Voyages of the Mind

By Amy Van Dyke ©2004

Karen sat at her desk staring at the piles of loose paper on her desk dance as the fan covered the room. Back and forth she let the sound try to relax her. She’d been at her desk for hours trying to finish her work. She’d finished her day work easily on Friday night, since then she’d been in her home office.

In her head was the general outline of her second novel. The first was desk hopping in at least two small houses and she hadn’t heard a word yet. Her second was harder. She sighed and just sat there. Feeling guilty about a thousand different things she decided to work out. ‘Come on girl, break out the cobwebs.’

Her weight bench was in the room between her office and bedroom. She turned on the television and began reps on her legs. Her mind wandered as her body relaxed. Listening to the theme music to one of her sci fi shows was on and it gave her a pleasant idea. To relax she’d write a fan fiction. Just something light to pass the time.

Leaving ideas of a work out behind she began to plot a story. She had just seen a movie about a man traveling in time at will on late night television. Along with several books she’d read on time travel. The more she thought about the fiction of the process the more it really seemed possible. Granted she was very tired, so with a smile on her face she sat down to write herself into her favorite sci fi universe.

Karen’s eyes began to grow heavy in the late afternoon but she was in a zone, having so much fun setting the scene that she didn’t want to stop. She was elated that the more she wrote the more she felt in the scene. Her background thoughts were of her research and the will to travel. In a pause between thoughts her heavy eyelids closed. Her mind very much engaged in the story.

Karen slept or nearly slept for only a few minutes. She awoke roughly by someone tripping over her. As soon as Karen recovered from the shock she disengaged herself from the person. Before she could sit up properly she heard.

"Intruder Alert! B’Elanna to Captain Janeway. I think Q is back." B’Elanna returned her attention back to Karen, B’Elanna backs away and goes into defensive posture.

Karen stands and finds herself still in her workout clothes. She thinks to herself that it is inappropriate and she is suddenly dressed like B’Elanna. Karen is too stunned by her situation to say anything. B’Elanna just says "funny" and subtly checks out Karen’s body.

Soon a security detail arrives and Karen is escorted to the captain’s ready room. Captain Janeway was not happy. She’d been plagued recently with what she was sure were Q-like pranks. And now Q literally drops in.

Janeway sits apparently calm behind her desk as Karen is escorted in. Karen still speechless was beginning to enjoy this dream. ‘Janeway can punish me anytime.’ She thought and smirked slightly. Janeway was not amused.

"Well, Q, what are you doing here?" Karen tried to think of something to say that would fit into the theme of the dream but just couldn’t. "I’m not Q."

Janeway digested this for a moment. It was unlike Q to deny their greatness. "Then who are you and how did you get on my ship."

"Or change clothes?" B’Elanna piped in.

"Well, my name is Karen Wyatt. The last thing I remember I was in my office working, on earth."

"Earth! You came all the way from earth. How did you manage that?"

"This has got to be the weirdest dream", Karen mumbled to herself. She was not having fun and it wasn’t a nightmare.

Janeway softened seeing Karen’s apparent confusion. She could only imagine how bad it would be to have Q kidnap you completely unaware. She’d been familiar with his antics and never appreciated it.

"Please, sit down." Janeway guided Karen to the upper level couch.

Karen was starting to panic; she kept shaking her head and trying to wake up. Part of her wanted to enjoy the moment but if this wasn’t a dream she’d gone stark raving mad. Her nerves continued to grow worse, the room began to grow distant and she thought she might be waking up. When she opened her eyes again she was still looking at the warm eyes of the captain.

The doctor hovered next to her and handed her a glass of water. She drank it and got her first really good look around. ‘Well if I’ve gone crazy, at least I went somewhere I like.’

"Hello, I’m sorry. This is all very confusing." Karen tried to be polite.

"I’m sure. What were you doing before you arrived here?"

"I was typing up some work at my desk.’

"Typing?" B’Elanna asked. Karen had forgotten she was there and smiled at the beauty she’d always liked.

"Yeah, just some notes."

