Continued from page 2
Day Eight, Evening:
Janeway stared at the whiskey glass in
her hand as the Starship Voyager flew at cruising speed once more
towards the Alpha Quadrant. Briefly, she felt like throwing it again,
but ultimately what difference would it make. The woman she thought she
loved was gone, this time for good.
Seven wasn't coming back.
As the ache settled into her, she
wondered if it was love. How could she allow herself to fall for someone
who would so casually dismiss her and her crew? Leave just like that,
without even a goodbye. Doubt cascaded through her as she attempted to
deal with the magnitude of her loss.
Trying to remain factual, Kathryn had to admit
that it was wholly plausible that Seven could have outgrown Voyager.
Still, some things were just not that easily explainable. Seven's rude
tone towards her in Engineering the evening before she left, the
intensity of the looks she received in the Briefing Room, the anger that
seemed to brew under those marvelous bright blue eyes. There was such
tension in the air between them during their last meeting in the
Conference Room and then on the Bridge and as much as Kathryn didn't
want to believe it, Seven held some deep resentment towards her.
Still in love with the blonde, Janeway
tried to give herself excuses for Seven's aloof behavior, any logical
excuse to lessen the emptiness she felt. Was it my fault Seven left?
Why was Seven so angry with me? What have I done? It made
no sense and Janeway couldn't even make an educated guess.
Conceding in the end that she might never
know, Kathryn simply accepted the heart ache, knowing she would never
Regrettably, she had to resume their
journey, minus one irreplaceable crewmember.
With tears dropping like rain from her
eyes, Janeway silently stared out her forward window as her ship cruised
along at one-quarter impulse speed.
Day Eleven, Late Evening:
Chakotay chimed for admittance to the
Captain's quarters, waiting nervously for permission to enter. Moments
later, the door opened to reveal a pondering Janeway, sitting on her
sofa in the subdued lighting while staring at the star fields through
her port side windows.
"What can I do for you
He stopped a dozen feet before her.
"I wanted to apologize for my recent behavior." He knew he had
been impolite and sarcastic towards her since his breakup with Seven
when none of it was her fault.
"What behavior would that be?"
She asked naïvely.
"I haven't treated you fairly."
He paused. "And I felt a little resentful of your close
relationship with Seven."
"What relationship?" She
"The one you cultivated in her until
she left. I honestly thought she would stay because of the bond between
She turned to look at him, the shadow
from the starlight illuminating the right side of her face. "What
would make you think that?"
"You’re her mentor. She has relied on you
since you severed her from the collective. You taught her how to be
human. You… " he hesitated before revealing inside information.
"were important to her. She talked about you frequently." Almost
She shook her head. "Obviously not
that important considering the way she left."
"It was because of Axum, that’s
why she left.”
“Guess she remembers her past with him
quite well.” Janeway mumbled then turned to her maquis friend. “Were
you in love with her Chakotay?" She asked, her curiosity begging
for an answer.
The tattooed man reflected on the recent journey
with his spirit guide. "I think I was in infatuated by her
attention. I mean, the last thing I expected was to be asked out on a
date and she is a rather beautiful woman with a brilliant mind to match.”
Almost as beautiful as you.
He didn’t see the slightly upturned corners of
her lips as Janeway nodded her head in full agreement, Definitely
the most beautiful woman on the ship.
“But we didn't have that much in common
really and she’s too complex for me,” he paused, smiling. “I guess
I just don’t speak Borg."
Kathryn chuckled at his mirth. Thinking
reverently, her eyes misted. “Seven has it all; intelligence, beauty
and physical strength.” Sucking in a fresh gulp of air, Janeway
muttered under her breath. "What a combination."
There was a heavy dosage of sadness laced
throughout his friend's voice. "You're going to miss her." He
Janeway speculated that she had probably
said too much but she didn't have the strength to care anymore.
"Yes, very much."
Chakotay stared at his Captain's shadowed
face thinking about possibilities he hadn't before. "That's
understandable Kathryn, she's become like a daughter to you." He
Janeway laughed out right. "Uh, no I
don't think so."
"You don't consider her
family?" He asked surprised.
"You know I do," she asserted.
"A sister?" He smiled playing
with her, remembering the stories of Kathryn's irritating younger
"No!" She thought of Phoebe and
a small grin managed its way into her sullen features.
"I could live with that. What about
you Commander?" She redirected the topic. "Are you going to
"I'll miss her presence. You
couldn't help but be affected by her, but miss her romantically? No, we
never…” He choked for a second. “progressed that far."
Janeway cast big eyes on her first
officer, shocked that Seven did not instigate intimacy at the very
beginning of their relationship.
“There are always other women on the
ship,” Chakotay teased. “Don’t you agree?”
Not for me, Kathryn
admitted only to herself. “Yes, I suppose.” She capitulated.
“Maybe you should consider dating
Kathryn?” He inquired gently.
“Perhaps someday,” She acquiesced too
tired to care yet it seemed to bolster his mood considerably by the look
on his face. "Well," the Captain tried to stifle a yawn
gingerly stretching her arms and legs. "I should get some
"Of course, I'll see you tomorrow
"Good night Chakotay."
Day Fourteen, around Midnight:
A man with grey hair pressed heatedly
against the woman with the flaming red mane, his arms out stretched as
he moved rapidly inside his lover’s warm, slick folds. Plunging into
her moist abyss of pleasure, he gave her what she wanted despite the
effort causing his arms to wobble with fatigue. He struggled to keep his
body weight off her until they could reach fruition.
Passion overwhelmed the woman’s senses
as she continued to undulate into the rhythm that provided the delicious
sensations. As the tip of his penis touched deep within her pleasure
center, she could feel it building, growing exponentially, the release
just over the horizon, coming ever so closer.
Before long, they became lost in the
ecstasy, moving faster, harder, and fiercer, encompassing their
wantonness with white, hot desire. With her blood near boiling, pounding
in her veins, she erupted like a long suffering volcano.
“Oh God! Jaffen!!”
“Kathryn…. Please…” Seven’s
eyes shot open. “Noooo!!!” She exclaimed, but her lover didn’t
seem to hear, so distracted he was.
There was no response.
"Axum, please… stop." Seven
beseeched, feeling his hot body pressing down on her like concrete as he
thrusted his hard aching member into her tight channel.
Lost in everything that was Annika, Axum
tuned out all but what he was he was feeling. Her sex was a sweet, long
lost haven, dripping with moisture as he thrusted deep within,
fluttering and spasming around his hardened flesh, allowing him to feel
her essence engulf him. Having waited years for a true physical joining
with his beloved, he fully intended to enjoy every nano-second of it.
No! Seven shouted in
her mind. She pressed her hands against his chest and pushed to force
him off of her, but he did not move. Somehow her strength was
Then he leaned forward to kiss her.
"Annika?" Axum called out.
"NO!" Seven frantically fought
to remove the two hands that she felt on her shoulders.
"Annika!" Axum shook her.
Seven awoke with a scream that
reverberated throughout their small cubicle and down the hallway.
Looking aghast at Axum, she pulled away. "Please, don't… "
Standing up, she moved away from the bed until her back was pressed
against the wall. Looking like a cornered lioness, in all her nude
glory, Seven looked uncharacteristically petrified as she tried to
perceive reality from dreamscape.
At first, his suggestion seemed innocent
enough and with no other options, the blonde agreed to live with him in
his modest quarters. By default that meant they had to share the only
available bed until larger domiciles could be built on planet Eden. Axum
insisted that nothing would happen between them unless she wanted it to
and Seven estimated the close proximity would be beneficial to her
emotional growth, since she needed to get to know her former boy friend
all over again. She needed to become comfortable with the idea of
becoming intimate with him eventually, only Axum wasn’t making it
easy. Despite his words he had been pressuring her subtly to give in to
sex; the way he looked at her at night before they went to bed, the way
he would caress her arm and talk sweetly to her. It was evident in his
body language and although he said nothing to the contrary, Seven could
sense his growing impatience.
"Annika?" He asked concerned.
"I… cannot." Unfortunately,
having only been living with him for a week, the young woman wasn’t
ready to be intimate with him and she didn’t know how long it would
take, only that it would not be a quick process because, she was still
pining over the loss of Janeway, no matter how much she didn’t want to
“Can’t what?” He asked before
considering it further. “You were asleep Annika, did you have another
Seven had no idea that attempting to
sleep would incur such vivid dreams; all of which were variations of the
same theme – copulation; all with individuals she did not want to
copulate with or worse, having to witness her Captain copulating with him.
Trying to remain calm, the blonde came to believe the manifestation of
the horrible nightmares were simply ‘withdrawal’ symptoms.
"It seemed so real." She choked
"What seemed so real?" He asked
"Nothing," Seven remarked
distraught, grabbing her biosuit off the floor. Although, nudity did not
bother Seven, displaying herself to him seemed inappropriate.
"Annika I know something is
bothering you.” Her behavior the last week hadn't been optimal and the
lack of a satisfactory explanation was starting to irritate him. “You've
been like a brick wall every time I’m evenly remotely intimate towards
you. I know I promised to go slow, but this is ridiculous." He
leaned on his elbow, glaring at her. "Will you talk to me?!"
"I am not ready." Seven
"Yes I know, you keep telling me
"What else do you want me to
say?" She hastily pulled up her biosuit.
"How about the truth?"
"You do not want to hear that!"
Seven declared forcefully. It was unfair to him, but the intensity of
the feelings she once had in Unimatrix Zero for him had not come back,
not like she expected they would. The memories did, but not the
"If you don't want to be with me,
just say so." Axum's throat tightened as he said it.
Seven finished dressing and regarded him
hesitantly. "I do not want to damage you…" Her voice was low
"You're still in love with him, aren’t
you?" He couldn't help but sound bitter.
"Him?!" Seven replied
"Chakotay! Who else?!"
