A quick check of the time tells me it’s 05:44:30, which means exactly 30 seconds until the first of them enters. I keep one eye on the chronometer as I watch the messhall doors…3…2…1…Kadiskot! There she is - six foot of blonde Borg sauntering imperiously in, bang on time as ever. Funny how she always has to be the first to arrive – I suppose her Borgness would allow for nothing less than perfect timing. For some reason my mind starts to wander to thoughts of what else this might apply to and I have to catch myself before my spots start glowing.
I think a trip to my holodeck resort is in order later on.
She goes to sit at their usual table, over by the window, which is my cue, though I know she’s going to turn me down as always. Still I have to try, it is my job after all.
“Morning, Seven, can I get you anything,” I ask when I reach the table.
One day she’ll surprise me, I consider as she trots out her usual response in her cool, clipped tones, but not today:
“I do not require liquid refreshment at this time”
Of course not, I think to myself with a smile, as I go back to the counter - probably had enough of that already. Looking back at the chronometer, I wonder how long we’re going to have to wait today. It’s amusing how they feel the need to vary the time between their entrances, as if that’s fooling anyone!
Mind you, I seem to be the only one who thinks anything is going on. When I tried mentioning it to Chakotay he went decidedly pale - which is some feat considering his Indian heritage - and then quickly changed the subject. And as for Tuvok – well, he didn’t actually say anything. He just raised one of his eyebrows a fraction, which I think is Vulcan for “this discussion is inappropriate”, or it could be “this stew is offensive”, I can never quite tell the difference.
I also tried to interest Tom in running a daily book on exactly how long the gap would be between them, but he seemed strangely reticent. Which just leaves me to bet against myself I guess. Ok, today I think I’m going to go for 5 minutes. Which means the Captain should be arriving right about…now! Yes! I win!
I’ll have to reward myself with an extra foot massage at the resort.
As she enters her eyes flick to the table at the window before she tries to casually walk over towards me, pretending she thinks nothing of the young woman sitting on her own. I have the mug ready when she’s still at least 10 paces away. Coffee, black, naturally.
“Thanks, Neelix,” she says as she takes it, and I can’t help myself staring at her lips as her warm smile lights up her face.
Perhaps I need more than a foot massage later.
“How are you today?” she asks politely.
Now I have a tough choice to make - shall I hold her up with one of my long tales or shall I let her go where she really wants to be? I decide to be kind today. I’m in a good mood since we got that delivery of amber spice from the Kartelan freighter. So I tell her I’m fine and indicate I have some work to do, disappearing into my kitchen as I watch her nonchalantly cross to where Seven is sitting and ask if she can join her. Despite her best attempt to hide it, I can see the slight twinkle in those pale blue eyes as they glance up from the padd she’s perusing and she nods her head.
Even with my enhanced Talaxian hearing (which I’ve somehow neglected to mention to anyone onboard), I’m having trouble picking up what they’re saying today. They’re speaking in rather hushed tones, especially the Captain with her husky voice - in fact I can’t make out a damn thing she’s saying! I can just about catch the odd word from Seven, as she reads from the padd…
Ahem! Well, maybe I shouldn’t be listening to that! Oh dear, my spots really must be glowing now.
The Captain looks to have a certain radiance about her too at this precise moment, while Seven is just watching her with what I could swear was a smug look on her face, the implant above her eye slightly raised. So, it appears Seven’s been reading the Captain’s personal logs again then. I think I’d be tempted too if that little snippet is anything to go by. Though I’m surprised the Captain doesn’t take Seven to task over it. Or maybe she will…later…in her quarters…
I’m definitely going to need a lot more than that foot massage.
I’m thinking Seven’s going to get away with it this time, though, since the Captain’s face has softened into that fond look that crosses her face often in Seven’s presence, usually when she’s done something the Captain considers “cute”.
The expression reminds me of another of their post-breakfast conversations that I overheard, purely by accident, of course. I missed the start of it, but I did catch Seven telling the captain “thank you” at which point the captain’s face dissolved into perhaps the most besotted and gooey look I’ve ever seen. I wish I’d had the doctor’s holo-imaging device to capture it for posterity.
I continue to watch now, noticing the captain’s hand slipping under the table to gently stroke Seven’s knee. It looks like she’s forgiven the log reading incident then – Seven really has her wrapped around her finger! Fortunately a voice breaks me out of my study before I can start thinking too intently about fingers.
“Morning, Neelix! So where’s this broken replicator then?”
It’s Harry Kim, eager as ever. As I take him over to the faulty device, I smile when I notice Seven getting up to leave while the captain pretends to be intensely studying the padd. Of course they could never be seen to leave together could they, but the Captain’s lingering gaze as the young woman strides out is unmistakable.