"No, I mean. What year is it?"

Janeway’s ears perked up at the year instead of the star date. She remembered B’Elanna saying that Karen had been in different clothes.

"Well, for me its 2004 but looking at this place I’m guessing not for you."

B’Elanna smiled back likening how Karen was recovering from the shock with a sense of humor.

Janeway’s headache was getting extreme. She stalked over to her desk and called to Q. Not too nicely either.

A dramatic flash and Q was there. "Why Kathy, I knew you’d come around," he goaded her.

"What is the meaning of this?" Janeway points towards Karen.

Q scanned the room, "What? Kathy my darling you don’t need to fabricate. You called and I am here for you." He seemed genuinely curious.

"Q, don’t start. Why did you pull this woman here?" She pointed again at Karen.

Q looks over at Karen at first seeing another engineer then his eyes lit up. "Who are you?"

Karen tired of his antics. "I thought you were omniscient."

The room grew still.

Q’s color began to darken as he starred at Karen. Janeway moved from her desk to stand between them. Q raised his hand and everyone in the room froze but him and Karen.

"What are you doing here?"

"I’ve no idea. What’s going on?"

"This is my place now. I told the continuum to leave it alone."

"Listen. I’m serious. I was sitting at my desk writing then I’m here. I don’t like my clothes and they switch on me. You tell me what’s happening."

Q sneered at Karen, "Oh sure, you’re completely in the dark. You have your fun and then get out." In a flash Q was gone. Karen looked around at the frozen people. She’d barely thought about them waking up and they did.

"What’s going on?" Janeway reacted so fast it was like she knew she was frozen. Karen was beginning to feel more confident in at least the way she’d gone insane. "As far as I understand Q is denying his part in this. And I’ve no idea what is going on." Karen kept it quiet that she seemed to have Q-like powers.

"B’Elanna, show Ms. Wyatt to some quarters. Then you and Seven put your heads together."

B’Elanna huffed a bit at having to meet with Seven. Karen had an idea what she was upset about.

Karen was deposited in an empty stateroom. After a few minutes of exploring the modern room and fussing with bathroom fixtures, she begins to test her theory.

Sitting at the table she decides she wants a glass of water, one appears. She wants it hot and it steams, tea and its tea. Karen was sure that however it had happened she was like Q. Which she supposed was just as weird as being inside one of your favorite TV shows.

Q seemed to think she was from the continuum, which was curious. Karen decided to take a bit more of an active role. She didn’t know how to get to Astrometrics then realized she could just zap herself there.

B’Elanna and Seven seemed startled but Karen tried a Jedi move and they didn’t question her presence. They were reviewing the past few weeks some strange things have been happening and they believe Q responsible. They had returned twice to a planet of scantily clad women despite the fact that they hadn’t turned around. Janeway had made passes at Seven but could not explain her actions. Systems haven’t been behaving as they were designed. They’d luckily met no hostile forces just the mysterious bikini planet.

Karen enjoyed watching Seven and B'Elanna interact; each of them checking the other out in her own way. She noticed that they only bickered if Janeway was around. Karen needed some answers about what was happening so she left Astrometrics. As she neared the door a cute blond came in with a padd for Seven. She was so cute, Karen took a moment to realize that the blonde had stepped around her politely. Karen was supposed to be invisible. She waited for the ensign to turn and leave before confronting her in the hall.

Karen caught up with her and touched her shoulder. The woman started then stopped walking. "How is it you can see me?"

The woman seemed very nervous to be talking to Karen. She blushed so sweetly Karen couldn’t help but smile. "Well we do have something in common. I just don’t take such an active role. I like to stay in the background.

"What do you mean?"

"I wrote myself in, just like you."

"Huh?" Karen was speechless but things perversely started to make sense. "You wrote yourself in? How did you get here?"

"I was so bored with my own life; once I figured out how to get here I rarely go home."

"You wrote, huh?" Karen was reeling. "Who are you?"