Seven scowled at him. "I am NOT in
love with Commander Chakotay!"
Her face became bereaved. "It does
not matter. She has found her mate."
"She!?" Axum racked his brain
for a possible female that Seven could be so infatuated with and
although he didn’t know the Voyager crew very well, one possibility
came to mind. "Janeway?" He questioned in disbelief.
Seven did not answer directly, but he saw
something tangible in the blue orbs that blazed with the truth.
"I can't believe this!" He
threw off his sheets and started to get dressed. "You are in love
with Janeway?! Your Captain?!"
Seven took in a precarious breath.
Fastening his pants, he lashed out.
"You do know she's in love with that alien right!?"
Furious at her inability to be everything
her Captain needed, Seven glared at him. "I do not need YOU to
remind me of that!"
"Why did you come with me
then?" He threw a shirt on and buttoned it.
"I needed to get away from
Voyager," She looked away.
“Why?! Because she can’t reciprocate?
Is that why you refused to see her? Is that why you’re running
away?!" Axum felt disgusted. “So what am I, a handy diversion
that happened to come along?!”
Seven's features held guilt, fear and
loss all rolled into one. Her eyes glistened in the realization that
there was a high price to pay for being in love with someone who did not
reciprocate and that held true for everyone involved.
“Do you even love me!!”
“No,” she murmured in a quiet voice.
"I… I can't believe this!"
Seven shuddered as he stormed out of the
Unforeseen by both, a figure down the
corridor disappeared out of view and into the shadows of an alcove as he
My greatest fear has come
Now that you are gone
But your presence still
Your face haunts my
And I’m bound by the
memory of you
Janeway stared at the holodeck controls.
What program should I run? She
scratched her chin, befuddled that she could not make a decision.
Why am I even here? She
asked herself disgusted, but she knew why. It had been over a week since
Voyager's Astrometrics officer left the ship and Janeway was still in
disbelief. She still had not recovered.
There were so many things she would miss.
She wouldn't be able to watch the young woman grow up to finally accept
her humanity… and there was no doubt in Kathryn's mind that Seven
would eventually become comfortable with herself and her Borg past.
Would Seven marry Axum? Have children?
It truly bothered the older woman that she wouldn't be a part of Seven's
life in any capacity. She was just gone making Kathryn feel even more
alone than before. Jaffen had left as well, so she had no one to turn to
for solace, no one to talk to about what she was feeling. No one onboard
Voyager knew how much Seven's loss decimated her. Worse, it was starting
to affect her work and Kathryn was not sleeping or eating well.
Briefly, Janeway thought of visiting her
holo-family, but she knew she was fooling herself. Nothing she did
mattered. There was no comfort for the individual hopelessly in love
with a memory. Janeway had hoped that Seven's physical absence would
help her cope with her emotions, not intensify them. Now they were
haunting her instead.
Damn it! This is getting me nowhere.
She needed to forget, to drown herself in
distraction, not remember.
Becoming impatient, Janeway scrolled back
up the list of holo-programs and picked the first program that looked
familiar. The choice ended up being Fair Haven; a program that used to
have an open door policy until the lack of resources demanded otherwise.
Janeway managed a small grin and went
inside. She quickly went through the town, looking out of place in her
Starfleet uniform, and although the Irish residents recognized her as
Captain Janeway, they welcomed her with open arms.
Entering Sandrine's, she spotted Michael
behind the counter serving a drink to a patron. She went to join him and
he smiled brightly when he saw her.
"Katie!" He exclaimed moving
out from behind the counter and embracing her fervently, he hugged with
There was only one other man Janeway had
slept with besides Jaffen since Voyager left dry dock and that was
Michael Sullivan. Technically, he was only a hologram but he was a fully
functional hologram. When she gave into the brief relationship, it was
simply a means to an end. Kathryn conceded that was truly when she
started thinking about Seven in a different light. It was a decent
distraction a year and half-ago while she was in denial and needed to
break herself from it, since she had vehemently refused to accept her
attraction to the blonde. Michael Sullivan was supposed to liberate her
from those developing feelings, but it didn't quite work out that way.
And in her current desperation, she even tried the
same tactic with a live specimen, Jaffen, but that didn't work either.
Apparently she was getting quite adept at utilizing sex as a
distraction. Too bad it doesn't work, she thought ruefully.
When he pulled back, Janeway looked at
him and studied his features. He wasn't a handsome man, but his finely
chiseled face and rouged Irish looks made him distinguished and
attractive. Yet as she gazed upon his face it wasn't him she craved,
wasn't him she wanted or needed. It wasn't his face she saw in her mind
and it made her pause.
"Is something wrong Katie?"
Michael asked seeing the sadness in her eyes.
"No, you've done nothing wrong…
" She stroked his stubbled cheek. "you've been a perfect
gentlemen and a good friend when I needed one."
"I haven't seen you for awhile.
Where have ya been?" He asked genuinely concerned.
"I've been busy."
"Running the ship, I take it?"
"Something like that."
"I've missed you. I know it's been
only five days, but… "
Janeway smiled. It had been a lot longer
than five days, but with the program shut down, he wouldn’t know the
difference. It had been well over a year.
"I'm sorry, it couldn’t be
"Well yur here now." He took
her hand. "What do you say after the bar closes we get together.
Just like old times."
There was a glint in his eyes that
suggested he wanted more.
"Computer, halt program." She
commanded. Everything and everyone froze.
What am I doing?! She
chastised herself. Do I really want to go down this path again? Restless
and irritable, she stared at him and the other occupants in deep
Then an idea came to her. Maybe
that will bring me closure?
Janeway carefully proceeded to program a
new hologram, instructing it to add special visual parameters to a new
holographic template. Spending hours making personality adjustments,
Kathryn didn't think of the repercussions of such an act or the
foolishness of it, her only thought was of her immediate pain and how to
relieve it. Once finished, Janeway gazed with intent upon the visually
"Computer, enable the hologram's
Staring at a perfect replica of the woman
she loved, Janeway marveled at her handiwork. As she circled the blonde
hologram, its crystal blue eyes calmly followed her.
"Do you know who I am?" Kathryn
"You are Captain Kathryn Janeway."
"That's correct. Who are you?"
"I am Annika Hansen." She
stated; music to Janeway’s ears.
Kathryn always had wondered what Seven
would be like if she had never been assimilated and although no
simulation could ever be entirely accurate compared to the real thing,
she estimated what an adult Annika would be like devoid of implants then
let the computer set the minor variables.
To her longing eyes, this was Seven. The
Captain continued to circle the photonic energy that resembled her
former crewman. "I wish I had the courage to tell you how I felt
before you left." She spoke softly.
“What do you wish to tell me?” Annika
questioned, with no change in her features. Yet Janeway didn't care, she
just wanted to stare… and dream.
“So many things,” she whispered.
Kathryn wanted to run her fingers through
the long, soft golden hair. Just as Seven's lips were plump and full,
she longed to kiss them. And then there was the body. The breasts that
she wanted to feel under her fingertips and the tip of her tongue. The
junction at the apex of the legs, she wanted to explore.
Janeway shook her head. This
is insane. It's just a hologram and yet because it resembles Seven, I
want to have sex with it. Correction… I want to make love to it, like
I couldn't love the real thing.
Janeway snickered sarcastically to
herself, for she was falling hard for the beautiful Seven of Nine
hologram. Closing her eyes for a moment, she fought to regain control of
her rising emotions. Tears wanted to come, but she refused to let them
through because if she started, she might not be able to stop.
The hologram tilted its head quizzically
then just as Janeway opened her eyes, it reached out a hand to the
"You seem… sad."
Realizing the holo-Seven was going to
touch her, Kathryn jumped back fearful. If she let contact start, she
might not be able to stop herself. Holograms felt very real even if the
programmed personalities weren't accurate… even if it wasn’t
"I shouldn't," she resisted.
“Be here, with you.”
"You're not real, that’s why. I’m
deluding myself. You’re only a hologram."
Surprisingly the blonde agreed. “I am
energy converted to matter and made in her image, yet I am a fully
functional Seven of Nine. I can speak, hear, debate and even engage in
"No,” Kathryn put her hand up. “I
did not create you for sex. I just came here to--" She trailed off,
finding it difficult to form the words.
"Yes?" The hologram encouraged
her to speak.
"I never got to say…" She
cleared her throat.
"Please continue," The hologram
“I never said to your face, how much I
love you." Janeway choked on the words.
“Indeed,” the blonde replied in an
emotionally devoid tone, not understanding how hard it was for Janeway
to admit it out loud. The personality was rather rigid, but Janeway had
no time to polish it up and now she wasn't sure if she wanted to.
"Goodbye Annika," Janeway
stammered, barely withholding the anguish of her loss inside. Not being
able to take anymore, she encrypted the program and quickly sped out of
Laura and a half dozen former Borg drones
were sitting in the lunchroom when Axum stormed in.
He came to halt at the doorway, scanned
the room and moved to an empty table all the while, sporting a deeply
etched frown on his face that not only spoke of an internal anger but a
deeper pain as well. She watched him sit down at a table and sigh
deeply. He was obviously disturbed.
Laura decided to go see if she could
console him. "Axum?" She called out before seating herself
across from him. "You all right?"
He stared at his hands intertwined not
"It is her?"
His eyes drifted up to her.
"Yes," he said quietly.
"What did she say to you?"
His nose flared and his eyes cast
listlessly about the room. "Nothing I wanted to hear," he
"She is still in love with Commander
Chakotay, I take it?"
He shrugged, his shoulders drooped.
"No, it's not him." He said distastefully.
"Does it matter?"
"Ultimately," Laura's voice
became firmer. "No. It would never have worked and you know
His eyes met her, wondering is she meant that
"You know what we have to do,"
she clarified, deciding this was a good time to press him, since he was
angry with his beloved Annika.
"NO!" He stared at her morbidly
as fear cascaded through his very being. "I refuse!"
