Author: Will Freeman
Dislaimer: They're not mine. I wish I could make money from these--beats work--but I can't, so don't think I'm doing anything illegal. All my respect for Paramount, etc. etc. etc.
Author's Notes: Timeframe: Season 4, alt. No warnings, except f/f romance. If you don't like it, don't read it.
Feedback: There's never enough. Even if you think it sucks, write me and tell me why, so I can pollute your inbox with better stuff next time.
Captain Kathryn Janeway responded so reflexively to the chime that she was barely aware she had granted permission for entrance at all. In fact, there was a hint of surprise in her expression as the ready room door slid open with a hiss. In a formfitting muted fuchsia jump suit, Seven of Nine entered, unaware of the gravity that constantly surrounded her. "Captain, may I speak with you?"
"Of course, Seven," Kathryn Janeway slid into her chair and casually lifted coffee to her lips, pretending that their eyes were not locked so. Every day, Seven became more. More beautiful, more human, more a marvel than a possible companion. So, Janeway cherished her chance to be what... "Ambassador of Humanity" and pretended that she didn't want--or realize that there could be--more. "What's on your mind?"
"There is a form of human communication that I have been... endeavoring to understand. It seems to be multi-layered at times, but often inefficient in its encryption--"
"What are you referring to?"
"Oh... that's a hell of a topic." Janeway set down her cup and sighed. "Humans--and most other communicative species-- have used poetry, usually to express emotion, for... a very, very long time. It would be difficult to understand much of it without a... a... better understanding of emotion, Seven, and a lot of reading."
"I have downloaded several terabytes of famous poetry--mostly Human, Vulcan and Klingon, since these compose the majority of Voyager's information on poems. I know all of Shakespeare's sonnets, and Byron's, and F'Pris, T'Rih, Ch'des, and all of the epics of Beowulf, Seked, and Kahless. And as for emotion, I am learning a bit of that." Blue eyes over a sunset-like blush.
Kathryn decided to mask her attraction with approval. "That's very nice, Seven, but have you read them?"
"Why would I? It is inefficient."
"It is the difference between containing data and processing it. And you know, you'll understand better if you try some yourself."
"Thank you, Captain. I will."
Taking a break from Master DiVinci's workshop seemed strange to Kathryn. Here, she was relaxing, but with her mind on so much, her tinkerings only added to the trouble. She decided to take a walk. Though the streets were narrow and slightly filthy, Kathryn knew that they were worse historically. Grubby peasants passed blankly, barely even constituting characters. Why was the world so empty? Because she was not here. It was selfish, even to think about Seven, this flowering woman whose emotions were childlike, though growing. And worse, Seven leaned on me like a mother, so how can I think of her as such?
Where have I wandered to? Wondered Kathryn, as she came upon a thin creek at the edge of the city, winding through the fields now--in spring--to dry into an afterthought by the beginning of summer's heat. The summer sun glinted against some small thing, catching her attention.
The bottle was covered in mud, so much so that only the rim had reached the surface. How had it drifted down such a small creek? Janeway had barely begun to wipe it clean when she noticed a rumbled piece of paper inside. With dirty fingers, she fished it out. Authentic dust-yellow paper from this age, in the sort of ink DiVinci used... letters written as carefully as a computer might, but with flaws of ink and quill not typically programmed in.
The wonder and glory of the universe
Is only a reflection of your smile--
I hope I will continue to see it a while.
The safety of rest is a shadow
f the protection that to you I owe.
You are all.
Simple, kind, basic... replicated of the elements from famous poets, but earnest. Seven... what am I to make of this? Janeway wondered when Seven had tampered with the program, and how many ways she had crept it in, since it would be inefficient to make only one modification small enough to be missed. Enough of this. I can't stay. "Computer, end program."
Daily reports were such a pain. Yes, it mattered how efficient the ship was, and what shortages were predicted, but Janeway hated them. What is this? "Report: Poetry." Well, all reports must be read, mustn't they?
Yes, Seven had a better grasp of humanity than she let on. At the very least, she knows how to dance on heartstrings.... Janeway sighed, blinked away random moisture in her eyes, and retreated into reports, where she was safe, and everything had a right answer.
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