Crystal Blue Persuasion

CRYSTAL BLUE PERSUASION (NC-17)

Summary: An away team finds some mysterious stones, and asks Janeway for
her expertise. In the course of her examination, she finds herself taking
a trip into her inner self.

— Delta Story (February 1998)

****************************************

“Janeway here,” Voyager’s captain said as her comm badge buzzed.
She was at the ops station, with Ensign May. The position’s
usual occupant, Harry Kim, was with the away team on the surface
of the planet 200,000 kilometers from the ship. The two women
were intent on monitoring the vital signs and positions of the
four crewmen who were exploring for the origin of the alpha
pulses which were being transmitted from the small K-class
planet.

B’Elanna Torres’ voice echoed from the signaling device, with
shards of static weakening her normally strong voice. “Captain,
there is something very interesting here that I think you should
see. We *think* that we have found the source of the pulses;
however, the source is also emitting gamma strings, which are
distorting our readings. I know that you have dealt with gamma
strings before, and thought that your interpretation would be
important.”

The senior officer’s eyes lit up at the mention of the unusual
finding… gamma strings! She *had* encountered them twice
before, long before her Voyager days. The strings affected time
dimensions, and were implicit in the theories of universe
expansion.

“On my way,” she said, moving even as she transmitted her
message. Looking over her shoulder as she swung down from the
upper platform of ops, she said to her seated first officer,
“Chakotay, you have the bridge.”

“Aye, Captain,” he responded as the turbolift door as whisked
open and her determined form vanished behind their closing. He
shook his head, with a slight grin and a twinkle in his eye.
*Kathryn on a mission… now that’s a force to be reckoned with!*
He had wanted to add *Be careful*, but knew that her silent
response to him would be a scathing look, reminding him that it
was none of his business.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The blue haze of the transporter beam crackled on the planet’s
surface, and Janeway appeared in a lightweight planet suit like
the ones that clothed the rest of the away team. Although the
air was breathable and there was no need for an artificial oxygen
supply, the silvery outfit did have a small mask and pressurized
container of oxygen. The device served as a protective measure
on such planets where the atmosphere appeared to be variable and
unknown.

She immediately saw B’Elanna leaning towards the flat vertical
surface of a rock-like outcropping. This area of the gray planet
surface was covered with similar mounds, about 10 meters high,
with a base diameter of about 15 meters.

She looked around, taking in the expanse of the area in which
they stood. The mounds were separated by equal distances of
about 10 meters, and, although there was no real pattern to the
layout, she had a sense of a regularity of position. Harry,
Seven and Ensign Ayala were examining several of the other 30 or
so mounds. Torres turned when she heard Janeway start to move.

“Captain… I’ve found a particularly strong area of gamma string
activity. Come see!”

The small planet had a decreased gravity field, and even the
gravity compensator of the suits did not offset the lessened
attraction to the surface. Her footsteps floated as much as
paced the short distance to her chief engineer. Janeway grabbed
onto B’Elanna’s shoulder as she reached the outcrop.

“See these crystalline structures? They seem to be emitting the
gamma string signals. I’ve never known these signals to come
from a solid source… or, one so small.”

Janeway looked puzzled. “You’re right, B’Elanna. Usually they’re
associated with comets or other gaseous entities. This is most
unusual.” The rocky hillock was streaked with glassy veins of
the substance, almost like the vesicular pattern of a leaf.
There appeared to be a main trunk, with side sprays of the
material entwining around the knoll. The deep violet skies
overhead reflected off their surfaces, giving them an iridescent
blue color. The captain turned to the rest of the team to get
their input regarding the crystals.

“Harry… ”

The young man looked over at her. “I’ve got the same here,
Captain, as do Seven and Ayala. It’s almost… like they were
done as a piece of art, don’t you think?”

Seven suddenly called out. “Captain… I believe that my
crystalline structures… are mutating.”

Janeway turned and moved towards the Borg human. As she
approached the knoll in front of which Seven was standing, her
momentum proved too much for the lighter gravitational pull being
exerted by the planet. She tumbled as much as stumbled and
rolled into the mound, her hands coming to rest on the shimmering
crystal surface.