"You have no choice." Laura
tried to tell him.
"There is always another choice!
Don't you see? This planet has a natural cloaking field that prevents
the detection of life signs."
"Yes, but that is only good from
orbit. If anyone lands here, they'll detect us. Besides, the Grefahl own
this planet or do you expect us to defeat them too?"
"If we have to!"
"You're letting your emotions
dictate over rationality. Let her go."
He clenched his hands into fists. "I
can't." He closed his eyes.
"You said it yourself," Laura
pointed out. "She's not in love with you."
Briskly standing up, he glared at her
defiantly. "But I'm in love with her! Can't you see that!"
A few of the other inhabitants looked up
towards the voice that disturbed their quiet meals.
"Yes, I can, now please lower your
voice." She motioned him to sit back down.
"She hasn't asked to go back to
Voyager so I still have a chance. It just might take longer than I
Laura bit her tongue to withhold the
statement she was going to make. It was obvious he wouldn’t listen to
anything to the contrary about his beloved Annika. "Very
well." she acquiesced. Truthfully, she had planned to talk with the
others anyways. The council needed to be addressed and she would
convince them to act on his behalf since Axum was blinded by love. A
love that wasn't even reciprocated and could cost them all their lives.
Day Fifteen, Morning:
"We need to tell her." B'Elanna
whispered to her husband from across the table.
Tom was right in the middle of swallowing
his morning orange juice when he started choking as half of it went down
the wrong pipe.
Harry was attempting to eat what looked
like Leola root stew when he looked up to his half-Klingon shipmate and
his choking friend. "Tell who?"
Torres gave Harry an exasperated
Harry blanched at his two friends.
"I thought you told the Captain what happened!?" He looked
between the two of them. "What's the matter with you two?!"
"Harry calm down," B'Elanna
suggested as heads started to turn in their direction at his raised
"Calm down!" He tried to lower
his tone. "Do you have any idea what she's going to do when she
does find out?"
The pilot cleared his throat. "She
might never find out now that Seven's gone."
"And what if that incident was the
reason Seven left?" Torres asked her husband. "We're the only
one's who know Seven has feelings for the Captain."
"You never told me that!" Harry
"Keep your voice down," Tom
warned him before turning to his wife, irritated. "It was an
"I can't do this Tom." B'Elanna
declared, the guilt clearly written on her face. "You can't ask me
to live with this."
His perplexed gaze landed on his wife,
but he knew it was wrong to ask her to cover this up.
"Come what may, I have to come
clean," she added.
The young pilot didn't want to face
Janeway, didn't want to see the disappointment in her eyes, that stern
Janeway Look or the severity of the punishment that would surely follow…
but he knew he had to. Tom was a changed man. No longer did he run away
from his problems. He had responsibilities; which included a wife and a
Tom put his fork down. "No, I'll
tell her. You're not involved. It was my idea and I didn't tell you
exactly what I was planning. You were just trying to help her." He
didn't want his wife suffering for his stupidity.
Reaching across the tabletop, Torres put
her hand over his. "No, we'll go together." she smirked.
"Ok, but we can't tell her the whole
thing. Not that."
"She won't understand. She won't
believe it was a holodeck malfunction. She'll think I did it
intentionally! She will resent us B'Elanna and I'll get demoted…
"I've deleted the program. There's
no way she can find out unless Seven comes back. So…" He took in
a deep breath. "shouldn't we save her some embarrassment as well as
Torres shook her head disgusted.
“I didn’t really witness them… you know…
doing it.” Tom elaborated in desperation. I
just saw the code.
Torres didn’t see the actual results of
the program either, so her husband had a valid point.
"Alright," she capitulated. "We'll leave that part out…
but if she ever finds out…"
"I know, I know, but she
"Uh… " Harry squirmed in his
seat. "I don't have to… you don't expect me to--"
"You don't have to come with us
Harry. You're not involved in this." Torres relieved him watching
the tension drain from his face. "But thanks for helping us clean
"Sure, no problem."
"We'll go this evening… after
dinner." Tom chuckled. "It might be the last decent food I get
to enjoy for awhile."
B'Elanna sighed. 19:00 was a long way off
and her nerves would be on edge until this was over.
The meeting in session was closed off to
all except those individuals who were on the council. Soon after the
Borg civil war, a committee of twelve individuals was appointed by a
majority vote to make the critical decisions involving their livelihood.
Technically, there should have been 12 council
members present today, but only 11 were. The 12th
council member refused to agree with the others on this particular topic
and was therefore purposely not told that a meeting was taking place.
There wasn't consensus between the
majority of the former Borg drones present as Korok refused to agree,
but as they concluded their discussion, they had 10 of the 11 present in
agreement and that was more than enough.
Laura nodded to a Klingon; Croix and a
Nausicaan; D'ruk. Both bowed their heads in acknowledgement and left the
D'ruk and Croix found Axum reclining
lazily in his quarters doing nothing of importance. He had been staring
at the ceiling thinking of Seven when they came in, interrupting his
"Join us in the lunchroom, the
Council is having a meeting." The Klingon told him.
"Yes," the Nausicaan replied
sternly in his species gruff voice.
"How many meetings about the same
topic are we going to have?" Axum complained. Upon receiving no
answer, he got up and stood before them. "Very well," he
stated and started down the hallway ahead of them. "but I’m not
changing my vote."
Both of his escorts glanced quickly at
each other but said nothing. They knew a consensus had already been made…
While they were on their way back, Laura
addressed the councils concerns. "I know this decision weighs
heavily on our conscious, but it is for the best--"
"Best for us you mean." One
voice stated irritably.
"Yes, but not for the young woman
we've doomed to hell." Another voice spoke acidly.
"We had no choice. It's us or
"There are always alternatives. We
should fight!" Korok repeated his viewpoint again.
"We have no means by which to start
a war with--"
"Quiet!" Laura shouted above
the chatter. "The decision has been made and I will take
full responsibility. I will take care of Seven of Nine." Laura told
them, "…however, we have to be prepared to restrain Axum. He
won't let her go without a fight."
Axum stood in the doorway, the color of
his face changing from a normal fleshy peach to a deep crimson hue, both
from betrayal and anger.
"So that's how it is," he
stated coldly. "making decisions without me?"
Laura sighed. "You leave us no
choice. There are no options here. You know that but you won't accept
He moved in towards her taking careful,
"There are always options, but you
don't want to see any! You've always resented Annika ever since we first
met up with Voyager and I want to know why?!"
Her eyes narrowed. "You're wrong! I
have no personal feelings against her!"
Defiantly, he stood before her. "I
don’t believe you!"
Laura took offense. "We're going to
do this with or without your help."
"I will stop you," he
Laura shook her head. "No, you
won't," she nodded to the Klingon.
Croix immediately reached to restrain
Axum, but in his rage he was mentally prepared to resist. Stepping aside
he grabbed and twisted the wrist of the Klingon forcing the warrior to
his knees. When the Nausicaan charged, he let go of the Klingon shoving
the body into the Nausicaan’s legs sending him crashing to the floor
along with the Klingon.
"Axum!" Laura yelled. "Don’t
be a fool. You'll kill us all."
"That's better than becoming one of
you!" He shouted back, but the distraction was all the other male
council members needed to subdue him. Five bodies jumped on top of him
crashing them all to the hard metal floor.
"We're ensuring our survival."
One member called out.
"This is wrong!" Axum
"Morality will do us little good if
we are dead!" Another member shouted.
Axum continued to struggle but his
efforts were in vain. He was vastly outnumbered and couldn’t fight
them all on his own. He howled in protest as they dragged him to his
Laura spoke confidently. “You will no
longer interfere with what must be done.”
Teeth clenched, Axum trembled with barely
contained pent up fury.
“Take him to his quarters and make sure
he can’t leave.” She ordered Croix.
Laura found Seven of Nine in section
214S, an area designed as a rudimentary science station. The young woman
was lost in concentration, reviewing the readout before her on the wall
display as Laura approached.
“Hello Seven,” Laura greeted lightly.
"May I ask what are you doing?" She asked curiously.
"I am researching what type of
anomalies could prevent a stable warp core bubble at speeds of greater
than warp six."
“Ah, the Warp Six dilemma.” Laura
knew what caused it and momentarily wondered how long it would take
Seven to figure it all out.
“Yes, it is most puzzling, but I
believe I may have theory.”
“I believe it has to do with
Apparently, it won’t take her long at
"Exactly what did you find?"
Staying a meter behind the blonde, Laura read Seven’s display.
The blonde’s eyes lit up with pride at
her discovery. She had been working with Lt. Torres on the problem for
weeks with no leads until now. "I am not entirely certain, but
there is a reoccurring frequency that I have been detecting throughout
subspace that does not belong there.”
Laura played ignorant. “Aren’t there
all kinds of frequencies floating through space all the time? How do you
what belongs and what doesn’t?”
“There are many, but not this kind.”
Seven remarked confidently. “This frequency is quite unique in that it
hides behind normal spatial background radiation and… ” Seven
glanced at Laura with a slight rise of her implant as if impressed.
“…it is even coded.”
Seven nodded. “I have been trying to
decipher it, but it has dozens of layers of encryptions.” The
challenge to succeed was evident in her tone.
“So you believe this was intentionally
designed by someone.”
“It is not a natural occurrence.”
Laura shrugged. “Whoever designed it
“Highly intelligent perhaps,” Seven
tapped some keys on her console. “but I question their morality.”
“I wonder who created it?” Laura
remarked with a flash of knowledge in her eye.
“I do not know, but I intend to find
Laura glared at Seven from behind, trying
to build up the courage to do what she had to.
The former drone swiveled her head around
to peer at the human. “You can assist me if you wish,” she offered.
“It would go faster with your help.”