"Gwen, I don’t feel too good." Karen felt her stomach rebel and her vision tunnel. Gwen grabbed her hand and led her through the halls to her quarters. There were double takes from crew that weren’t used to seeing Gwen with anyone, let alone holding hands with a tall beauty.

Soon Karen was sitting in a chair in Gwen’s quarters staring at the passing star field. Gwen was seated on the couch next to her. She was still holding Karen’s hand. She knew what Karen was going through. Gwen got her attention then related a bit of her life.

"I’d been so depressed I could barely leave the house. All I did was read and write sci fi. Anything radically different from my world was fine with me. Well, the long and short of it is, I wasn’t eating right and passed out and ended up here. I stayed."

"Okay so I’m in a story is that what you are saying?"

"In a sense." Gwen was happy that Karen was taking it so well. But anyone who could get here already had the possibility in her head. Karen was quietly running the sequence through her head. It was falling into place but Karen was suddenly very tired. Her hold on Gwen’s hand was grounding her. But Gwen wasn’t here or was she?

The pieces were clicking.

"But how do you get along with Q? He seems to hate me."

Gwen nodded, "He just feels threatened. He’ll try and pull some stuff. Play the big hero or tyrant then go hide in something called VIP or something like that."

"So, he isn’t a demi god or all knowing being."

Gwen snorted then blushed at the sound. Karen was starting to really like her. "No, he just has delusions of grandeur. It’s only when he sticks very close to the original model that he shows up here."

Gwen noticed that Karen was beginning to fade. "Hey, how long since you slept?"

Karen smiled, "Well, going on the assumption that I’m not asleep now, which I’m willing to do since I have such attractive company. I’ve officially been up forever. Can I borrow your couch?"

"No, they are good for sitting but believe me, you don’t want to sleep out here. Come on." She tugged the hand in hers as she rose from the couch. "My bed will fit us both."

"Um, are you sure?" Karen wasn’t sure at all how to interpret that one.

"Yeah, been a while since I had a slumber party."

"I don’t have anything to sleep in." Even as Karen said it she was once again in her t-shirt and boxers. "I just can’t get used to it."

Gwen laughed, "You’ll learn. At least you sleep in something."

Karen’s mind reran showing up in the corridor naked and smirked. Then she also thought of standing before Gwen naked and vice versa. The blush burned her ears. They got into the large bed and Karen fell almost immediately asleep. Gwen spent a few moments before going herself to gaze at Karen. She wondered if in her loneliness she had conjured the perfection sleeping next to her.

As the women slept their bodies joined in a tangle of limbs that comforted them as much as their dreams. Each dreamed of the other in silly small ways. Neither separated when the computer announced it was time for Gwen to rise for her duty shift. Instead their arms remained loosely about each other as their eyes met.

Gwen wanted badly to kiss the woman before her but didn’t want to take advantage of her confused companion. Karen still half asleep didn’t feel like over analyzing the moment. Instead she leaned in for a short good morning kiss. "Thank you, I haven’t slept that well in a long time."

"You were very tired." Gwen mumbled still flushed from the sweet kiss.

"Yes, that and I liked listening to you breath." Karen was aware how mushy the statement was but actually felt that way and was tired of shying away from it.

Gwen absorbed the deep good feeling that gave her and noticed Karen began to blush. "Yeah sure, I know I snore."

Karen smiled, enjoying that Gwen let her out of the corner she walked herself into. "So what do you wanna do today?" Gwen would’ve preferred to stay in the warm nest but wanted also to show Karen how much fun this world could be.

"Can we just wander around?"

"Yep. My time is your time. I don’t work unless I want to and most of the time I write so no one is expecting me anywhere."

"Sounds like a quiet life."

"Yeah, I needed it though. After a while when you can make your own distractions; even that gets boring. So I stopped playing chess with characters and just let them progress naturally."

As they readied for the day Karen changed into a uniform that was folded and ready on the bathroom counter. Gwen gave her a tour of the ship and they spent the morning getting to know each other. By mid morning Gwen didn’t let Karen’s hand go as she introduced her to crewmembers. That action made Karen feel very comfortable about her sudden feelings for Gwen. A lot of the crew would check out Gwen as they approached and it was beginning to make Karen jealous.

