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I'm with her.

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"Should I be worried?" said Chakotay.

They were in her ready room, and he was looking over her shoulder at the Guidelines for Disciplinary Procedures Regarding Sexual Misconduct. She sighed, and locked the PADD screen. 

"Officially, no."

"And unofficially?"

She leaned back in her desk chair, and ran a hand through her hair.

"All this time, we've never addressed it with the crew, never talked about it."

"We have training for all the department heads on how to handle an allegation." 

"That's the bare minimum, though, isn't it? What use is it knowing how to handle it if none of them know how to recognise it, or who to talk to, or if anyone will have their back?"

She held up her hands, and laid them on the desk in defeat. Chakotay sat down opposite her.

"We've had a lot on our plate," he said.

The Captain frowned. That was no excuse. 

"It just seemed so far removed from us. We've all become so close out here; the idea that one of the family could —" She shook her head. "What if by thinking the best of them, we've failed them?"

"You've only ever had good intentions," Chakotay said gently.

"It doesn't matter what my intentions were; I still let them down."

Chakotay tugged on his earlobe.

"Want me to put something together, like those talks at the academy?"

She tipped her chair back, crossing her arms.

"Did anyone ever actually listen to those?"

"I used to write coursework on my PADD under the desk."

"I used to find a seat at the back and take a nap."

In her defence, she had been permanently sleep deprived. Some things never changed.

"Now that you mention it, though," he said, looking thoughtful. "I had a friend who always sat next to me one year who slowly realised that the way his girlfriend treated him was controlling and unhealthy. It gave us the words to start talking about it." He paused. "I could draw up an outline? Get the Doctor to give a presentation to the crew?"

Janeway was thankful that her poker face was so finely honed.

"No, I don't think so," she said mildly.

"Something more subtle then. We could put it in the newsletter."

Janeway looked at him.

"We don't have a newsletter."

"We could make one."

She considered it. Perhaps there were other things they could include — some of the crew might like to read the highlights of away missions and discoveries; not everyone had the time or patience to read the mission reports.

"We could include other topics too," said Chakotay, reading her mind. "Dealing with anxiety, feelings of homesickness, keeping a work-life balance."

Now there was an idea. If they had planned for the mission to be this long when they left, it would have been standard protocol to have at least one mental health professional on board. As it was, none of the crew were adequately trained, least of all the Doctor. It wasn't much, but if there was a chance it could help someone, it was worth a try.

"Write me a draft of the first issue. Maybe include something lighter as well; I know Ensign Linsey was looking for volunteers for their watercolour class. I'll send you a quick summary of this new form of dark matter that we encountered, and how we detect it; some of our readers might find it interesting. Just do me a favour and don't mention this to anyone else until I — Problem?"

Chakotay hesitated.

"I was hoping to interview some of the crew, ask them about coping strategies they've found helpful. It would all be written anonymously, of course, but I thought it might be better coming from them than from us. And it might help people feel less alone."

She smiled softly at him.

"Well, I look forward to reading it. Just leave this out of it for now." She held up the PADD. "I need to give someone a heads up first."


This was a bad idea.

She'd taken Seven up on her offer to spar together, thinking it would make a nice break from Velocity, and provide an interesting chance to get to know a different side of her. She always found that training with Tuvok gave her greater insight into his character and the way he strategised — it was a meeting of minds as much as anything else.

Now that they were here, though, she felt more than a little out of her element. They were both wearing the same simple black leggings and grey sleeveless top, because Seven had raided her replicator favourites. More of Seven's implants were visible than usual; she could see where the metal lace on her left hand disappeared into her skin halfway up her forearm, and silver nanoprobes swarmed around the one remaining module on her right bicep, permanently on duty to prevent any infection getting in around the edges. A starburst was nestled almost flush with her skin in the high arch of her right foot, sending out tendrils that criss-crossed as they wrapped around her ankle. Most of them tapered out before they got far up her calf, but a couple ran straight up her shin and disappeared under the three-quarter length leggings. Janeway had an odd urge, tickling in the back of her mind, to see where they went. She kicked that mental door shut with an almost audible slam.

They sitting were on the mats in the dojo, just finishing their warm ups. They weren't alone; Tuvok was drilling Suus Mahna stances behind them, and Jenny was working with a group of mixed ranks and disciplines who had requested to cross-train with security. Janeway had signed off on her plan for the curriculum and forgotten about it until now. She could see her over Seven's shoulder, wearing a white gi and a black belt with her hair in a bun, carrying out a leisurely conversation while she leaned against the wall with one leg pointing straight up in the air.

"You don't need to be all the way up here," she was saying. "The important thing is that you're getting that full extension. You'll get there in time."