Laura looked away, a small amount of
guilt swelling in her. “No, I don’t think so. I have no aptitude for
“As you wish,” Seven answered
casually, not bothered by the verbal refusal or the lack of expertise.
Laura lifted her head and pierced Seven
with a determined gaze. Whipping out a small energy weapon she had
hidden in a side pocket, she pointed it at Seven’s backside.
"I'm sorry Seven. I really am."
Her tone was surprisingly soft.
“Why are you apologizing?” Seven
started to question when the answer became abundantly clear after she
turned her head to witness the weapon pointed in her direction.
"What are you doing?" Disbelief clouded her eyes.
"It's nothing personal. I have no
grudge against you." She told the blonde.
“Then what purpose does this serve?”
Seven stalled for time, but without external assistance, fighting back
was futile. She was in a wide open area with no weapon in sight.
Laura exhaled. “Your sacrifice will
guarantee our survival."
“My…” Dread entered her heart as
she realized the fate Laura intended for her. “…sacrifice?!” Seven
felt panic swell up inside her. “Will you at least tell me why?!”
Laura thought about it then shook her
head. “No, it’s better this way. Trust me.” She fired striking
Seven in the upper chest, knocking her back into the terminal she had
been working on.
Crying out in pain, Seven’s vision swam
before her as she sunk to the floor. Her body filled with sharp tingles
of electricity that scorched her skin. The pressure in her skull was
enormous and breathing became a chore, yet she fought to remain
conscious before the flash of another shot sent Seven into total
Laura dropped the hand phaser to her
“It is done.” She spoke to the
unconscious woman lying before her as if the words could lessen the
Day Fifteen, Evening:
The Captain stood before her sandy haired
pilot, her face resembling a scowled form of the Look at its highest
intensity he had ever seen. He felt like melting into the bulkheads. If
only he could disappear at this moment and hide somewhere...
B'Elanna stood next to him, rigidly
wondering how long her husband would be in the brig this time or if she
would be joining him.
"So let me get this straight,"
Janeway spoke, like ice dripping off her voice it was so cool.
"You attempted to program a holodeck
simulation to help Seven of Nine learn how to… feel?"
"That's correct." Tom voiced
"Did she make this request to
Tom glanced to his wife.
"Um, she asked me Captain."
B'Elanna clarified. "And I asked Tom for assistance."
"And how exactly did I get
involved?" She asked Tom pointedly.
"We… uh… well, I… knew she
trusted you. It was supposed to be a harmless knowledge-gathering lesson
for her Captain. Nothing more."
"Did we or did we not kiss Mr.
Paris?" She inquired harshly.
"I'm afraid so." Tom stated
"Then I would hardly call that
harmless." She growled, moving back around her desk. "And this
all happened because… a malfunction occurred in the hologrid?"
"I'm not in the mood for guessing
games." She tapped her fingers on her desk trying to reign in her
steadily increasing temper.
Tom swallowed and began. "Our goal
was to let Seven harmlessly assess how she felt… about emotions…
feelings. So I made a program based on the template of another program I
had made a few years ago. I didn't have time to program a character from
scratch so I converted the character template over and simply changed
her personality to match… yours."
"Unfortunately," B'Elanna spoke
up to cover his blunder. "A small electrical storm we passed
through left deck 6 without power for over an hour. This caused a power
surge in the holodeck, which damaged the lead hologram. It caused the
character personality to reset to its original programming… which
caused the discrepancy in the hologram's behavior."
"Discrepancy?" Janeway repeated
annoyed. "Is that what you call it when a holographic version of
myself kisses Seven of Nine?!"
Tom lowered his gaze to the floor.
Janeway's jaw tightened. "Was Seven
aware I was holographic?"
"No ma'am." Tom divulged.
Janeway was beyond angry, but
acknowledged that it was not entirely his fault.
"And how did she react?"
"I don't know. I never had a chance
to talk to her before she left." He answered.
Tom and B'Elanna both agreed not to admit
to the Captain that Seven had been hot for her prior to the experience
and they also didn’t divulge the entire truth... that it was highly
likely that Seven had intimate relations with the hologram.
And just in case Janeway went fishing,
they deleted every trace of the program they could find. It was
"B'Elanna wasn't aware of what I did
Captain." Tom tried to spare his wife from the inevitable
punishment he deserved.
Janeway folded her arms across her chest.
"Did Seven didn't talk to either of you after this incident?"
Tom eyed B'Elanna imploringly.
"She spoke to me briefly, but she
didn't say much. All I can say is that she seemed unsettled by what
Already knowing that from the debriefing
with Tuvok, Janeway turned hard bristling eyes on them. "What
surprises me is that two of my senior officer's would intentionally keep
information from me that could have been pertinent to retrieving a
member of my crew!"
They wisely kept quiet, until after many
agonizing seconds of silence Janeway continued, her voice cold. "I
really don’t know what to say." She glanced between the two
"I'm so sorry Captain." Tom
"We were just trying to help."
Janeway took in a deep breath. "Unfortunately
you made things worse." And most
likely destroyed my most valuable friendship. It's bad enough I'll never
get to love her the way I want to… and now I'll never even be a part
of her life… not even as a friend.
"Captain?" B'Elanna questioned,
glimpsing the raw emotion that briefly pass over the Captain's face
before the command persona slammed backed into place.
She mumbled out loud her train of
thought. "I couldn't figure out why she was so cold towards me when
we talked in the Conference Room… but I certainly could tell she was
angry… and it was directed towards me." Her eyes landed on them,
full of blame.
She put her hand up to forestall any more
words. "Apologies won't bring her back."
Both Tom and B'Elanna hung their heads.
"Dismissed." She stated acidly.
Seven awoke, feeling groggy and
disoriented with her head pounding ferociously in her skull. Bringing
her left meshed hand to her forehead, she stumbled off an incline, what
sounded like familiar metallic plating. Groaning in discomfort, she
tried to open her eyes, but a cascade of blurry green imagery was all
that came to her. Therefore, she concluded she must be dreaming.
"Welcome home Seven
of Nine, tertiary adjunct to Unimatrix Zero One."
The chilling words reverberated through
her ears, burning a path of recognition to her cortical node. The
identity of the voice was in her memory. It belonged to…
No, that couldn't be! She was probably
regenerating in an alcove on Axum's ship and simply succumbed to another
one of those damn nightmares.
"I know you can hear me Seven
of Nine." The voice called out again.
Seven tried to ignore the voice calling
to her, but as she reached out, stumbling forward, she found only cold,
hard metallic constructs. This was a nightmare of epic proportions.
"I know you are
awake. Your cycle has ended."
Seven's heart rate doubled to match the
pounding of her head. Blinking profusely, she rubbed her eyes to clear
them. Once she opened them it would end her cycle and the nightmare.
"Come, it is time
you fulfilled your destiny."
NO! Fear etched its
way into the blonde's soul. Seven's eyes snapped open and fell on the
object of her terror. Her heart fell in her chest. Was this reality?!
Because even if it was, she refused it.
"You are not real."
"Oh, I am very real,
"No…" She eked out, with
little strength as the truth sank in.
"Relax, my child,
you will not be harmed unless you refuse to cooperate."
"Not again," Seven mumbled
"There is no need
for concern, I won't let you go again."
The so-called apparition touched her. A
black metal covered hand slithered over her shoulder. The icy cold touch
made her stomach convulse.
"NO!" Seven yelled, pulling
away. "Where am I?! How did I get here?!"
"You are onboard my
vessel. The rest is irrelevant."
Looking around for the first time with
clearer eyes, the blonde noticed the layout of the room she was in. This
was fully functional Borg equipment. This particular room resembled the
Queen's chambers and she haphazardly scanned the area hoping Axum was
not present, that somehow the others had escaped.
"Where is Axum?!" Seven
The Queen delicately brushed her left implant hand
down Seven's soft cheek.
"We only retrieved you, my dear. I kept my word this time. We did
not assimilate them, although I was sorely tempted… I now have what I
Seven felt heart-stopping fear. "I
do not understand."
"I know, but be
patient. All that matters now is that you are home again--"
"This is NOT my home!" Seven
The queen rose a slime-covered eyebrow. "So
what is your home then? A Borg sphere full of liberated directionless
ex-drones trying to find a planet to colonize? Or perhaps the Federation
Starship Voyager, which is heading towards the Alpha Quadrant… without
Dropping her jaw in disbelief, Seven
gravely realized the extent of her flawed decision by going with people
she did not know as well as her Voyager crewmates. By casting aside her
friends from the Intrepid class vessel and aligning herself with this
new collective, there would be no rescue this time from Captain Janeway.
No second chance.
Life as she knew it was over.
Despondency reached in and grabbed her
soul. All she had acquired for nothing; the difficult transition to
regain even a small part of her dwindled humanity, all moot. Any love
she thought she felt, irrelevant.
She had left because of anger and
jealousy not because she outgrew Voyager. She had loved Axum, years ago,
in a sense, but it was not the overwhelming love Janeway spoke of; and
not even close to what she thought she felt for her Captain.
The Queen noted Seven's demure features. "You
were right to leave Voyager. They could never offer you perfection like
I can. They are weak minded individuals that will never accept you for
what you are.
Seven's head shot up to gaze harshly upon
her former queen. "How did you find me?"
"I made an agreement
with the former drones of Unimatrix zero."
Rattled by that revelation, Seven could only shake
her head in shock. Axum? Betrayed me?! Then it came back to
Seven, in a rush of unpleasant imagery, being shot by Laura. Was
he in league with her?! Did he plan this all along?
"I could have
assimilated them, but I gave them their freedom all in exchange… for
This new information threatened to crush
the precarious order that Seven had tried to maintain in her current
fragile emotional state.
"Then I am truly alone."
"Oh no, my child."
The Queen tried to soothe Seven's turbulent emotions. "You
will never be alone again."
Day Fifteen, Late Evening:
"I'm leaving you in charge of
Voyager." Captain Kathryn Janeway came to a heartfelt decision in
light of the new information presented to her by Tom and B'Elanna.
