises an eyebrow at him. "Something amuses you, Thomas?"

"Yeah, this whole scenario. The program restricted access by a Borg algorithm and password/voice protected on top of *that*? The recording studio atmosphere? I‘d say you four ladies were up to something."

"You‘d be right, Tom," Sue says from behind him. She and the Delaneys come into the room, trailed by Vic. The four women stand near each other, and Sue smiles at Tom. "Meet The Deltaquadranlaunes."

"You four?!? No way!"

"Way, Mr. Paris." Vic speaks from his new position by the control board. "Now, if my secret prodigies decided to bring you into their recording times, and entrust you with their secret, I hope you will keep it." Vic‘s tone letting Tom know the he will brooke no argument on this subject.

"Of course not, Vic." He turns to look at Megan. "Okay, I‘m here. What now?"

"Now, go into that studio and warm up. We want to sing some songs with you, and have Vic record them. Here," she hands him a PADD, "these are the songs we want to record with you."

Tom takes it, and walks into the studio. He places the PADD down, and talks into a microphone when he wants to speak, as he‘d seen Vic do earlier. "Hey! These were both recorded by Elvis Presley. Who am I singing the duet with?"

Seven leans over and flicks the same switch she had earlier. "You will be singing with me, unless you have an objection?"

"Nope. Just wondering. Should I put the earphones on as I warm up?" He motions towards the late 20th century style earphones resting on a music stand.

Jen leans toward the booth microphone. "Yeah. Warm up with whatever song you like. We‘re going to record it, so you can get the loop back through them."

"Right." Tom places the earphones over his ears, and hums to himself. He hears the sound echo through his earphones. He looks towards the booth, and smiles at the five expectant faces looking at him. "Don‘t expect miracles ladies, I‘m not very good at the whole singing in public thing."

Megan leans towards the microphone, "Just pretend that this is Sandrine‘s late at night. Or better yet, that shower stall of yours."

Tom smiles, "Yes, Meggie." He clears his throat, and begins singing in a clear tenor.

  "I‘ll only miss her, when I think of her
  And I‘ll think of her, all the time
  Likely I‘ll spend my days - hearing her turn of phrase
  Things I found hard to praise - right now, would seem sublime

  The truth is...
  I‘ll only miss her, when some stranger laughs
  ‚Cause it‘s still her laugh - my hearts hears
  Maybe in time - I guess, the longing will 
    grow, the slightest bit less
  And there will be moments - yes - when it disappears
  I‘ll bet I‘ll forget her completely - in about a hundred years"

As the last notes of Tom‘s song, the Frank Sinatra classic "I‘ll Only Miss Her When I Think of Her", fade into the silence of the recording studio, he glances at the booth. Megan and Jenny are grinning wickedly at him, while Sue and Vic share a self-satisfied look. Seven just looks at him, then she leans towards a microphone. "That was very good, Thomas. Perhaps you should perform one day in public."

Tom snorts, then leans up towards the microphone. "Only if you drug me up and promise me that I‘ll never have to do it again."

Vic leans towards his microphone. "That could be arranged, Mr. Paris. Also, you‘re going to need to come up with a name to hide behind."

"What?" Tom looks at Vic, and notices that Seven is moving towards the booth door.

"Well, someday we might release these songs... and unless you want us to call you ‚Helm Boy‘, you need to come up with something. Seven is called ‚Angel‘, by all of us. Jen is ‚Bella‘. Sue, we call her, ‚Sassy‘."

"What about Megan?" Tom asks.

Megan leans towards the microphone and purrs, "Just call me ‚Ennui‘."

"‘Trouble‘? You‘re called trouble, Megan? Why does that not surprise me?"

"Because you‘ve never given me the benefit of the doubt?" Megan teases him. She sees that Seven is inside the booth, and is moving towards the second set of earphones. "You ready to try that duet, Tom?"

Tom looks over and sees that Seven has her earphones on, and is standing in front of a microphone across the studio from him. He looks back at Megan. "Sure! Do I get a practice run first?"