The young man she was speaking to lowered his leg by a few degrees, but straightened his knee.

"Good," she said. "Point your toe."

She stood back up normally and moved over to him to take hold of his foot and pull it into position until his toes were pointed. 

"Hold it for ten."

She stood watching until he was shaking, glancing over her shoulder briefly at two women grappling on the mats across the room.

"And down. Up for ten and down for ten, okay?"

She turned towards the women.

"Carter, what am I going to say?" she called.

The one on her back caught her opponent, presumably Carter, in an arm bar, and she folded down on top of her and tapped twice on the mat with her free hand. 

"Don't attack from inside the guard," she said dutifully, flopping down to the side.

"Are you sufficiently warmed up?" said Seven, almost making her jump.

Janeway gave her a nod and a smile, and they both climbed to their feet. Seven held out her human hand, and the Captain grasped her wrist instead of slapping her palm. It had become a habit, after training with Tuvok fairly regularly. They let go, and the match had begun. Circling around each other, they each watched how the other moved, looking for weaknesses. Janeway felt nervous about going to ground, not wanting Seven to end up in a position that might make her feel vulnerable. Besides which — she was very conscious of where not to put her hands. 

She was aware that focussing on it was only going to make it more awkward, so she pushed it aside and imagined that she was sparring with her sister. It was a sport and a combat training exercise, nothing more. Testing the waters, she tried to hook Seven's ankle with her foot, but she danced out of the way. She tried to grab hold of her wrist, but she blocked her easily. Time to step it up a notch.

She moved forward more decisively, and hooked her fingertips into the muscle around the back of her neck. Seven mirrored her, but she cupped the back of her head gently, like she was fragile. They both gripped the inside of each others elbows, too, and they were circling in unstable equilibrium, force balancing against force. Seven tried to pull her head forward, trying to break her posture, but she wasn't using her full strength, and she was able to brace backwards and stay upright. She pulled down on Seven's elbow, trying to pull her forward and off balance, but she only succeeded in pulling herself closer.

Seven tried to step into her, trying to get the right angle to sweep her leg out from under her. She moved with her, keeping her feet out of the way, but Seven twisted and threw her over her hip. Well, threw was a strong word — it would be more accurate to say that she carefully placed her on the mat. Janeway was on her back now, with Seven standing over her, but the time and space she left in her hesitation let her get her feet up. She braced one against Seven's hip, the other on her bicep, and got control of her Borg wrist. The metal was warm, the same temperature as her skin. She didn't know why she always expected it to be cold. 

Seven tried to grab the foot that was pushing against her arm, but she twisted it around and out the way and back back onto her bicep again, being difficult. She pulled her forward by her wrist, but met resistance. Trying to get her off balance, she reached for her ankle and yanked it forward, kicking backwards with the foot on her hip at the same time. Seven threw her weight forwards to avoid falling back, and she used it to her advantage, shooting her heels past her waist and locking her ankles behind her back. The movement was so fast that Seven didn't have a chance to counter, and now her hips were in the air, held there by her legs hugging tight around Seven's waist. Only her shoulders were left on the mat. 

Seven was still standing, but she was crouching a little, and leaning forward. Janeway pulled her down in a sudden movement with her knees, yanking her wrist forward at the same time. Her shoulders lifted up off the mat for a moment before Seven fell to her knees and she slammed back down. Looking up at her face in alarm, Seven relaxed her core tension for a moment. The Captain grinned at her to show her she was okay. Although she had managed to get her hips where she wanted them, Seven was so inconveniently tall that it wasn't as much of an advantage as usual. She knocked her arms apart before Seven could brace them together, surged forward, and found that grip around the back of her neck again, digging her fingers into the muscle. Seven tried to sit up slightly, but she pulled her close, so that all of her bodyweight was dragging her down. 

Uncrossing her ankles, she planted her left foot on the mat, tight against where Seven was kneeling. She pushed her hips out to that side, letting her other calf hook around Seven's knee. Now she had enough space to move her shin across Seven's chest, jabbing her knee into her sternum. Seven was fighting her, trying to sit up, but she was holding her down against her knee by the back of her neck with all her strength. In one motion, she twisted and extended her body, dragging Seven's wrist up towards her face with her elbow back as if she was pulling back the string on a bow. Just as Seven's centre of gravity was pulled out over her base, she scissored her legs and flipped them over. 

She would have landed in full mount position, but she hesitated to grind her hips all the way down, and Seven managed to get one knee up past her guard and brace it against her shoulder, stopping her from getting any closer. Switching tactics, Janeway hugged her shin tight to her chest and sat her weight down on her other leg. There were metal tendrils under her hands, and Seven probably could have broken her neck with a single kick, but she let her wrap her forearm around her calf and under her ankle, and push her toes down at an unnatural angle . It took more force than it would for a human, but she steadily applied more pressure until Seven hissed and tapped out. 