As Gwen began to think about whether to return to her quarters for lunch or brave Neelix’s favorite of the day. B'Elanna approached with a big smile on her face and Gwen’s heart dropped into her growling stomach. She’d forgotten a lunch date with B’Elanna.

Karen saw the smile on B’Elanna’s face and the flash on Gwen’s cheeks and tried to be courtly about the situation. As she tried to pull her hand out of Gwen’s it was gripped tightly. Gwen’s smile and wink to her put her at ease.

"B'Elanna you look quite pleased with yourself today."

"Yeah, had a good morning. Seven sent over some really cool research and I actually understand most of it. Plus I didn’t have to put her up in my office.

Gwen laughed at that. "I thought you liked her in your office."

"I do but lately I’ve been saying the dumbest things. They just come out of my mouth. I either hurt her feelings or piss her off." B'Elanna’s smile faded a bit in her confusion. She didn’t seem to see anything unusual about Gwen’s death grip on Karen’s hand.

They went into the mess hall and sat down. Neelix came over immediately with trays. Karen was comforted it wasn’t anything too far out, just an odd color stew.

They ate and companionably chatted. Karen enjoyed watching the friendship between Gwen and B’Elanna. She also enjoyed Gwen’s hand occasionally grabbing hers or resting on her leg. B'Elanna suddenly blushed and looked down at her plate.

Seven had just come through the door. She glanced over at their table and almost smiled. She nodded at Gwen and took notice of B'Elanna with a wary look. She approached the table with her nutritional supplement and B’Elanna opened her mouth to say something. Gwen quickly asked her a question and B'Elanna started choking. Seven approached and put her drink on the table. As if it was the most normal thing she gently rubbed B'Elanna’s back until the fit was over. She raised an eyebrow at Karen but said nothing.

Gwen squeezed Karen’s hand and leaned into her for support. "I’ve wanted to talk to the two of you."

Both B'Elanna and Seven glanced at each other then back to Gwen. "I think Q has been causing trouble between the two of you."

They both shot Karen a dirty look. "No, not Karen." She pulled Karen’s hand and hers onto her lap. Karen shyly exchanged hands and slipped an arm around Gwen. "Karen is one of the good guys."

B'Elanna smiled at how Gwen was hanging onto Karen. "She must be."

"Yeah," Gwen sighed, "anyway, the usual Q. We think he might be making you say strange things."

B'Elanna’s eyes lit up. "You mean I’m not crazy? Sometimes I say the meanest things when I really wanted to complement her."

"Really?" Seven shyly chimes in.

B'Elanna blushes and looks into Seven’s eyes. "Yes, I think you’re great but I always put my foot in my mouth."

Seven looked confused at the metaphor. "Say something other than what I’m thinking." B’Elanna added.

Understanding lights in Seven’s eyes. "This must not be allowed to continue. How can we restore B'Elanna’s honor?"

B'Elanna was surprised that Seven knew what she was thinking, her shame at having no control almost matched her shame at hurting Seven’s feelings. She smiled her thanks at Seven, still too confused to speak.

Karen decided she should speak up so as not to blow Gwen’s ‘cover’. "I think I have an idea on how to stop interference but I need to ask both of you to be patient with the other. It shouldn’t take that long." The duo seemed okay with waiting it out.

Gwen suggested they sit and finished their lunches together & pulled Karen out into the corridor. "Do you really have a plan?"

"Yep, and I can get it done and be back here in no time."

"Whoa, why are you leaving? Don’t you want to stay? I thought you liked it here." Gwen rushed the questions at Karen in a panic that she would be left alone again.

Karen drew Gwen into a very tight hug. "No, no, I’m not going to leave you." Karen felt Gwen’s desperate hold on her and was sorry she worded it that way. Pulling Gwen into a side alcove she leaned down to kiss Gwen gently. "I just found you. There is no way I’m going to walk away from you."