At the instant of her touch, flashes of a blinding blue light
encircled her, wrapping her snugly in their brightness and
intensity. She instinctively closed her eyes to stave off the
profound energy surge. She expected to feel heat… a burning
sensation… but she felt nothing. She only heard the faint
voices of her panicked crew, calling her name. The cries became
fainter and fainter, and she herself being pulled… pulled with
a force that she had never felt before. There was no feel of
motion on her face or her body, only the sensation of being
tugged through… a tight, smooth tube… as if… she were being
born again.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The motion stopped. She opened her eyes. It appeared that she
was in a room, for it certainly was an enclosure of some type…
like a cube. All six surfaces were about 5 meters on each side.
They were a pale blue in color, and seemed to give off a light,
yet there was no light source. There was no furniture as such in
the room. It seemed that she was sitting on the floor, at least
it was the lower horizontal area of the space. The surface was
smooth, but not hard. It was as if she were sitting on a very
firm cushion. An empty room… a tomb. A quick shiver ran
through her body, as she determined not to become disoriented.

She quickly assessed her physical condition and found no damage
to herself. She slowly got to her feet, and assuming her best
Starfleet stature, she called out.

“I’m Captain Kathryn Janeway of the Starship Voyager. Why have
you brought me here?”

There was no answer, only the sound of the cold silence of the
room. The pale blue color made it appear even colder. Even her
protective suit seemed to be chilling her.

“Hello?” she called out again. No answer. “What do you want of
me?”

Nothing.

Janeway knew that she had to keep her wits about her. She walked
over to one of the four “walls”, placed the fingers of her right
hand on it, and began walking the circumference of the room. *I
must keep moving; I can’t loose my perspective.* She paced the
area five times, then reversed her pathway. Again, she stopped
and called out. Only the coldness answered her.

The Starfleet officer managed to develop a varied rotation to her
walk, trying to notice anything that was *different* in her
monastic, monochromatic cell. But there was not. All the
surfaces appeared the same, and the only noises she heard were
the howls and whispers from her own body.

Fatigue finally bade her to sit again. For all her movement, she
was not warm; not even a hint of perspiration could be felt
anywhere underneath her clothing. She took a deep breath, then
buried her face in her cradled arms across her flexed knees. The
healing balm of slumber overtook her.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

She was startled awake by the sense that something else was now
in the room with her. She jerked her head up. Sitting in front
of her was a tray with food and a pitcher of a liquid; it took
several seconds for her eyes to adjust to real images after the
disorientation of the room.

Janeway had lost all concept of time, but from the pangs she felt
now in her stomach, she knew that it had been a long time since
she had eaten. The provisions appeared quite appetizing and
welcoming… several pieces of fruit, a large wedge of what
appeared to be cheese, and several pieces of dark, heavy-textured
bread.

The pitcher she now saw was steaming… and a welcoming pungency
wafted to her nostrils. It was… coffee! Rich and invigorating
and inviting. She then saw a large mug behind the pitcher, and
poured some of the aromatic substance into the mug. She
hesitated in raising it to her lips, but her desire quickly
overcame her caution, and she greedily sipped the dark liquid.
For the first time since she came into the room, she began to
feel…warm. She waited a few minutes, then, sensing no harmful
effect of the brew, she decided to eat some of the provisions set
out for her. As she tore some the bread into an edible size, she
said to no one in particular, but whoever… whatever… had
provided for her…

“Thank you; you are most kind. Now, can we talk?”

Silence.

Janeway ate the meal. At least the assuaged hunger made her feel
better. It had also recalled sleepiness; she laid down on the
surface, and stretched out on her side. Funny… the surface
wasn’t hard at all; in fact, it felt like a very comfortable
mattress. Her eyelids were very heavy; she felt a serenity and
peace with the deep sleep which rapidly took over her.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

In her dreams, Kathryn Janeway felt the warmth of a body next to
hers. She sighed, welcoming the sensation, knowing that this was
denied her in her conscious world. She rolled onto her side,
feeling a form mold to hers, sensing a desire arising that had
also been denied for too long. Her arms reached out and
around…

What? Her eyes suddenly flew open. Startled, she sat up and
tried to shake off her sensations. But all that greeted her was
the blueness of the room, which appeared less lighted now…
there was a sense of it being that period just after twilight,
when the radiance of the day has just been extinguished, but the
darkness of night has not unwrapped itself yet. She inched her
hands across the surface, and felt… nothing. She raised her
hands, feeling the emptiness of the space surrounding her. She
sighed, both wishing and fearing to find something in the room.
She laid back down, and again succumbing to the comfort of
slumber.