Tom hears a click in his earphone, and Megan‘s microphone is shut off, so he can see her talking, but not hear her. He glances over at Seven, who is standing in her customary manner, her arms held at the small of her back. Tom raises an eyebrow at her, and flicks his gaze towards the booth. She winks at him. //Well, good to know that Seven did it intentionally. Now, onto this song.//

Seven looks towards the booth, and sees Jen grinning at her. //Good, Jennifer knows what I had Vic do. Perhaps Megan will forgive me a little.// She looks at Vic. "Are we ready?"

"Yes we are, Angel. For now, we‘re going to call Mr. Paris ‚Jefe‘. Is that all right with you, Jefe?"

Tom shakes his head, and answers, "That‘s fine, Vic. So this next piece will be sung be ‚Angel and Jefe‘. Well, I think except for the Doc, no one will be able to figure out who ‚Angel‘ is."

Sue leans towards the microphone, smiling at Tom. "Leave the ego out of this Tom. We‘ll be rehearsing our harmonies for the next couple of songs in the *other* studio. See you in fifteen!" Sue and Jen grab an obviously reluctant Megan, and leave the booth.

Seven turns towards Tom and takes her right earphone off. Tom does likewise, as he assumes she wishes to talk to him without the microphones. "Are you ready, Thomas?"

"That‘s Jefe to you, Angel." He smiles and puts both earphones on his ears.

Vic comes over the earphones. "Okay, people. You‘ll hear a count of eight beats in the microphone. When they‘re over, that‘s your cue to begin Jefe. Got it? Angel, come in on your cues."

Tom nods his head, and holds the PADD in his hand, staring at it rather than anything else. He hears the first beat, and gets ready to record his part of ‚You‘re The Boss.‘ He notices that Seven is prepared to sing the female parts.

  "When it comes twistin‘ I just got to keep insistin‘
  Oh baby .... you sure do swing

  When it comes twistin‘ I just got to keep insistin‘
  Oh daddy hey, you are the king

  Baby you got me beat up and down inside out and across   Oh yeah!

  But in the middle of the night when the moon is shining bright
  Ah! You‘re the boss
  Hey talkin ‚bout the days when we ended down the hall romancin‘
  Big daddy Hey! You make the scene
  Hey talkin‘ ‚bout dancin‘ and down on romancin‘
  Oh now baby, you are the queen

  Oh when push comes to shove, when it comes down to love
  You‘re a horse

  Oh yeah! but in the middle of the night when the moon is shining 
  Baby, you‘re the boss
  You‘re the best of everything
  You‘re a peach, you‘re a plum
  You‘re a diamond, you‘re a pearl
  You‘re the best of everything
  Ahh daddy you‘re my man

  Baby you‘re my girl
  Now when it comes to knowin‘ which way the wind is blowin‘
  Now baby, you sure are wise
  Yeah! When it comes to knowin‘ which way the wind is blowin‘
  Oh daddy, you take the prize
  Baby you‘re a genius when it comes to cooking up some chili sauce
  Oh yeah!
  Oh but in the middle of the night when the moon is shining bright
  Ahh, you‘re the boss
  You‘re the boss
  You‘re the boss
  You‘re the boss

  But in the middle of the night when the moon is shining bright
  Ahh, you‘re the boss
  You‘re the boss
  You‘re the boss
  Baby You‘re the boss
  Tell me ‚bout it baby"

The rest of the session goes smoothly, with Tom singing vocals on only one more track. He spends the rest of the session in the booth with Vic, watching The Deltaquadranlaunes do their magic. They finish their recording in about thirty minutes, with no one needing to re-record anything. Four smiling women come into the booth, and Vic turns to face them.

"Well, my beauteous ones. Another brilliant session. I must say, in my twenty-two years of being in this business I have *never* had the pleasure of working with such dedicated professionals! And you four are amateurs. Now I *know* you want these songs to be a capella, but ‚Always on my Mind‘ and ‚Fever‘ just scream for the accompanying music. Tell you what. I‘ll mix them both ways, and you crazy ladies can decide which version to release."

"Okay. We‘ll consider it, Vic. How long do you need?" Jen asks him.

"I shouldn‘t need more than an hour. Why don‘t you four take Mr. Paris to the Bluebird, and I‘ll comm you when they‘re ready?"