"Kathryn?" The words came as a
shock to the tattooed man standing before his friend and Captain.
"I have full confidence that you'll
succeed in getting this crew home and if I… don't come back," she
paused speculating, "I know you'll make a fine Captain." She
added truthfully with a hint of regret.
"Where exactly are you going?!”
"I have to find her." Janeway
knew this would be difficult as soon as she asked him to the Ready Room
and it didn’t take long for him to realize who exactly she was
"Seven?!" Chakotay was shaken
at Janeway's blind loyalty to this one individual. What did Seven have
over his Captain that would make her abandon her crew!? "She's made
her choice. She doesn't want to come back with us."
"I have to try."
"It won't work." He replied
perplexed and exasperated by her decision.
"You don't know that." Janeway
retorted anger creeping into her tone.
"Why Kathryn?" He asked.
"Why is she so important to you?"
Janeway stiffened not sure if this
declaration was a good idea, but she was rapidly losing the ability to
hide her emotions anyways.
"You're not going to like my
"Since when did that ever stop
you?" He stated dryly.
"This is different," she
remarked in a quieter tone. "And I… can't afford to lose your
support… your friendship… even if I am deciding to leave
"It is that bad?"
"That depends on you."
Now he was totally confused and rapidly
losing patience. "Just tell me Kathryn."
"I can't explain how it happened…
" The Captain reflected. "but it did… over time. It was
maybe a year, before I realized it, but even in the beginning I found
myself inexplicitly drawn to her." She lowered her head, folding
her hands together before continuing. "I casually denied it at
first, but it grew against my wishes to become what it is today and I
cannot deny it any longer." She lifted her head and stated in a low
steady voice. "I have feelings for her--."
"You're in love with her?!"
Chakotay's eyes were wide with the revelation.
"Yes," The word came out low,
barely audible, but to the point.
Chakotay took a few moments to
contemplate his Captain's words, but with her recent behavior, he
thought it made perfect sense. The situation was awkward, because
Chakotay was beginning to believe that he had a chance with Kathryn, but
in light of her declaration, he was obviously mistaken. It was another
hurt he would deal with and eventually move on, after all Kathryn had
done the honorable thing. She had made no attempt to interfere with his
relationship with Seven despite her feelings, so could he do any less?
"You haven't lost my friendship
Captain." Chakotay remarked sincerely. "or my support."
She breathed a sigh of relief.
"In fact, you've made me realize
just how much of a fool I'd been."
She looked upon his features curiously.
"I didn't behave as honorably as you
did Kathryn. I hit him." The tattooed man admitted, staring down
guiltily as his large hands. "I hit Axum."
"You what?!" The Captain
exclaimed, shocked. "When? No one reported it."
He avoided her question continuing.
"I feel so ashamed of it now. I know I had been drinking but…"
He trailed off.
"You said you were not in love with
her… so why?"
"I don’t know, pride I guess. Like
I said, I had been drinking." He shook his head. "Whatever
punishment your deem fit--"
"Commander," she waved her hand
lazily to halt his words. She would let this infraction go. Axum hadn't
reported it and she wasn't in the mood to punish Chakotay. He'd been
through enough. They all had. Hell, she even wanted to pop the alien in
her jealousy, but she knew how to discipline herself… for the most
Janeway giggled at the visual of herself
punching Axum. "I've wanted to smack him… "
He grinned back at her appreciating the
humorous response instead of a lecture, which she had every right to
"How long have you felt this way
about Seven?" He asked. The idea of loving someone for so long and
doing nothing about it seemed familiar.
"I don’t know, but it’s been
years. Three, I think, maybe more."
"I honestly didn't know."
Chakotay replied feeling somewhat foolish. "If I had, I wouldn't
"You have nothing to apologize
for," Kathryn responded quickly. He hadn't done anything wrong and
she should have done something sooner, before he even had the chance.
"Did you ever plan on telling
"Actually, I did plan to, but once I
finally got the nerve, I found out she was dating a close friend of
mine." She replied dryly, the corner of her lip twitching.
"I thought you seemed a bit off that
That's an understatement, she
"You should have told her a long
time ago Kathryn." Damn those useless Starfleet principles of
hers. It’s what kept us apart. He shook his head pondering such
foolishness to follow an unwritten rule of an organization that was over
30 years away. Ironic that she would deny herself happiness now just as
she had years before when he had his only chance with her while
stranded on a planet. They had been infected with a contagious virus and
no cure could be found for months until against her orders Tuvok had
contacted the Viidians; specifically a woman Viidian, the doctor had
befriended awhile back, who knew of a cure for the virus. Unfortunately,
with the virus cured his only chance at a romance with his Captain was
gone. As soon as she returned to Voyager, Janeway was the pure
professional she had always been leaving Chakotay with no idea how she
felt about him. Although he had moved on, he had never completely gotten
over her. Now he would have to.
So the question remained. How the hell
did a former Borg, with very little knowledge of humanity let alone any
powers of seduction, manage to catch a strong willed independent Captain
in her clutches? How the hell did Seven do it?! It had to be more
than just beauty and brains, but he surmised he’d never understand it.
"I know I should have told her
sooner, but I just couldn't."
"Just because you're the Captain of
this ship doesn't mean you can't have--"
"I know," Janeway dismissed her
cowardice with contempt.
"I can't believe you were content to
watch me court her?" He stated confounded.
"Content?" She eyed him.
"No, but it was absolutely necessary that I maintain a professional
"And now she's with Axum."
"Now's she with Axum." Kathryn
listlessly repeated with sorrow edging into her voice.
"That's what's causing you all this
distress isn't it? Her leaving takes you so completely out of her life
that you finally feel the need to find her and tell her the truth…,
but that's a grave mistake Kathryn." Janeway was his friend, but
what if Seven treated her as indifferently as she had treated him? Would
his Captain be any better off? Rejection hurts worse when you admit it
to the person you're in love with… and he was so glad he didn’t say
anything to Kathryn about his own feelings.
"Why would you say that?" Janeway asked
her voice dangerously low. Did he think
Seven was better off with Axum?
"This ship needs its Captain… and
Seven… she won't… " he paused realizing his bad choice of
words. "What if she won’t leave him?"
That very possibility scared the hell out
of her, but then thinking about the young woman's holodeck experience;
the kiss with the holographic copy of herself, made Kathryn reconsider
and it gave her hope, but she would never know if she didn’t try.
"There's only one way to find out
and I have to know, one way or another."
Chakotay took in a short breath.
"You don't have to do this alone."
"Yes, I do."
"This is a personal matter Chakotay.
I am NOT doing this as the Captain of Voyager."
"Commander… " Janeway warned
him. "You have your orders. If I don’t come back, get this crew
The tattooed man sighed. "If that's
what you want, Kathryn." He stated contemplative.
Day Sixteen, Evening:
Cruising through space on the sleek Delta
Flyer still took Captain Janeway 20 hours at Warp Six to meet up with
the Borg Sphere for the second time. Thankfully it was still in orbit
over the planet designated ‘Eden’.
Arriving at the scout ship, Janeway
hailed them three times before she finally received a response from
"I need to speak with Seven of Nine.”
There was a short contemplative silence.
"She doesn't wish to speak to you."
“I know we didn't part of the greatest
“I’m sorry, but she--”
“Please, I need to know if I've done
something to force this decision…." She implored.
Janeway thought she saw a faint sigh
coming from the other woman. "Well very, I will ask her."
After the channel was cut, Janeway did the only thing she could. She
waited… albeit impatiently.
Many minutes later, when Laura contacted
her again, the young woman shook her head firmly back and forth before
she even started to speak. "I'm sorry Captain, but Seven refuses to
see you," she lied.
Since when has Seven ever refused to see
me? What the hell did I do to her or was it that hologram?!
Janeway however, was resolute. "Tell
her I'm not leaving orbit until she does." After smacking the
communications button, she sat back grumpily pondering her next move or
if she even had one. The current turn of events left her in a foul mood.
Meanwhile, on the Borg sphere, Laura
immediately turned to Korok after Janeway had cut the comm link.
"Scan for Voyager. Is she alone?"
"Yes," Korok had already done
so when the Delta Flyer first entered their sensor range. He looked at
her skeptically. "Why?"
Laura rolled her eyes. “We need to
encourage her to leave.”
Korok blinked. "Do you intend to
attack her?!" He asked surprised.
Laura spoke with regret. "I don't want
to harm her, but she’s refusing to leave until Seven talks to
“And that is not possible thanks to
you,” he reminded her.
Laura glared at him. “How dare you! We
have our freedom thanks to me!”
"If you destroy Captain Janeway, you
will dishonor us all. She risked her entire crew to save us from the
Borg, or do you not remember that sacrifice?”
“I remember,” she remarked
disgruntled. “And I won’t if I can help it, but if she finds out--
” Laura left the statement unfinished. “I don’t know what she’ll
do. We might have to retaliate to stop her.”
“Her blood will on your hands not mine.
It is bad enough that we agreed to hand over Axum's mate and by Klingon
customs that in itself is grounds for death at his hands."
She turned hard eyes on him. “Well I’m
glad he is not Klingon.”
“She's not in love with him you
know." Laura informed him. "It would not have lasted. She
would have left him eventually anyways, most likely to go back to
Korok blinked ruminating on her
statement. "What does love have to do with it?"
"Klingons…" Laura grumbled to
herself while walking away.
When Seven of Nine stepped out of the
alcove after regenerating, her eyes met the Borg Queen’s, who stood
before her with an emotionless gaze.
"Something has changed," the
blonde grouched in her usual arrogant tone, also laced with fear and
“We have enhanced your
visual cortex with a neural processing adjunct to increase synaptic
"Why?!" Seven commanded in
“So you can function at
“Impractical, you do not need me
to be efficient.”