A second time she felt an arousal of her physical being, and the
perception that she was not alone. This time, she realized that
she was lying on her back, with her arms up and to the sides of
her face. It felt as if her arms were being held in place; she
could not move them. She suddenly felt a warm sensation on her
face… a pressure… a moistness… a kiss? There was no
physical object there, she could tell… but the sensation was
definitely there. The phantom feeling moved… down her cheek…
onto her jaw…around her neck… up to her… lips. The
sensation was beginning to consume her. She opened her mouth
with a sigh… and felt her oral orifice consumed by craving. Her
mouth was invaded by a devouring sense. She tasted the passion
and desire of the perception, and knew how she longed for this
release. It was not a matter of allowing it to happen; she knew
that the matter was out of her control… nor did she want to
control it.

Again she realized that she was being restrained. As she became
lost in the awareness of what was happening, she allowed the
restricted limbs to relax. With her tensed muscles now calmed,
she felt feather touches whisking over the surfaces of the
sensitive skin of her upper arms. A chillness ran through her as
she comprehended that… she was bare… devoid of any
clothing… vulnerable.

The touches continued, but they were more perceived sensations
than actual physical touches. However, the feelings were the
same… and they were having the same effect on her as the *real*
thing. The iciness of her fear was quickly becoming the warmth
of awakened emotion… due to sensations that she had forced into
her subconscious for so long. Her arms still seemed restrained,
but her legs were free… and they began twisting and curling as
she became more aroused by the invisible caresses that were
slowly following tortuous paths down her body.

A sudden movement in the air brought a warm wind across her
susceptible skin. Veiled vortexes whirled around her breasts,
and seemed to tighten themselves into spirals around the tender
protrusions. The spirals became smaller and smaller, compressing
the delicate tissue…. seeming to nip and snip at her nipples as
they responded with aroused erectness. The spirals closed
tightly, squeezing the now-hard tips… and Kathryn’s mouth
opened with a low moan in ready reply. Her entire body was now
rhythmically rising… now rolling… caught up in the ebbs and
flows of the waves of ecstasy that were now washing across the
beaches of her body. She felt the tell-tale flush arise in her
face… the spasms of passion in her inner being… the beginning
of the crest that she knew would consume her.

Even as the spirals twirled her to new heights, the unseen
feathery touches continued their downward journey along her now-
warmed flesh… down her sides… embracing the inward curve of
her waist… gently kneading the soft flesh of her stomach…
languishing along her lower abdomen long enough for her to quiver
at its cat-like touch.

The spirals and velvety strokes were joined by yet another
contact… just as gentle and insistent as its sister sensations.
This new visitor was taking control of her maneuvering legs…
urging them to still… holding them… soothing them. With
unheard “shhhh’s”, Kathryn obeyed their insistence. Between her
vocal voicings of growing fervor, she sensed her upper legs being
urged apart, exposing the wet softness of her swollen lower lips
to the movements in her surroundings. No longer afraid but now
welcoming the phantasm which was igniting her, she surrendered to
the ecstasy.

Again small nips to the engorged nether tissue brought cries of
desire from her mouth. Invisible fingers traced the outlines,
stopping momentarily at the small erect nub just below her pubis.
Teasing and pleasing, the ghostly manipulators flicked the small
zone with dizzying swiftness and elicited strained bucking of her
firmly contained body. Her earlier quivers quickly became
twinges… then spasms… and release. She let out a cry as she
felt a surge of warmth exit from her body.

