Seven of Nine, walking with her usual precise stride, left the Astrometrics lab after completing an acceptably productive shift. She had charted an efficient path for Voyager through an unstable region of space, analyzed the composition of two nebulae in the vicinity, and measured the radiation from a nearby quasar.
Just as she entered the corridor, the Delaney sisters hurried toward her. Both of their faces sported uncommonly broad smiles. Seven found it difficult to interpret the significance of that expression.
“Seven! So glad we, uh, happened to bump into you!” Megan Delaney, much to Seven’s surprise, threw an arm around the former drone’s shoulders and squeezed with apparent affection.
“Yeah,” Jenny chimed in. “We’re just on our way to Holodeck Two. Tonight is ladies’ night at Sandrine’s, and it wouldn’t be the same without you, Seven.”
“It’s the perfect opportunity for you to improve your social skills,” Megan commented helpfully. “We’ve seen how busy you’ve been lately, practicing social interaction . . .”
“By flaunting those boobs in front of our boyfriends,” Jenny muttered.
“But we don’t mind that at all, oh no, of course not.” Megan, with a brief scowl in her sister’s direction, gave Seven’s shoulders another friendly squeeze before letting go. “So, come on down to ladies’ night and have some fun with just us girls!”
Seven, unsure of how she ought to react to the unexpected invitation, gave that prospect a moment’s thought before it occurred to her to ask, “Would some other form of attire be more appropriate?”
“No, certainly not!” Megan answered very quickly. “Just wear what you usually do. As you see, Jenny and I are still wearing our uniforms. There’s no need to change.”
A gathering at Sandrine’s certainly sounded to Seven like it might be a good opportunity to enhance her social skills. She followed her newfound friends to the holodeck, curiously observing the gleeful expressions on their faces.
Lively music and smiles from several female crewmembers greeted Seven as she walked into Sandrine’s. Perhaps this meant that the Doctor had been correct in suggesting that regular social interaction would soon lead to popularity? Seven smiled in response and sat down at a nearby table with the Delaneys.
A moment later, two holographic humans in fashionable civilian clothing, a slim brunette and her male companion, entered through a door at the back of the nightclub. They strode purposefully toward Seven and took up positions on either side of her.
“So this is Seven of Nine! Stand up, Seven,” the brunette urged.
Feeling quite confused, Seven rose from her chair.
“I’m Stacy, and this is Clinton. We’re from ‘What Not to Wear.’”
“You’ve been set up by your co-workers,” Clinton informed an even more bewildered Seven. “You see, Megan and Jenny, as well as B’Elanna and the other ladies here, all think your catsuit is a fashion catastrophe. And frankly, Seven, we have to agree that you’re in serious need of a makeover.”
“We’ve been secretly filming you for the past two weeks,” Stacy announced, “and after all that time, we’re still wondering if you ever change your clothes.”
“I refresh my bio-suit regularly . . .”
Stacy gave her a pitying look, while Clinton rolled his eyes.
“Seven, we’re going to take you shopping in New York for a new wardrobe.” Stacy smiled, as applause broke out around the room. “But there’s one catch — you’re going to have to give up that abominable, uh, garment. If it can be called that.”
Glancing around the room at her snickering co-workers, Seven defensively answered, “The Doctor has advised me that I need to wear the bio-suit for physiological support.”
“If you need support,” and Clinton’s gaze flickered over Seven’s ample bosom, “as you certainly do, there’s a simple solution for that. Get some properly fitting bras.”
“There’s only one word for a catsuit on a top-heavy woman — trashy,” Stacy declared. “I’m truly appalled that you’ve been going to work every day dressed like that.”
Clinton gestured toward three conservatively attired mannequins that had just materialized next to the bar. “We’re going to have to teach you the rules, Seven. It’ll be a challenge, but I believe that, with our help, you can learn to dress like a respectable professional woman.”
“Wearing skintight clothing isn’t the way to make yourself look attractive,” Stacy agreed. “Now, if you’ll just take a look at these mannequins, Seven, you’ll see how stylish you can be in a well-tailored jacket over a nice silk blouse . . .”
Two more holograms walked into the room. One of them, a bearded man brandishing scissors and razor, declared with great enthusiasm, “And after you get some decent clothes, Seven, it’ll be time to whip that hair of yours into shape!”
“We can’t forget the makeup, either,” chirped the other hologram, a perky female. “Do you realize how pale you look, sweetie? I’ll fix you right up with plenty of blush and mascara.”
Seven’s eyes darted back and forth wildly. By now, her expression and body language had started to resemble a deer surrounded by a pack of circling wolves. She opened her mouth as if to speak, but then closed it again and hastily made a beeline for the holodeck exit. Loud jeers followed her into the corridor.
B’Elanna smirked. “I always thought those ridiculous television shows of Tom’s might eventually turn out to be useful.”
Author’s note: Because bullying is a serious problem in the real world, I decided to add a moral to this story. Seven of Nine would not complain; but let us say that one of the younger crew members, having been overcome by remorse, confessed all. Captain Janeway lectured the perpetrators sternly, in her inimitable fashion, before sentencing all of them to spend many hours helping Neelix in the galley, where they peeled prickly alien spuds and meditated on their misdeeds until they learned the error of their ways.