The Queen tilted her head. "It
is so our thoughts can be one. I wish to understand your fervor in
wanting to keep these faulty human emotions and I want to monitor your
thoughts in order to learn humanity from you, since I did not get to
finish my last study of humanity before your Captain Janeway liberated
you from my grasp. A mistake, I don't intend to let happen twice."
Seven's nose flared at the mention of her
former Captain. It still hurt to think she would never see the redhead
again. The blonde did not understand why her chest hurt, or why she
still felt so strongly about an individual who mislead her, but she did.
And now she realized, so too did her Borg crewmates. Everyone had
betrayed her. Feeling grave, Seven was more alone than she had ever been
in her entire life.
"There is nothing worthwhile you can
learn from me," the blonde remarked distastefully.
the Borg Queen commented as she sifted through Seven's recent thoughts.
Their eyes met briefly.
"You have feelings for
someone." The Queen's voice held mild
astonishment, because this information was unexpected. "Rather
Seven remained silent, but her ice blue
eyes shined as her thoughts betrayed the truth.
"You believe you are in love
with Captain Janeway." The Queen was
truly astounded by this development.
"My feelings for Captain Janeway are
none of your concern!" Seven tried to block the Queen's probing
unsuccessfully, too emotionally distraught to put forth any credible
the Queen remarked. "I
see the real reason you left your Voyager collective. You feel your dear
Captain has betrayed you. Perhaps now you will come to realize why
emotions are irrelevant after all."
Narrowing her eyes, Seven glared at her
former Queen, her rage building.
"Look at what it has done to
you. Human emotions are distracting, persistent, chaotic and…"
The Borg Queen asserted. "Ultimately
futile; the opposite of harmony and perfection."
Even as Seven's ire increased, she
rejected the Queen's words. Being with Kathryn was perfection. Seven
jutted her chin out in defiance. "My thoughts and my feelings are
"Spoken like a true
individual." The queen spoke disdainfully.
"Your feelings have betrayed you so much you can't even see the
truth that is right before your enhanced senses."
Seven stepped forward confounded.
"In due time,"
the Queen motioned for the young blonde to follow. "First,
let me show you what we have planned this time for your fellow
With no other choice available to her,
Seven reluctantly followed the Queen. The former Borg would find out her
plans and act accordingly to prevent it, even if it meant destroying
herself in the process.
Axum awoke staring at the ceiling in his
makeshift bedroom. Swiftly, he sat up looking around.
Images of betrayal by his crewmates,
especially Laura, cascaded throughout his mind upsetting him as thoughts
of Annika being whisked away against her will spurred him into action.
He had to find her!
Axum moved quickly in the attempt to
leave the confines of his room, unfortunately a strong force field at
the entrance stopped him cold.
"Laura!" He yelled out causing
his voice to echo down the corridor.
A few minutes later, Laura and the
Klingon, Croix stood outside his doorway. Croix was probably just an
assurance in case he attempted to escape. He said not a single word as
he stood by Laura's side.
"Where is Annika?!" Axum
Laura kept her face neutral. "You
"NO!" Axum screamed. "I
don't believe you! You wouldn't."
He threw himself at the force field. The
energy field pushed his body away forcefully causing him to land roughly
on his back.
"Stop this! It's pointless now. We
"Annika," Axum sobbed.
The brokenness of her friend, lying
somberly against the far wall shattered her placidity. "I am truly
sorry, but it was our survival at stake. Your heart refuses… it can't
Axum had tears of anger and loss on his
countenance as he forced his head up. "I will not forget
this." He saw her with new eyes.
Laura swallowed lightly. She knew he was
not threatening her life. It was not his way, but she also knew that
whatever trust or friendship they had was gone. He would never trust her
again. Whatever love she hoped he might have had for her died when she
delivered his precious Annika to the Borg Queen, even if it did save all
"I understand," she remarked
quietly, leaving him alone in his solitary confinement. No words could
soothe what they had done.
He sucked in a deep breath trying to
alleviate the guilt over his inability to protect Annika despite her
declaration earlier of being in love with her Captain.
How am I supposed to just stop loving
her, simply because she loves someone else?
Annika was in trouble, so he had to do
something, but what? Even if he could escape, what could he do? Where
would he go? He had no means for traveling long distances. A small
shuttle pod would not catch up to the Queen's cube and he certainly
couldn't take this sphere, not alone without assistance. He was
beginning to think it was hopeless.
Almost five minutes passed before
newfound hope hit him in the form of an idea; a simplistic plan, but if
he could escape, even briefly, he could send a subspace message to
Voyager before they got out of communications range.
Forcing his body to get up, he surveyed
the room, looking for something that could help facilitate his plan.
After perusing the entire area for an hour, he came up with an idea that
was a long shot.
There was a power cable deeply embedded
in the far wall behind his bed, only it was not long enough. Finding
some redundant electrical cabling that was conductive, he stripped the
ends of the insulation and stretched them along the length of his room.
Tenuously, he dug his hands into the wall and disconnected the power
cable. Having no power couplers, he laid the bare wire on top of the
power cable to create a connection, then moved towards the forcefield
and positioned himself to the side with the live wire in hand. Pushing
the energy charged cord into the area that held the force field caused
sparks and a shock blast that knocked him over.
The skin on his hands was slightly burned
as he got up to test his handiwork. But when he cautiously reached out,
no force field was present to repel his hand. Quickly, he proceeded with
his plan. A communications node wouldn’t be hard to find on a Borg
Over an hour later, Janeway was pacing
the Delta Flyer furious with herself, Seven and the whole damn
She scanned the vessel, trying to
pinpoint Seven's life signs, but there was no way to pinpoint the young
woman’s exact bio patterns with so many other former Borg present.
While trying to find Seven, Janeway
haphazardly came across a subspace signal sloppily encoded with a
After intercepting and downloading the
entire message, she decrypted it. Much to her astonishment, she found it
was a dire warning from Axum and Janeway could only watch wide eyed in
Knowing the Borg vessel containing Seven
would be out of range after it cleared this system, Kathryn had to act.
Scanning for the latest warp signatures, she punched the Delta Flyer
into the highest warp it could go, warp six and prayed she made it in
time. She just hoped the Borg vessel that had Seven couldn't go any
faster than warp six either.
In all likelihood, Janeway was already
too late. Would she have to witness Seven's assimilation? Or to her
heart’s dismay, have to witness Seven already changed into a freshly
created drone? Or would she fail to rescue Seven getting assimilated
herself in the attempt.
Janeway took some comfort in the fact
that if she was assimilated, her own emotional turmoil at having failed
Seven would be wiped away in the sickly process.
Seven followed the Queen to another
section of her private chamber, an area that had a large view screen on
the center wall, similar to that of the Astrometrics lab. Seven’s brow
tightened as she studied it. This one contained a hypothetical scenario
of sorts, with statistics and assimilation totals, but what haunted
Seven was the familiar bluish green globe in sector 001.
"You plan to deploy a virus
the Queen remarked casually. "Not this
time." The confident tone frightened Seven.
"What are you planning?" Her
voice was low, concern laced throughout.
"I plan a direct
assault on the Alpha Quadrant with my entire armada of Borg tactical
"No… " Feeling terror, her
respiratory functions increased.
"You're feeling a
normal emotional response, but you will adapt."
"I will stop you!"
"I will NOT witness this!"
"Yes, you will. You
have no choice."
Two drones headed in the blonde’s
direction with Seven numbly watching as they approached. Was the Queen
trying to use intimidation tactics or did she actually plan to
assimilate her? "If you plan to assimilate me, I welcome it!"
Seven challenged her Queen.
The queen cast an amused look at her former
favorite drone, now reduced to a frail emotional humanoid trying to
appear courageous. "No, I want you to witness
our victory first…” She smiled, a small rare uplift of the
corners of her mouth. “perhaps
then I'll grant your request."
Seven was past caring about herself, but
the likely destruction of Voyager, the annihilation of Earth and the
take over of the Alpha Quadrant bothered her immeasurably. She had to
remain calm and find out more information. "When will you order the
“Once we have reached
the transwarp hub.”
“It will take weeks at warp six to get
there,” Seven assumed.
“Incorrect, we are
currently traveling at Warp Nine.”
“How?!” Seven inquired perplexed. She
figured the anomaly would have disabled the Borg as well.
The Queen turned to the blonde.
“You are correct in that it
would take us weeks to reach the transwarp hub… if we had to rely on
high warp exclusively, but we do not. As you are aware, we have
transwarp capabilities, therefore once we clear this planetary system,
we will fix our currently non-functional transwarp drive and proceed to
the transwarp hub.”
“Why haven’t you repaired it?”
“Because we have to
come to a complete stop to do so.”
“That makes no sense,” Seven
“It makes perfect sense,”
she started to explain for her pupil’s
we have to shut down the frequency inhibitor and remove the enhancements
to our warp core drive before we can bring the transwarp drive back
online. Unfortunately the process to remove it is as complex and time
consuming as integrating it.”
Frequency inhibitor?” Seven’s
"It is a device that allows
us to use the higher warp speeds by nullifying the rotating fractal
algorithm I created to disrupt subspace fields.
She explained continuing.
“In order to prevent
our vessels from being effected by the frequency algorithm, we had to
create special components for our warp core to override it. Of course
there still is the unfortunate side effect that can damage transwarp
drives, if they are not rendered temporarily offline, but that is a
"It was YOU that caused the
anomaly!" Seven accused as comprehension dawned on her.
“I am confident you
would have discovered the truth eventually.”
“I did discover it then I was rendered
The Queen regarded her with a knowing
smile. “Even so, disabling its effects would
have been difficult even for you.”
"Ingenious," Seven commented
dryly, speculating on how to find a way to inform Voyager of her
findings, otherwise she would be responsible for all their lives. Her
jealousy and short sightedness could be responsible for destroying not
only Earth but the entire Alpha Quadrant. Seven did not know how, but
she had to contact Voyager! Somehow, she had to relay this information.
