Author's Disclaimer: All normal legal disclaimers apply. I own neither ST:Voyager nor CSI:Miami and do not seek to make profit from this. Disclaimer:
Authorís Notes: I was not on drugs or any mind-altering substance when I wrote this fic, regardless of what you might think.
Calleigh Duquesne had long ago made a deal with herself and the world at large never to swear to anything either before her first cup of coffee or before 8am. Yet here, at the lab at an ungodly 6am, with her first cup of coffee as yet untasted in her hands, she was about to swear that there was a blonde in a unitard playing with the exorbitantly expensive computer system Horatio had installed just this past year. She--the unknown woman--didn't merely manipulate the state-of-the-art full-touch interface; she made it sing. With long-fingered hands Calleigh's Daddy would have called "piano hands", she danced across the touchpad that took up the entire worktable before her. Calleigh could only make out a few of the windows as they zipped past. At least one of them was a 3-D schematic of the lab itself but it was gone again before she could see its purpose.
Now, Calleigh, herself, was well aware that the unknown woman could be an intruder and that she should probably pull the gun that was holstered to her hip. However, there was no way out of the tech lab except for the door she was now standing in and she had not yet had her first sip of the spicy Cuban coffee in her pristine white mug. There were just some absolutes Calleigh didn't mess with and the necessity of her morning coffee was one of the top five. She took a sip.
As if it were a magic elixir, the coffee cleared the CSI's head and she switched into observation mode with an almost audible click. She noted the metallic thread woven in the unitard's blue fabric, the no-nonsense chignon with every golden hair placed meticulously, the flash of metal on the skin of the woman's cheek. She also noted a few...irrelevant things.
Mama's got a cute little ass, she thought, one pale eyebrow rising in consideration of its perfection.
Just then--adhering to the laws of certainty which dictate one's lover will appear the exact moment she shouldn't--Natalia walked up beside Calleigh, her cafe au lait eyes round with shock.
"Who's that?" she whispered none-too-quietly, dark brows crowding low over her eyes. "And why are you staring at her ass?" She asked the last through clenched teeth and Calleigh snapped to attention, the unconscious smile on her lips disappearing instantly.
"What? I am not!"
Natalia narrowed her eyes. "Oh, yes you were, missy! Don't play blonde with me!"
The dancing hands slowed for a moment as if the woman was contemplating that last sentence. Then, just as abruptly, they regained their speed. Natalia saw the fingerprint database scrolling through its entries but it was soon lost amidst the storm of other windows swirling across the wall monitors. The brunette CSI forgot her jealousy for the moment and muttered, "Do you think she can hear us?"
"I can," said the woman matter-of-factly before Calleigh could answer. She didn't even turn around. "CSI Natalia Boa Vista, you just asked CSI Calleigh Duquesne if she knew my identity and the reason for her visual inspection of my gluteal musculature. CSI Calleigh Duquesne denied participation in that activity. You contradicted her--"
"Okay, okay!" Natalia held her hands up in defeat. "You can hear us. We get it."
"Who are you and what are you doing in our lab?" Calleigh had never been one for chasing grits around the plate.
"My full designation is Seven of Nine, Tertiary Adjunct to the Unimatrix 01, but you may call me Seven," answered the blonde, turning to face the CSIs. "Where did you acquire this technology?" she asked, indicating the computer system and its display center. Seven, too, had no use for frivolous conversation.
"The computer?" Natalia tore her eyes from the unusual metal adornments on Seven's face and looked to Calleigh for confirmation before she answered. "Horatio had it installed earlier this year." She cocked her head to the side and thought for a moment. "Didn't he?"
"Unlikely," interjected Seven. "This technology is too advanced for your temporal coordinates. Horatio Caine could not have acquired such items without assistance."
"What kind of assistance?" Calleigh was now fully into 'CSI mode'. The woman's claim that the technology is too advanced has made the hair on the back of her neck stand on end.
"There are several possibilities. The technology could have been provided by a member of an advanced species not of this star system. It could have been brought from the future in order to influence your planet's technological development. A member of your own species may have experienced precipitous evolution resulting in new technological advancements. An interstellar ship containing this technology might have crash landed on this planet some years ago, only to be discovered and plundered by a nefarious government entity. This Universe and all of you in it might be fictional, manipulated by some other entity--"
"No, wait." Calleigh held her hands up and Seven fell silent, reverting to her usual 'at ease' stance with her hands folded in the small of her back. Calleigh smiled slyly. "My Daddy always said 'If you hear trumpets, don't assume it's the Rapture.'"