"Yes, Vic," they chorus together. One by one, the Deltaquadranlaunes file past Vic, each placing a kiss on his left cheek. Seven grabs Tom‘s arm as they head out the door.

Tom lets himself be lead out of the recording studio, and out of the building. He happens to glance up at the name of the record studio, and he chuckles. Seven looks back at him, but he just shakes his head at her. They walk down the street and enter a 20th century era street-side cafe. They climb into a booth near the back, and nod at the waitress.

Finally, Tom can take it no longer. He turns to look at the women sitting at the booth with him. "I can‘t believe you four take orders from a Hologram!"

Megan grins smugly at him. "You do all the time."

"But that‘s different! The Doc is self-aware, and the recognized CMO of Voyager."

"Well, Vic is rather sophisticated. I‘ve been working on him for years now. He‘s got the combined recording business knowledge of the 20th-24th centuries. He hasn‘t steered us wrong yet. We recorded some basic trio stuff with him, before Seven joined us, and helped protect his program. Besides, you saw the way that ‚It‘s Gettin‘ Around‘ was a success. Vic got that treatment right. We wouldn‘t have been able to do it without him."

"But Megan..."

"But nothing! We‘re happy with our program. It‘s a little more sophisticated than your run of the mill recording program, but that‘s what we need. Besides, the coding algorithms that Seven added in for protection also protect us. Someday, we‘ll let the rest of the crew know that it *is* us, but we‘re not ready for that yet."

The waitress brings over mugs of a steaming beverage and a plate of vegetables and dip. She places it all on the table, and leaves, just as silently as she came.

Jen notices Tom staring after her. "Like her efficiency? *I* programmed Tina. I‘m not very good at it. She‘s based on a waitress in the restaurant near my grandparent‘s house in Tucson." She stops her holo-programming spiel and smiles at Tom. "But enough about the program. How are you?"

Tom snorts at Jen‘s obvious change of subject. "I‘m fine, Jen. How have you been?"

"I could complain." She smirks as Megan rolls her eyes. "But honestly... How *are* you Tom?"

"If you are wondering how my relationship with B‘Elanna Torres is progressing, that is fine Jenny. Now, my throat‘s a little dry."

"Drink your tea, Thomas. It will help with the throat problems. The vegetables are a treat for ourselves. Much healthier than anything else we could think of."

Sue interjects into the conversation then. "Plus, there‘s the added benefit of it being a LOUD snack, thus keeping us from having to talk, and discuss our *supposed* shortcomings in the studio."

"A sensible plan." He smiles, and drinks his tea as Seven commanded.

The quintet of friends drink their tea and eat their vegetables, letting a companionable silence settle over them. When their vegetables are nearly gone, Sue‘s comm badge beeps. She taps it. "Nicoletti here."

"Sassy! The recordings are ready. Stop by the studio on the way back to your ship, all right?"

"Yes, Vic. We‘ll be there in a few." She stands up, and slides out of the booth. "C‘mon, guys. We‘ve gotta get back to Morale Records, and pick up those recordings. Whose turn is it to listen to them?"

Seven answers her. "It is mine. I will take them with me and release them from Astrometrics, as always."

Tom shakes his head as he follows the women out of the cafe and back towards the record building. He remains in the lobby as they get the recordings saved on a chip, and is surprised when he is handed a copy. "What‘s this for?"

Seven smiles at him. "Vic felt that anyone willing to put up with our paranoia about everything should be given our full repertoire. So you are the only person on the ship who has our full play list, besides ourselves. We trust you, Thomas."

"I‘m honored, ladies. I assume *my* warm-up piece is on here?"

"Oh course it is, Jefe." Sue teases him. She turns towards the others, and speaks. "We need to lock up. Are you ready?"

Each woman nods, and they sing together, "This song‘s just six words long!" The record studio and accompanying program disappear, and they are standing on the now empty hologrid. Sue, Megan, and Jen leave the Holodeck together, talking animatedly.

Seven turns to face Tom, and tilts her head when she sees the look on his face. "You are disturbed by the trust we gave you, Thomas?"