The Queen ignored Seven's thoughts of mutiny,
smirking to herself. "Captain
Janeway will not come to your rescue this time."
"Stop reading my thoughts!"
"Our thoughts are
one, the way it should be."
“Why are you doing this?! This invasion
requires an astronomical amount of resources."
The Queen regarded her stubborn over-emotional
student. "I want you to
witness the total annihilation of the human race… only then you will
have no choice but to accept your real heritage… and that your future
is with us."
NEVER! Seven thought
forcefully, forgetting about the neural link.
“On the contrary,
resistance is quite futile.” The
Queen sent the thought with confidence to Seven's troubled mind just
before the Borg began to chant.
"We have reached the
end of this star system.”
Borg leader responded pleased. “Come
to a full stop. Begin disabling the frequency inhibitor and remove the
special components from the Warp core. In the meantime, we will be
propulsion less and vulnerable. Send 15 vessels to rendezvous with our
"Korok I need your help."
"What in the name of Kahless?!"
The Klingon jumped off his makeshift bed and approached Axum.
"You're supposed to be confined." He grumbled.
"I have no quarrel with you,"
Axum pleaded. “but you must hear me out!”
Korok knew the fate of Axum's mate hung
in the balance and if the situation were reversed, Korok would have
wanted to kill everyone involved in taking his mate away from him,
despite the necessity of it.
"Make it quick," He suggested
crossing his arms. "No doubt the others are looking for you and I
don't want to appear to be collaborating with you in a mutiny."
"Of course not," Axum commented
wryly. "Do you agree with the council's assessment of the
"Yet you went along with it."
"Majority ruled… and it was a
better tactic than yours. You want to hide us on a planet… in a war
zone no less, a coward's tactic."
"I did it to save her! Her survival
was at stake!" Axum exclaimed.
"I was prepared to fight back after
that bald woman let us go, but you insisted we cooperate. You agreed to
her terms, bargaining your mate in exchange for our lives if you found
"I lied to her!" Axum shouted.
"I didn't really think we'd ever find Voyager."
"But in your heart you wanted
to," Korok assessed accurately.
His gaze fell to the floor.
"And now, do you still want
Axum lifted his head and met the Klingon’s
gaze with intensely. "If you want glory Korok, then join me...
because I intend to attack the Queen's vessel and take Annika back right
from under her nose."
Korok bellowed. "Alone with no
backup? As much as I enjoy a good battle, even I know that is
suicide." The Klingon loved a good battle, yet even he knew this
was foolish. "The Borg do not fight honorably, nor do they take
"I sent Voyager a subspace
communiqué. I know they will respond and attempt to rescue their former
The Klingon shook his head. "This is
tactically unwise, even with their assistance."
"Korok?" Axum implored
strongly. "I need you to help me convince the others. Will you help
The warrior ruminated, his brow furrowed.
"Or do we run like cowards?"
A soft growl of disdain came from the
Klingon's throat, before Korok simply nodded his head.
At that moment, Laura, Croix and a
Nausicaan appeared outside of Korok's quarters.
"Do you realized what you've
done!?" Laura yelled. "We could not stop your transmission.
You've most likely killed the crew of Voyager!"
Axum turned an icy face towards her.
"As if you care what happens to them. You were quite willing to
sacrifice Annika to save your own life."
"I will not debate this again with
you." Tilting her head, she indicated to her comrades to apprehend
him. "Take him!"
The Nausicaan and the Klingon, Croix
stepped forward to apprehend Axum.
"No!" Korok stepped in-between
them. "Hear him out."
Croix had a great deal of respect for
Korok, who outranked him. He had been a subordinate under General Korok
for a short time when their Bird of Prey mysteriously got sent to the
Delta Quadrant and subsequently assimilated by the Borg.
The Nausicaan kept moving forward until
Croix put a hand on the alien's chest.
"No," the two Klingons’ eyes
met. "We will listen."
Day Seventeen, Early Morning:
As the Collective spoke to her in unison,
the Queen experienced a rare emotion that she refused to give the time
of day as she transferred the sensor data to the larger screen.
“We have a visitor.”
A ship strikingly resembling the Delta Flyer
appeared before her silver eyes.
now." She commanded mentally
to the drones of her vessel. Mere seconds later, two tractor beams
grabbed the small ship like a vice refusing to let go. Seeing this, the
Queen smiled victoriously, a subtle but confident grin.
"How many life signs?"
She commanded out loud for Seven's benefit.
the Borg voices rang out.
the Queen stared at her star pupil.
patterns are consistent with the life form Captain Kathryn Janeway of
the Federation Starship--"
The Queen rose her hand up to forestall
the conclusion. "Janeway," The
Queen hissed. Turning, she witnessed the open jawed expression of her
Seven's facial posture went from
apprehensive to abject terror at the realization that it was her Captain
all alone on the Delta Flyer and now a captive of her former Queen…
just like she herself was.
"Bring her to me,"
she returned her gaze to the
"Release her!" Seven demanded.
The Queen turned sharply to her wayward pupil.
"You are in no
position to make demands."
"She is of no use to you!"
"True," the Borg
leader admitted. "but
she has been a reoccurring threat that I intend to deal with once and
"I will stop you," Seven
advanced on the Borg Queen unmindful of the consequences to herself.
"I will not let you harm my Captain."
The Queen responded haughtily at Seven’s audacity. "I
believe you're forgetting something. You gave up that privilege when you
willingly left Voyager to join the Borg rebels… Or have you
"Irrelevant!!" Seven stopped
before the Queen. "You will not harm her!"
"I will do as I
choose. You forget your place Seven of Nine. Luckily for you, I'm so
taken by you or you'd be a drone by now--"
"Am I the only one experiencing
déjà vu?" The familiar feminine voice called out from the doorway
of the Queen's personal chambers.
"Captain," Seven breathed out.
Janeway looked to her former crewman, her
eyes softening at seeing Seven still herself, before she cast a dire
look at the Borg Queen.
She raised her compression rifle.
"Release my crewman and we'll be on our way."
"I think not."
"Captain…" Seven stated in a
low, but desperate voice not sure what good the knowledge would do two
individuals on a Borg cube with no back up. "She intends to invade
the Alpha Quadrant and assimilate Earth."
Janeway's eyes glanced the blonde's way
before focusing on her target again. "I had a hunch she was up to
no good. What's the matter, the Delta Quadrant not big enough for
"We seek only to
enhance the lives of those we assimilate."
"Our lives are just fine the way
they are." Janeway eyed the Queen cautiously, moving further into
the room, she watched all the drones moving around in her peripheral
vision. "This is your last chance," Janeway warned. "I
have the Delta Flyer rigged to self destruct if you don't release
"You are all alone with no
backup. You won’t destroy your only means of escape."
The Queen commented boldly.
"I've raised a
dispersal field. Your weapon will not work here."
“You have one minute left,"
Janeway warned her. "before you have a large hole gaping out of
The Queen was irritated and it challenged
her control. Janeway irked the small part of sentience that she had
She walked slowly, arrogantly around her
chambers as if Janeway had no weapon pointed at her.
"Release the Delta Flyer…
and destroy it." The
command came and Seven heard it albeit… too late.
"Captain, you must--"
Janeway's eyes traveled to the viewscreen
only to witness her ship explode into nothingness.
“Now that your vessel
has been properly disposed of…”
In all honesty, Kathryn had no plan that
could've worked. She knew the same strategy as before would get her
onboard, but as far as getting out? It was a long shot, but she'd be
damned to have come this far just to give up without a fight. Seven’s
life was at stake.
"That won't stop me!” Janeway spat
pressing the trigger, only the phaser rifle sputtered with no energy
Borg drones started to surround Captain
Janeway. She struck out at the first one on her right with the butt of
her rifle, creating a gash on the side of his face forcing him down
hard. Turning, she whacked another one in the midsection with her
weapon, who doubled over. Janeway then hit him on the back of the head
as another drone grabbed her from behind locking her arms against her
sides. Two other drones came over to subdue her as she struggled.
"Bring her to me,"
the Queen commanded of the drones holding Janeway securely. Kathryn
prepared her mind for the inevitable. Yet before any assimilation
tubules touched her skin, she heard a loud scuffle coming from her
Seven had thrown two drones against a
bulkhead trying desperately to get to her Captain. The enraged blonde
dispelled drone after drone, but she was tiring quickly from the
exertion. Borg drones were heavy and almost three times stronger than
the average humanoid.
your resistance. I have your precious Captain."
The Queen sent this warning directly to
her former pupil through their private link.
"No!!" Seven cried out in
desperation assuming such an action was inevitable. After shoving two
Borg drones out of her way, she advanced on her ex-Queen and the female
leader was unexpectedly impressed with Seven's futile determination.
Once Seven reached the Queen, her arm
came out to strike, but the Queen grabbed it stopping it in mid flight.
Not a task many humans could accomplish, but the Queen's strength was
ten fold than the average drones. Utilizing only one arm, she flung
Seven over her left side.
The young woman slammed into a bulkhead
head first, causing a nasty gash on her forehead.
"Seven!" Janeway shouted out
"Do that again… and I
will terminate your Captain."
The female leader raised her enclosed fist,
the tubules hidden beneath the knuckles snaking out in preparation.
The blonde stopped awestruck by the possibility of
having to watch her Captain die. "I
will comply." She answered defeated.
Struggling to get up, despite the soreness in her body, Seven knew the
fight was over as the drones surrounded her, staying out of arms reach
per the Queen's instructions.
Sensing her mentor’s gaze on her, Seven couldn't
look Janeway in the eye. It was her fault that she was here and the
blonde just couldn't fathom why. Did the Captain feel such foolish
loyalty to Seven that she would risk her own life on a small vessel with
inadequate firepower? Where was her ship?!