Seven raised her ocular implant doubtfully. A long history with confusing idiomatic phrases kept her from even attempting to analyze the statement. "Meaning?"
"Meaning," said Natalia, eagerly joining the conversation, "we have to look for the easiest explanation. All that outer space gobbledygook is just not believable! Whatever the explanation is, it has to be plausible. Like... Like..."
"Like Homeland Security," said Calleigh, crossing her arms across her chest. "Maybe this is some new technology that they wanted to test out in a field situation and Horatio volunteered our lab. You know they've been snug as bugs in a rug after that terrorist attack last year."
"That's it, Calleigh!" Natalia turned back to Seven, her own eyebrow raising in challenge. "Would that explain it?"
"It is possible," replied Seven slowly. "I am not familiar with your Homeland Security organization. However, if you feel that the explanation has merit, I have no--"
The blonde was interrupted by the sudden appearance of a cylinder of blue shimmering sparkles that slowly resolved into the shape of a woman, stranger even than the unitard-wearing, metal-studded woman in front of them. This woman was shorter and more compact than the blonde and she was wearing what looked like pajamas in ochre and black. She had scars on her forehead from some sort of burn or injury and she was scowling.
"Seven," she hissed, keeping an eye on the two CSIs in the doorway. "What are you doing?"
"My sector scans of this area alerted me to the presence of advanced technology where there should be none. I am investigating."
"Well, the Cap--er--Kathryn is a little upset about that, darling," said the woman, too sweetly. "You left without saying goodbye."
"No buts, Seven. We have to go." The shorter woman tapped a brooch on her shirt and said, "Harry, get us out of here. Now!" The two women dissolved into a haze of blue shimmers and then were gone.
Calleigh and Natalia stared at the spot for a long moment.
"That. Never. Happened," said Calleigh pointedly.
"Way ahead of you," said Natalia, shaking her head as if to dislodge the image. She moved toward the computer.
Calleigh absently took a sip of her coffee and grimaced. "Ugh. It's cold."
"Well, you might want to get yourself a fresh cup, querida," said Natalia from the workstation's interface. "Something tells me you're going to need it."
"Why?" Calleigh, concerned, moved next to the taller CSI. "What did she do?"
The brunette shook her head again. "What didn't she do is more like it." Natalia's hands danced over the interface as she brought up window after window. "She's monitoring all the traffic cameras in the city and logging both traffic violations and license plate numbers, which--by the way--she's matching to APBs. She's cross-referencing the DNA database, the fingerprint database, and the MO database against our cold case files and has already found possible matches for 23 of them. She's plotted the rainfall in our county and in bordering counties and has predicted both flood and drought conditions for the next five years. She's monitoring police and fire radio communications and comparing the details to open cases. My God! She's even rerouted the power to the entire building, making it 19.4% more efficient, and she's discovered a water leak in the West-side women's bathroom--"
"Shut it down! Shut it down!" Calleigh abandoned her cold cup of coffee and began searching desperately for the power button.
"Why? Calleigh, what's the matter?"
"Do you want to be replaced by this computer system? They don't know it can do all this! Re-boot! Honey, quick!"
A few frantic seconds later, Natalia found the power button and pressed it, darkening the wall monitors instantaneously. The two women panted for a moment while Calleigh counted down from sixty. Then the blonde pressed the button again and sighed in relief when the start-up jingle sounded. She retrieved her mug and slid her arm through one of Natalia's.
"Can I interest you in a cup of coffee before we get started this morning, Miss Boa Vista?"
"Absolutely, Miss Duquesne." She chuckled as they left the tech lab. "'Fictional universe'," she repeated. "Can you believe that?"
"Natalia, we can't talk about something that never happened," warned Calleigh.
"Just like you never looked at her ass?"
"I have no idea what you are talking about, Miss Boa Vista," replied the blonde frostily.
"Uh-huh... I see your game, Miss Duquesne." She pulled the smaller woman to a stop and gave her a sweet, slow kiss. "Besides, your ass is cuter," she whispered saucily, darting quickly out of range before Calleigh's swat could connect.