Insomnia. Insomniac. She decided a Starfleet captain must have coined the term.
"Insomnia. Noun. Habitual inability to sleep," came the computer's informative voice.
Kathryn smiled; habitual was right. She was so used to being awake, she’d almost forgotten what it was like to sleep. To awaken refreshed from a wondrous sleep where anything could happen and her imagination was given complete Leigh way. The last time she’d slept, she’d had a dream about Seven. They’d had a lovely picnic on the shores of Risa after Voyager had been miraculously returned home by a generous and all-powerful entity, who only wanted the recipe for chocolate-fudge ice cream as payment.
"Insomniac. Noun. Person who suffers from insomnia," the computer continued, completing its task.
‘Suffers,’ Kathryn couldn’t argue with that.
She was on the verge of asking the computer to trace the origins of the word, when she realised just how sad and pathetic that would make her. She sighed. This was hopeless. Lack of sleep was nothing new to the captain, but she usually managed at least two hours a night, recently however, even those few precious hours evaded her.
She wondered if Seven ever suffered from the Borg equivalent of insomnia. What would that be? Inregenerationia? That would make Seven an inregenerationiac. Kathryn smiled to herself.
She leaned sideways, reached out and sipped the now cold cup of coffee that rested on her bedside table; she grimaced at the staleness of the liquid. ‘Drinking that stuff doesn’t help,’ Kathryn informed herself, since Voyager had gone astray in the Delta Quadrant, she had taken to drinking the proper stuff, none of this synthesis, decaffeinated rubbish! It helped calm her nerves. As she’d once said to Chakotay, she’d defeated the Borg with it, so it couldn’t be hindering her performance that much.
Her mind wondered back to Seven. Had the ex-drone tried drinking coffee yet? Seven had resisted when she’d suggested it, but then, the young woman had resisted many aspects of her life aboard Voyager initially… and now… now she had developed her individuality beyond anything Janeway could have imagined.
Kathryn suddenly felt uncomfortable lying in bed and thinking about her Astrometric’s Officer. She propped herself up on her elbows. She needed a distraction.
"Computer, clarify the word ‘coffee,’" she ordered.
The computer took a moment, "Coffee. Noun. The bean-like seeds of a tropical shrub, roasted and grounded for making a drink."
Kathryn shook her head, somehow that definition didn’t seem substantial enough; coffee was the greatest invention in human history, that and the wheel! She wondered what Seven thought was the greatest innovation of human kind, then she reminded herself that Seven didn’t waste her time on such trivial matters. It would be an ‘inefficient’ use of her time. Of course, the ex-drone hadn’t enjoyed Velocity to begin with, but under the captain’s guidance, she had become quite the champion -- even if she couldn’t beat Kathryn for more than two straight sets. So, there was something to be said for persistence where Seven was concerned.
They hadn’t had many opportunities to play lately. Since Starfleet’s audio contact last week, Seven had been working around the clock on generating a microbe wormhole that would initiate a two-way communication with the Alpha Quadrant.
In fact, now that she thought of it, Kathryn hadn’t seen Seven at all today. She growled in annoyance. It wasn’t that she didn’t appreciate Seven’s efforts… maybe appreciate was the wrong word. After all, this was an opportunity to open long-term communications with home; she should be thankful, even indebted to Seven.
‘But you’re not,’ her inner voice assured her.
Kathryn supposed she should look on the bright side; Seven had obviously accepted some small part of her human identity and was now prepared to return to Earth. Why else would she be working so vigorous?
Kathryn remembered offering to take Seven to her home in Indiana, once they returned to the Alpha Quadrant. She’d meant it at the time, but now speculated as to whether Seven would actually take her up on the offer, or class it as a polite invitation that she wasn’t expected to accept. Somehow, the prospect of being alone with Seven on her parents’ farm made her nervous.
Maybe she should dim the lights, just a fraction more. She ordered the computer to decrease the brightness in her bedroom.
It didn’t help.
She lay still for a moment, her feet were too hot, she wiggled them until they were free of the sheet.
Maybe she should play some music; Tchaikovsky always soothed her, but she hadn’t listened to any of his compositions since Kashyk. She shuddered at the thought. Maybe music was a bad idea.
Seven hadn’t shown much interest in music so far, Janeway made a mental note to address this lapse at a later date.
Her feet were cold. She pulled them under the blanket, cocooning them in the warm material of the sheet.
Janeway tried to imagine what the Borg Collective would do for recreation, if they didn’t view it as irrelevant. Maybe go on shore leave, somewhere hot; get a tan. They were awfully pasty looking. She laughed as the image of a Borg drone surfing the waves of a beach in California with, ‘resistance is futile’ carved into its surfboard, entered her head.
Then she thought of Seven lying on a towel on the sand in a one-piece swimsuit, the sun gleaming on her delicate skin, a gentle breeze blowing her shoulder length blonde tresses. Kathryn’s breath caught in her throat. She made a mental note not to take Seven to a beach, if the Astrometric’s Officer ever visited her. Maybe she could take her somewhere less… somewhere different… like… a pig auction.
‘Great choice Katie!’ Her inner voice groaned, ‘knee deep in pig-shit, that’ll have her running back for more!’
Perhaps she should turn the lights up, just a fraction -- maybe it was the darkness that made her mind race, rendering her incapable of sleep. She ordered the computer to increase the glow of the lights.
She turned on her side. Snuggling into the pillow, she wrapped her arms around it; she needed to get comfortable but her whole body was bubbling with tension. She closed her eyes.
After a few minutes, she realised she was annoyed. She had been annoyed for almost a week.
She opened her eyes.
‘Think about it, Katie.’
She did think about it, she traced the emotion back to the day after contact with Lieutenant Barclay. Then she fine-tuned the memory and pinpointed the cause of her current spout of insomnia.
She sat up in bed. Why did it always come back to Seven? Everything, every time, was connected to Seven.
It was Seven’s preoccupation with the wormhole that was irritating Janeway. Why was she so consumed by this one task? In six days, why couldn’t she spare a moment for her friends… for the captain?
"Stupid worm hole, stupid Astrometric’s Lab… stupid ex-Borg drone!" Kathryn muttered aloud with frustration.
She hated feeling like this, it was almost as if she were envious. The captain shrugged off the idea, what could she possibly be jealous of? Certainly not a wormhole! That was preposterous.
‘Not the worm hole, Katie!’ Her inner voice wanted to kick her for being so dense.
Then the light dawned, clarity emerged… realisation hit and Kathryn lay flat on her back with the impact of it all. She was jealous of the amount of time Seven was not spending with her.
‘Why?’ her inner voice pressed.
"Because I’m in love with her!" Kathryn acknowledged.
Janeway covered her face with her hands. What should she do? Should she say something? No! She might scare Seven. She should talk to someone else about it… but who? Chakotay – his advice would hardly be impartial, he’d been against bringing Seven onboard from the start. The Doctor then – but he had become a little too fond of Seven… Tuvok then? No. She would have to speak to Seven, directly. That would be best.
This thing had been slowly driving her insane and now that she knew... maybe… Kathryn decided to go to the Astrometric’s Lab first thing in the morning, undoubtedly, Seven would still be working on the stupid wormhole.
She rolled onto her side, resolute, and attempted to get comfortable. Slowly, her body relaxed and she inhaled her last breath of consciousness as she slipped into the deep folds of sleep, thinking of Seven and the possibilities the morning would bring.