Tom shakes his head, and wraps an arm around her shoulders, steering her out of the Holodeck. "Not at all, Seven. I‘m honored that you ladies trust me enough with your secret to let me watch a session with Vic. I hope that the duet we sang together sounds as good on the recording as it did in my earphones."

"It will sound better." They walk down the corridor, Tom‘s arm still wrapped around Seven. "But we should not discuss these chips in the open anymore. Someone may hear us."

"You‘re right." They board the turbolift together, both heading up to the Mess Hall and the memorial service being held there for the Equinox crew that died before Voyager reached her. "This will be a real downer after the afternoon I just had."

"Death is always emotionally draining, Ensign Paris." Seven states just as they arrive on the correct deck. The two of them walk towards the memorial together.

A few days later, when the Equinox crew have managed to break free of their imprisonment on Voyager, and Seven of Nine is kidnapped when they leave Voyager at the mercy of the invading alien threat, Tom thinks back to that last private conversation he had with Seven. While when she first goes missing he doesn‘t have time to wallow in his pity at all, he finally does a day or so later.

He locks himself into his room, and while trying to get some sleep, he thinks back to the data chip that Seven gave him, less than a week before. He slides out of bed, and puts it into his play back device. "Computer, how many recordings are saved on this chip?"

The computer beeps a few times, then speaks. "This chip contains 64 distinct recordings, all protected by password."

Tom shakes his head, "Computer, password ‚This song‘s just six words long‘."

"Incorrect password."

//That‘s odd, I thought for sure they‘d use that one. Oh wait, I bet I know.// "Computer, password ‚Jefe‘."

"Correct password. Playing first piece."

Seven‘s voice is heard throughout his quarters. "Congratulations, Thomas. You figured out the password. This recording will play automatically only this once, unless you set it to play every time. You have the distinct honor of being the first person to be able to listen to *all* our songs. Many are a capella, but a few have musical accompaniment. Enjoy the selections." Her voice fades from his room.

"Computer, play the opening greeting every time this disk is accessed."


"Play ‚The Gal That Got Away‘, from this chip."

Tom lays down on his couch as he listens to the now very appropriate song, recorded before him. He knew in his heart that Seven‘s fellow Deltaquadranlaunes would likely release this song next.

"The night is bitter
The stars have lost their glitter
The winds grow colder
Suddenly you‘re a lot older
And all because of the gal that got away

No more her eager call
The writing is on the wall
All those dreams you dreamed
They have all gone astray

The gal who won you
She‘s run off and undone you
That great beginning
Has seen its final inning
I don‘t know what happened
It‘s all a crazy game

No more - no more that all time thrill
Because you have been put though the mill
And never a new love
Will ever be the same

Good riddance good-bye
Every trick of hers you are on to
But fools will be fools 
And where‘s she gone? - Where has she gone?

The road gets rougher
It‘s lonelier and it‘s tougher
With hope you burn up
Tomorrow maybe she‘ll turn up
There ain‘t no let up
Live long night, night and day

Ever since, (since) this world began
There ain‘t nothin‘ sadder than 
A long lost loser
Lookin‘ for his gal who got away

Please come back
Won‘t you come back"

As the harmonies fade away into silence, a single tear escapes from Tom‘s left eye. "Ah, Seven. My gal that got away."

The End

Musical Notes and Credits:

*Yes*, "Weird" Al Yankovic actually recorded a song on his "Even Worse (1986)" album titled "(This Song‘s Just) Six Words Long" as a parody of "I‘ve Got My Mind Set On You", recorded by someone whom I can‘t remember right now.

The lyrics for both Frank Sinatra songs, "I‘ll Only Miss Her When I Think of Her" (‚sung‘ by Tom) and "The Gal That Got Away" (played right at the end), come from the Frank Sinatra Songbook (http://www.vex.net/~buff/sinatra/song_index.html)... but are copyrighted by all *sorts* of other people!

The lyrics from the Elvis Presley- Ann Margaret classic "You‘re the Boss" (sung by Jefe and Angel <BEG), comes courtesy of the Elvex Pages (http://www.geocities.com/SunsetStrip/Alley/8250/elvex.html), and the copyright is of course held by other people.

The Musical term "A capella" means "To sing without musical accompaniment", which by very definition is the point of a barbershop quartet.