Their kisses grew a bit more passionate before Gwen pulled back a little. She placed her head against Karen’s shoulder to catch her breath. "I’m falling for you so quickly I worry your just a fantasy."

"I know how you feel. I guess we’ll just have to get used to one another." Karen cupped Gwen’s chin and smiled into her eyes. "I realized after I said that that I would not only need your help but couldn’t stand to be without you, even for a short time." They both remained silent and enjoyed the comfort of the hug. "I guess I was being silly." Gwen was embarrassed for her obvious neediness.

"Not silly at all. I feel the same way." Karen gently kissed Gwen’s forehead. "Let’s go get comfortable and I’ll tell you what I’m thinking." Karen took Gwen’s hand and led her back to her quarters.

They sat on the couch and Karen took the opportunity to take Gwen in her arms and kiss her deeply. They kissed and necked until things began to get heated, hands a little busier. They stopped and barely were able to separate to catch their breath.

"God I want you." Gwen said panting.

"I second that. But…"

"But?" Gwen was afraid again almost just on instinct.

Another small kiss. "But, I don’t like that jerk Q being able to mess with our universe."

"I like that our part." Gwen was warmed and relieved. "What plan did you come up with?"

"We write him out?"

"I tried that but he writes himself back in."

"I can see that but what if we put him in a different place? Into another story?"

"I think I see what you mean. But I don’t think that much of a change we can do from here."

"I figured that. I’m thinking we need to get to him in the real world." Karen paused to see if Gwen was following her. "I’ll need your help because I don’t know how to get back and I’m not losing you if I can help it." Gwen began snuggling in and kissing Karen’s neck.

Karen pulled Gwen at arms length again. "Careful there. I want to fix this first. Okay?"

Gwen smiled "You’re right. Let’s go."

They both struggled up off the couch. Gwen brings them to the center of the room. They held hands facing one another. "Okay, since it has never even occurred to me to seek out Q at home so to speak. You should get us there and I can get us back."

Karen nods her head and then tried to begin to figure out how to pop in someplace she’s never seen before. Decides it is best not to think about it. With their eyes closed and hands clasped tight they feel the air change around them. Opening their eyes, they found themselves in a narrow hallway in front of a closed door.

It took only a hesitant breath from each of them to realize it was an occupied bathroom. They each made a face but smiled at the other in their jammies.

Q’s office looked in some ways like Karen’s. An overfull desk with piles of books but unlike her office, which looked over worked, this one looked over fed. Empty pop cans and take out boxes were everywhere and it smelled very stale. Seeing the computer they wasted no time. Gwen watched the door as Karen reviewed quickly the file that was active. Karen frowned seeing what he’d been working on ‘behind the scenes’. She skipped back to the third page of the long document and inserted the bit of text she’d already had panned out.

In so doing one William Quattlebaum, which his real world diplomas named him, would be able, to tinker to his hearts content in a universe separate from the one Karen and Gwen inhabited. They had to be sure that he would take no notice but also be able to do no serious harm. With a final decisive and dramatic keystroke Karen returned the file to its end.

A flushing sound and Gwen’s near panicked signaling told Karen it was time to leave. Footsteps down the hall sent Gwen back into the office. Gwen came around the desk so fast Karen barely had time to stand from the chair. She felt Gwen’s hand upon her arm and the coming disassociation of them leaving William Quattlebaum in peace.

Just before her eyes lost focus Karen saw William enter his office. He looked up from his hand held and screamed, "You!" in disbelief. His hand moved quickly over the small device and Karen lost his image.

The mild dizziness of transition over took Karen. As she felt herself settle into the new place she found the dizziness increase instead of decrease. She lost her balance falling into a chair behind her with such force that she flew back over the chair, her legs flying overhead. Her head met with the floor solidly and her world went dark momentarily.