Yet her stimulator was not through, for even as the warm fluids
signaled her of a climax of long-denied emotions, she felt…
something enter her. Nothing solid… just the fullness of
something like flesh… but not tangible… again, something she
had long since forgotten. With renewed fervor, she felt her
abdominal muscles tighten and grasp… not knowing whether she
was reacting to real or unreal. Movements in and out were
taunting forgotten responses… deeper and deeper… she had
never sensed anything like this before. Every synapse on and in
her body was now reacting… tingling… inviting… wanting
more.

With a final explosion, thrills of undulating satisfaction rolled
down and through and over her body… release of years of
repressed feelings… denials. The phantom restraints gently
held her in place as the tumult of the multiples explosions burst
through her body and mind and spirit. Soothing caresses calmed
her, as she slowly came down from her pinnacle of paroxysm. She
felt a consoling touch brush across her forehead and cheeks… a
cooling breeze kiss her with its zephyrs… a calming
collectedness being wrapped around her, lulling her once more to
sleep… a sleep that she knew would be healing.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Voices awoke Kathryn Janeway. At first, they seemed distant…
then closer… finally insistent in their tenor.

“Captain… Captain Janeway…”

Her eyes fluttered open. Above, she B’Elanna Torres’ face,
framed by the deep violet skies overhead.

“Captain… thank God you’re all right! That gamma string really
zapped you good! Can you sit up?” the chief engineer said.

Harry was behind his captain, and helped her as she pushed
herself into a sitting position. Ayala had opened a flask of
water and was offering it to her; she greedily took his gift,
realizing how dry her mouth and throat felt. She welcomed the
cool liquid, allowing it to wash around her mouth before she
swallowed its sweetness.

“How… how did you get me back here?” she asked.

B’Elanna shook her head, her dark brown hair bobbing in
expressing her confusion. “Captain, you haven’t been anywhere.
About two minutes ago, you were hit with a gamma string surge. It
knocked you back a couple of meters, and you hit your head pretty
hard on the ground. You have a couple of gamma burns and a
pretty big knot on your head…”

Seven was standing behind B’Elanna. “I am sorry, Captain
Janeway. I was unaware of the instability of gamma strings in
crystalline form. I should have been more cognizant of the
hazard before allowing your investigation of the phenomenon.”

Janeway was still trying to sort out the profusion of swirling
images and memories that were tumbling across her consciousness.

“Seven, there is nothing for which to apologize. I should have
been more careful of my footing. I know of the instability of
the strings, and should have known that this crystalline form
would have made them no more stable. When you are dealing with
something that recognizes ten different dimensions, the unknown
should always be expected.”

Janeway looked at the four people surrounding her. All of them
were attempting to ascertain… what was different about their
senior officer. Seven once more ran her medcorder over Janeway,
to verify that all was intact.

“Do you think that something is wrong, Seven?” the senior officer
asked, struggling to her feet among the four people crowding her.

“I cannot find any abnormal readings, although there does seem to
be a… lessening of tension and stress in your body. It is
like… you have undergone vigorous physical activity.”

Janeway let out a slight gasp, as she realized that that was
exactly what she felt like. The euphoria of exercised muscles…
fast breathing… rapid oxygen intake… hormonal fluctuation.
What *had* happened?

B’Elanna finally spoke. “Captain, there *is* something different
about you, but I can’t put my finger on it. Your eyes seem to
be… far off… looking at something unseen. Perhaps that blow
to your head…”

The captain shook her head vehemently. “I’m fine, Lieutenant. I
had just forgotten how… tricky gamma strings can be.” She
tried pushing the ghosts of her encounter to a convenient corner
of her mind. “Now… I guess we know why we were seeing the
alpha pulses… unstable gamma strings. I, for one, think we
have done enough exploring for one day, and suggest we return to
Voyager.”

Seven looked at her commanding officer incredulously. “But,
Captain… do you not want to examine further potentials of these
elemental forms?”

Janeway began brushing the clinging gray dust from her planet
suit as she gave the young woman an intense stare. “Seven,
please believe me when I say that… the stimuli produced by
these forms of gamma strings are *not* what we need on Voyager!”
There was a glimmer of a smile in her voice, but her expression
remained serious.

The other three crewmen laughed at their captain’s acceptance of
her little tussle with the pulses; but Seven sensed an unspoken
warning in Janeway’s tone.

“As you wish, Captain,” the blonde Borg/human remanded without
further comment.