She released the tension immediately, put her foot down gently, and scooted backwards out of the tangle of legs. Seven rolled onto her back and let her arms fall to the mat in a rare moment of discomposure. Wisps of curls had escaped from her french twist. Janeway braced her hands behind her and leaned back, watching her. 

"You're holding back," she said.

It wasn't entirely one sided, but she was working on that.

"With good reason," said Seven, staring up at the ceiling.

"Deliberate use of proportionate force would be good reason, but that's not what you're doing," said Jenny's voice, from behind her.

Seven leaned up on her elbows to give her the evil eye. Tipping her head all the way back, Janeway could see her standing behind her with her arms crossed. The collar of her gi was pulled open messily, almost pulled out from under her belt, showing the dark grey woven fabric underneath. She must have been rolling with someone. She didn't seem particularly affected by Seven glaring at her. The Captain jumped up and offered Seven her hand. She was half hoping that Seven would grasp it with her own, but she took hold of her wrist, as Janeway had done earlier.

"You don't trust yourself; you're terrified you're going to hurt her," said Jenny, as Seven pulled herself to her feet.

Seven looked irritated, but not furious. They must have hit it off — no-one else would get away with accusing her of being terrified, except maybe the Captain herself. But then, no-one else would even think about it.

"If I lose control, I could unintentionally break her leg."

The Captain let go of Seven's wrist; she hadn't realised she was still holding it. 

"Did I say anything about losing control?" said Jenny pointedly.

The two of them seemed to be locked in a staring contest. Jenny broke first, moving her chin towards Janeway before blinking and following with her gaze.

"She does have a point," she said. "Anti-impacts, third from the left." She nodded at the top row of lockers behind them. "Dani's about your size, she won't mind."

The Captain raised an eyebrow.

"Yes, ma'am," she said under her breath.

Shoulders shrinking in, Jenny's eyes widened, and she sucked her lips between her teeth. Janeway grinned and clapped her on the shoulder in reassurance. Two crew members were hovering in the background, inching closer uncertainly. Seeing Janeway glance behind her, Jenny called out to them without looking.

"Do it again."

"But we just did it again," one of them said.

Janeway turned to the lockers to fish out the anti-impacts. 

"Yup," said Jenny. "And when you're done with that, do it again, and again, and again." 

She pulled out a crumpled ball of that same woven fabric. The non-newtonian material stubbornly kept its shape when she tried to shake it out, but slowly relaxed when she let the trousers drop and held the top by its shoulders. The knees, shoulders, and elbows were quilted in a lighter grey in the direction of articulation, like hoverbike leathers. She was familiar with the technology, but she hadn't used it much herself. They absorbed some of the force of impact, but mostly they just spread it over a wider area, like a full body harness. 

"I thought these didn't help with grappling."

"They don't, much," said Jenny. She started to untie her belt. "Those ones have dual-phase joints, so they will give you some protection. Just don't go getting a false sense of security."

The Captain threw her a casual salute, the way Jenny always did. She smiled as she wrapped her jacket more neatly and started tying her belt again.

"I don't wear full kit all the time, but it's good if you want to try some more dynamic stuff. And I train in it, sometimes, just to get used to it. It can be strange at first.You can just put those on over your normal clothes. Might want to move around a bit to warm them up." She pulled the two ends of her belt with a snap to tighten the knot, and looked over Janeway's shoulder. "B'Elanna!" she called.

Janeway looked around, and sure enough, B'Elanna had just walked out of the changing rooms with Tom's arm over her shoulder. She must have been working out in the gym next door; the changing rooms had another entrance on the other side.

"Fancy a rematch?" said Jenny.

"I just got dressed." B'Elanna gestured down at herself.

"Aw come on, I'll buy you a drink later. I'm trying to prove a point."

"Which is?"

"How to spar with somebody breakable."

B'Elanna took one look at Seven standing with her hands behind her back, and Janeway trying to wrestle her way into the anti-impact shirt, and gave a look of resignation. She turned to look at Tom apologetically, but he just smiled at her.

"I'll see you at home," he said, and pecked her on the lips. "Don't beat her up too much, she owes me another round of pool!" he called over his shoulder as he walked away.

Jenny rolled her eyes. Instead of stepping back into the changing rooms, B'Elanna just stripped off her uniform until she was standing in her long black thermals. Janeway had managed to pull on the trousers by the time B'Elanna sauntered over. The fabric had an odd cooling sensation. The waistband attached to the hem of the top with a mag-zip, like on the uniform jackets, and loops of fabric at the cuffs hooked over her heels and thumbs. Thankfully they were loose enough that her leggings didn't bunch up. When she tried to do some gentle stretching, though, it was like trying to move around in an EV suit. A stubborn EV suit. It seemed to be standing there of its own accord, and she had to consciously push it and pull it around. Jenny grimaced in sympathy.