Karen opened her eyes slowly due to the pounding in her head. She wondered where Gwen was as she was just behind her. She felt a breeze against and cracked her eyes open. She was in her own office. She gingerly raised her pounding head and saw that she was sitting in her office chair. Her head hit the bottom of the bookshelf when she tipped backwards. Her long legs had kicked her keyboard and monitor off the desk and they lay on the floor the pc dark.

Karen rose to look at her office. With the exception of being early morning outside it seemed just as she left it. Unsure of why she was back home Karen went to wash her face to clear her head.

As her hand had cupped the back of her head and came back covered in blood she stared at herself in the mirror. Checking her watch she saw that she’d been out all night. Her sad eyes stared back at her and a night that was too good to be true- was.

Karen could still feel Gwen and how she fit into her arms. Her dream woman was just that and it hurt too much to even cry. She shuffled back to her empty bedroom and cold bed and found that at least thanks to her pounding head sleep came easily. Knowing she should try and stay awake but not caring and feeling exhausted she slept dreamlessly.

Hours later Karen began to stir and her headache seemed more acute. The fuzziness was at least gone but the ache of the cruel dream was still with her. She lay and dozed not really willing to give up the small comfort of her blankets to rush into another lonely day.

The pounding of her head soon made her eyes open and reluctantly think about getting up for more aspirin. On her way to the bathroom Karen heard a pounding and realizes someone is at her front door. Through the keyhole she sees a tuft of blonde hair and her heart drops as the dream flashes again in her mind. Karen opens the door to find a smiling face she is more than familiar with.

"You’re not a dream." Karen’s hold on the doorframe whitened her knuckles as she attempted to stay upright. She carefully took in Gwen’s shining smile, her green eyes behind wire-framed glasses. She was dressed casually. Karen finally reached out and took her hand.

"I was so afraid I wouldn’t be able to find you." Gwen sank against Karen’s chest and held her tightly.

"I thought I’d gone crazy." Karen murmurs against Gwen’s hair.

"I was going crazy without you."

Karen pulls Gwen into the house and closes the door. They walk hand in hand into the living room where Karen sits and pulls Gwen onto her lap.

"I know we have so much to talk about but my head is killing me and I just need to hold you. Is that okay?" the amount they had to talk about was truly daunting and Karen had had too many things happen in her day.

They sat quietly on the couch enjoying the closeness. Gwen lightly ran her hand through Karen’s hair, being careful of the large bump on the back. Karen sighs deeply and Gwen can tell she is charging her batteries to talk. "Okay." Karen sits leaning back from Gwen to look at her better. "So we’re not crazy. We’re just a little different from most folks."

"Different but fun. I don’t know all the ins and outs." Gwen smiles shyly. "Seven and B'Elanna tried to explain it to me but the more complicated it got the more my eyes glazed over." Karen laughed easily at the picture of Gwen getting a lecture from those two. It felt good to have an honest laugh releasing the tension.

As their eyes met again the kissing started as well. Gwen soon stood from Karen’s lap and the two women moved easily into Karen’s bedroom and the intimacies they’d put off too long.

Gwen woke hours later alone in Karen’s bed. Hearing Karen moving about in her office she goes in to find her on her knees under the desk trying to plug the computer back in. She’d cleaned up the desk a little and had started putting everything in some sense of order.

Karen emerged to find Gwen smiling at her from the doorway. "Hey you. Did I wake you?"

"No, but you wandered off. So I was curious."

"I just seem to have a lot of energy all of the sudden." Karen gave Gwen a knowing look.

"I’m glad baby." Gwen nods towards to pc. "Did you get it fixed?"

"Yeah, didn’t really break it, just kicked the thing loose and unplugged it."

"So are you thinking about somewhere to go?" Gwen moved behind Karen in the chair and began rubbing her shoulders.

"Well, I figured we’d hang out here for a while and maybe do some real life work then next weekend, " Karen paused for dramatic effect. "How do you feel about Greece?"

Gwen giggled, "How did I know you’d go there."

"I don’t know, I think that outfit is going to work out real nice on you." Karen pulled Gwen into her lap and kissed her for the rest of their lives.

Any comments and praise is of course welcome. Thank you for your time.

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