Janeway looked at the tall woman beside her, sensing her
disbelief. She then hit her comm badge. “Voyager, five to beam
up.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Janeway was in her ready room, having completed her log entry
regarding the expedition. She had not mentioned her
hallucinatory experience in the official log; she was debating
whether she was going to make a personal log entry about the
discomforting dream. What *had* happened? It was evident to her
that her body had reacted to some erotic fantasy; she had
recognized the residual aftereffects… even if it had been…
years. She closed her eyes, sighing with the vivid memory of the
seduction of the blue room and its spirits… beings who knew her
deepest wants… needs… desires! It was if… something in
the unknown dimensions of the gamma strings… knew what was her
most hidden yearning.

Her eyes sprung open as the unseen pleasure phantoms were
replaced with the face and body of… Chakotay! She quickly got
out of her chair, as she practically ran over to the comfort of
her coffee pot.

“No!” she was shouting out loud, as her hands shook while pouring
some of the consoling liquid into a cup. “No! I cannot let this
come to the surface!” she again stated out loud, to no one but
everyone. *Come to the surface? What did I mean to say that?*
she thought, as she now realized that not only her hands but her
entire body was quaking. *No… I’m not going there! I can’t…
I just can’t…*

She made it back to her desk, and placed the cup on her desk. Her
eyes were welling with tears… fighting off the fear… the
longing… the desire. What she had experienced on the planet
was her own deepest hunger… allowing itself to become manifest
in the guise of an other-dimensional encounter. It was real to
her because she allowed it to be. Would… could… *should* it
happen in her own reality? Here… where she had ultimate
control… there, where she had none. Perhaps that was the
message of the ordeal… that in order to experience such
pleasure… she had to relinquish herself to another… to him.

Her reverie was irreverently broken by the buzz of her comm
badge.

“Yes?” she asked, brushing aside the haunting visions from her
mind.

“Captain, I would like to see you in cargo bay one,” Chakotay’s
voice stated. “Ensign Colello was repacking the planet suits and
he found something unusual in yours. I think you should have a
look.”

“On my way,” said the Captain, as she exited her ready room and
headed across the bridge to the turbolift.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

When Janeway got to the cargo bay, the young ensign was just
leaving.

“Captain, I’ve got to get these vital sign monitors to sickbay.
Can Commander Chakotay fill you in on what I found?”

“Certainly, Ensign. Oh… and thank you in advance for your
astute observations.”

“Just doing my job, ma’am,” he said with a brief salute and
hurried on his way.

Chakotay was on the far side of the large room, with her planet
suit stretched out on a low bench. She hurried over to him.

“Just what is in my suit that bypassed earlier inspection?” she
queried of her first officer.

“Come look. There’s something caught in the belt webbing here on
the side,” the intent man said. His dark eyes were glued to
something that was giving off a strange glint. “Did you see
anything like this while you were down there?” he questioned her
as he reached for it cautiously, watching every subtlety in her
movements.

“Don’t!” she cried out, grabbing for his hand as he neared the
pale blue crystal. Her hand caught his, and he quickly touched
the surface of the mesmerizing object.

Once more, a dazzling blue light reached out and engulfed them.
She only had enough time to wrap her arms around him before they
were pulled into the vacuum of the tunnel.

She whispered to him, “Don’t be afraid. This, Commander… will
be the trip of a lifetime.”

As they swirled… she felt his arms now around her, and heard…
felt his words.

“I know; I’ve already been there. I touched the crystal before
you came. Quite a ride! This time, Kathryn, we’ll go together…
and never be afraid again.”

Their bodies made a gentle “thump” sound, as they looked around
the now-familiar blue room.

“Welcome to *our* dimension, Kathryn… the place where we were
meant to be.” His smile wrapped its arms around her. “Who says
that the laws of physics can’t understand the heart?”

“And one never disputes the laws of physics,” she said, as she
reached up to his face, pulling towards her waiting lips. “We
have a lot of time to make up for.”

Once more time stood still, frozen in the blue crystal… in a
dimension of hidden emotion and buried desires… the dimension
of love without fear.

****** Stones in their silence speak of stories unknown… ******

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