"They should be alright once you get them warmed up, so long as you don't try to make any sudden movements."

Janeway looked at her incredulously. No sudden movements while she was fighting?

"I know, trust me." She rapped her knuckles on the fabric over her chest, and it made a dull knocking sound. "Does wonders for your style, though. Just pretend you're doing Tai Chi." She grinned, walking backwards over to the open space where B'Elanna was waiting.

"Just avoid the face; I'm not wearing my mouthguard," said Jenny.

They slapped palms, bumped fists, and then they were dancing, much more confidently than she and Seven had. They moved quickly, darting forward, blocking each other, each trying to anticipate the other's strategy. B'Elanna was transparent but decisive, while Jenny's movements were smooth and flowing, feinting gracefully out of B'Elanna's attacks. Janeway wondered how much of that came naturally and how much was because of the anti-impacts.

While she watched them, she kept stretching her arms and shoulders, swaying back and forth on her feet, trying to keep each part of her body in motion. As she moved, the fabric shrunk disconcertingly until it fit her like a wetsuit. It wasn't too tight, she could still breath perfectly fine, but it felt like it was restricting her movement. She tried to copy Jenny and move more smoothly. Soon she found she could move quite freely, and quite quickly, so long as she didn't make any jerky motions. She jerked her knee up experimentally, and it stopped like a seatbelt. The more she pushed, the harder the fabric pushed back. Tuvok had come to stand over her shoulder, drawn in to watch the fight.

Either B'Elanna got frustrated at the game that Jenny was playing, or she just wanted to go and find dinner and a glass of wine, because she planted her foot, drew back her knee, and launched a powerful side-kick into the middle of Jenny's abdomen. Jenny flew halfway across the large room, but she knew how to fall; she rolled twice and bounced back to her feet before B'Elanna was halfway over to her. They met in the middle, and Jenny casually grabbed B'Elanna's wrist, stepped up on her thigh near her hip, and swung her body up and around B'Elanna's head to lock her in an arm bar in midair. B'Elanna was forced to roll to the mat, and she landed with the crook of Jenny's knee over her face, leaning back with her wrist tucked under her arm to force it in a direction it didn't want to go. She tapped out quickly with her foot.

"Why haven't we promoted her, again?" Janeway whispered to Tuvok.

"We attempted to, one point seven years ago," said Tuvok quietly. "She cited a distaste for paperwork."

Janeway smiled. She couldn't blame her for that.

"Maybe she'll change her mind," she said, mostly to herself.

Tuvok said nothing. Jenny had eased off the pressure and untangled herself.

"Show off," said B'Elanna.

Grinning, Jenny held out a hand to help her up.

"Guilty as charged," she said.

B'Elanna pulled herself up and into a one-armed hug. Janeway looked at Seven carefully, biting her lip.

"Want to switch things up for a bit?" she asked, keeping her tone light.

Seven turned to look at her, wisps of curls framing her face.

"She is partially correct; I am not entirely confident in my ability to control my own strength. However, I would regret the loss of your company."

Janeway tried not to swoon, and thought she had been successful, until she found herself smiling softly and winking so subtly that she was almost fluttering her eyelashes.

"We'll find other things to do," she said in a low voice.

Fucking hell Kathryn, people can see you.

"I'll hold you to that drink," B'Elanna was saying, wagging a finger over her shoulder as she walked back over to where she'd left her clothes.

"I'm counting on it," Jenny called after her.

She turned and grinned at Seven, throwing her arms out in a theatrical gesture.

"See? No broken ribs!" She prodded her fingers into where she'd been kicked. "Not even —" she winced slightly. "Okay, maybe a bit of a bruise. But not the bad kind." She made her way over to them.

"Are you going to be around for a while?" said Janeway.

Jenny looked back and forth between them.

"I can be," she said, raising her eyebrows in question.

Janeway looked at Seven, who tipped her head.

"Come on, then," said Jenny. "You can throw me around, I won't break."

She watched them go, and then turned to Tuvok — who was looking at her knowingly in that superior Vulcan way of his. Realising she still had a soft look on her face, she snapped on a professional mask and narrowed her eyes at him. Tuvok raised an eyebrow.

"Want to teach me some Suus Mahna strikes and take these things for a test drive?"

She felt like she was changing the subject, even though neither of them had said anything.

"Very well," said Tuvok, and moved into a fighting stance.