Where was Voyager?!
"She will not be harmed…
yet." The Queen stated and something in
Seven knew this to be true. The Borg Queen did not lie, but it confused
her as to why. Why wait to assimilate her? It was inefficient.
"I want her to witness the
same thing as you.” The Queen heard Seven’s
unvoiced thoughts. “The
complete annihilation of her home world… Earth and the destruction of
her precious Federation.”
Janeway jutted out her chin. "That
won’t happen," she stated proudly. "Not on a cold day in
"We shall see.”
find a way to stop you. We always do."
“Then perhaps I should
assimilate you now.”
Janeway refused to let the fear of
assimilation get a grip on her.
Seven swallowed down her own distress.
"That is not necessary, you have me. I will take her place."
The Queen shook her head. "Graciously
human to the end, my dear, but there will be no humanity left for it to
make any difference. You both will become part of us. What else is
"Your fascination with us is
logically when you know why. Don't you know why I keep coming back for
you Seven? Can't you read my thoughts?"
"I do not wish to." Seven
refused, not wanting the temptation the voices represented.
"Oh come now. You're
not the least bit curious?"
Seven glared at her.
"You're important to
the Borg because you've been one of us for years and you've tasted
sentience. This gives you the necessary credentials to become… my
Seven's face was almost a ghost, she was
so distraught… and the worst of it all was that Janeway had overheard
it, thus she would know until the day she died that Seven was being
groomed to be a monster; a Queen herself.
"I have no desire to become
you!" Seven recanted outraged.
"I don't intend to
hand over my crown just yet, but in due time when my human components
give out, you will take over. You should take pride in it Seven of Nine,
it’s an honor. When I was just a mere drone, I did what the collective
wanted, now as the embodiment of the Borg, I command millions."
"I?" Seven questioned
sarcastically. "There are no individuals in the collective."
"You are correct,
but when 'I' speak for the Borg I am referring to the entire collective.
The portrayal of sentience to other species is necessary. This is how I
"Why you? Why were you chosen?"
"Over the last few
years, the Borg collective decided it would facilitate the assimilation
of species quicker if we had a representative speak for us."
"On the contrary, it was very
effective... at first."
The Queen stated. "You
remember Locutus, formerly Captain Jean Luc Picard of the Enterprise?
The Borg tried to assimilate him and make him the voice of the Borg, but
he hadn't been Borg long enough for him to speak for us effectively. He
was controlled by the unified mind, yet, subconsciously he resisted us
more than we expected."
Janeway listened carefully.
"However, we also
didn't count on him being rescued. Because of that we came to the
conclusion that we were flawed in our theory and decided that our leader
must be someone who had been Borg for a long time, one who would not
resist being Borg, but relish it. That would make us strong."
"Implausible." Seven argued.
"Factual and irrefutable
because I stand before you," the Queen
assured her pupil. "Yet
nothing is infinite. I am not immortal. My physical body will eventually
die, but of course my death would not affect the collective for long.
They would replace me. A new Queen would be born out of my demise and I
would live on through her."
Seven knew where this was going. "I
refuse to become you." Seven rebuked hastily.
"The choice is no
longer yours. You are next in line to become Queen."
“No!!” Seven yelled. “I would
“Your feelings are
inconsequential,” the Queen turned away from
Seven, silently commanding her drones to comply. "Now
if you’ll excuse me, I must regenerate,"
the Queen informed them as four drones shoved the two women into
a corner. "You
and your Captain will remain behind a force field until I awaken."
Heading to her center chamber, the Queen
tilted her head.
“15 Borg vessels have entered
this sector. The Collective informed
warp prevention frequency algorithm has been disabled. Removal of the
special components, bringing transwarp engines online, still in
progress; estimated completion time; 4 hours, 23 minutes.”
The Queen was pleased.
Seven gasped fearing their fate had been
"Commander?" Tuvok's voice
permeated the silence of the bridge.
Chakotay straightened up in the Captain's
seat his head leaning on the knuckles of his clenched fist. He was deep
in thought not seeing the viewscreen or his console on the right. He had
been thinking of the past week. Kathryn, Jaffen, Seven, Axum, and the
messy situation they had created when Tuvok's monotonous voice drifted
to his inner ear.
"I am receiving an encrypted
subspace message. It has a Starfleet signature."
Chakotay practically jumped out of the
Captain's chair. "Can you decode it?" He asked with zeal
hoping it was Kathryn.
"Do it," Chakotay ordered.
"then put it on screen."
Tuvok complied readily and after he
finished with the decoding process, Captain Janeway's visual appeared on
the forward viewscreen looking most determined.
started to say. "I'm in pursuit of a Borg cube that I believe
has Seven of Nine onboard against her will. I'm not positive what's at
stake, but there's an attached message by Axum that states the Borg
Queen is back." Kathryn paused, her eyes roamed around the
small cockpit of the Flyer in consternation.
"I know I gave you an order to
proceed to the Alpha Quadrant Chakotay… "
He stared sternly at the viewscreen.
"And you have ever right to continue on that
course… It’s your choice, you’re the Captain now... but know that
I’m going to get Seven out of there… alone if I have to.” Raw
emotion passed over her features before she regained control. "Janeway
Chakotay rested his hands on the railing
before Tom's station. He took all of two seconds to make his decision.
"Tom plot a course for these
"Sir? Aren't we going after the
Captain? She's going to need our help."
"Follow my orders Tom."
Tom hesitated for only a second,
perplexed by the decision. "Plot laid in, sir."
“Torres to Chakotay?”
"What is it B'Elanna?"
"By the data I'm reading, the
anomaly appears to be gone!" She informed him.
“You mean we can go to high warp?” He
questioned shocked, not expecting the turnaround so soon.
"I think so… "
The Chief Engineer replied through the COMM link.
"Guess we'll just have to test that
theory, B'Elanna. Tom Warp 9.”
“Engage,” Chakotay crossed his
fingers as Voyager's engines came to life. Tension filled in his
shoulders and neck as he heard the familiar hum steadily progressing
higher and higher. Finally, he breathed out a sigh of relief after Tom
called out, ‘Warp Nine.’
Chakotay allowed himself a positive
thought. Maybe this will work. He thought, praying they would
make it in time.
Brow furrowed in deep concentration,
Seven stared out at the drone activity through the force field, her mind
trying to fathom a possible means of escape. They were in a small round
niche, only 10 cubic meters in space. To Seven's back was solid metal
plating. To both sides and the front, a solid force field.
To her left, she spotted the Borg queen
herself regenerating in the center of the room, in a special alcove
designed for her while her minions worked around her like worker bees.
Seven had resigned to her fate, but now
that the Captain was here, she felt elevated pressure to find a way out
when there was clearly no means of escape. Why did she have to come?!
Seven did not ask her to risk herself again! Why?! Typical of
Captain Janeway in that she always thought she could succeed in any
situation despite the horrible odds.
Seven became incensed over her lack of an
idea on how to escape when softly spoken words interrupted her train of
"Seven, we need to talk."
Finally, Kathryn was alone with Seven
where neither of them could run away or be interrupted. No crewmen were
nearby or senior officers, only emotionless Borg drones who couldn't
care less what they discussed. And Janeway knew time was short.
The former Borg turned to her Captain
infuriated. "Why?! Why would you risk yourself to come back for
me?!" Seven asked outraged.
Janeway was taken aback at the strength
of the verbal attack coming from the blonde. "I couldn't allow the
Borg to have you! Not once I realized what had happened."
"How did you come to find me?"
"That's not important. What’s
important is we need to figure--"
"I disagree," Seven shot back.
"Where is Voyager?"
"I don't know."
This baffled Seven. It was inconceivable.
"How could you not know where your ship is?" This was the
indomitable Captain Janeway of the starship Voyager. Her ship, her rank,
her career were her life and nothing that Seven knew of came before
"because I left Voyager over a day
and a half ago to search for you.”
"I refuse to believe you came
"Well, I did. I sent them an
encrypted message before I followed your warp trail, telling them where
I was heading, but--."
"Tuvok was right about you.” Seven
interjected. “You are reckless! Your rescue attempt was flawed,
inefficient, illogical… " The young woman started to pace the
small area frenetically, leaving Janeway speechless. "You should
not have bothered!"
"Seven," Janeway interlaced the
fingers of her hands trying to remain calm despite her companion's
attitude. "Why are you so angry with me?"
"Captain Janeway, you are…
Kathryn blinked. Where did that come
from? "I'm infuriating?!" It wasn’t the words as much as
the way Seven delivered them that irked her. "And what about you,
with your superiority complex, your arrogant insolent attitude, your
deliberate disobedience of direct orders… " Janeway intentionally
paused. “I could go on.”
Seven stopped and turned her head to make
eye full contact. "Is that what you think of me?" She goaded
with ice filled eyes piercing into Janeway to say otherwise.
"What? No!" The accusation
startled Janeway. "Don't you turn this on me! You know that's not
what I meant Seven."
"No I do not." Seven insisted
defiantly. She could play this verbal game with her Captain quite
effectively. "I understand nothing about you!"
Janeway walked right up to the blonde and
pointed a finger at her. "You just don't want to face the facts
that you often rub people the wrong way, Seven."
The words hit a sore spot. "Perhaps,
you've forgotten that I was Borg for most of my life."
Kathryn's shoulders slumped visibly.
Seven wasn't fighting fairly. "No, I haven't forgotten." She
remarked quietly, her features softening perceptively. "I just want
to know… what I've done to upset you so much."
"You've done enough… and I do not
wish to discuss it further." Seven's tone was icy. "Besides,
it is irrelevant now." The emotional baggage was still so heavy in
her heart that she wasn't ready to forgive.
Janeway tensed. "I am sorry about
what happened on the holodeck, if that’s what has you so upset."
Seven visibly stiffened.
"I can understand why that would…
make you uncomfortable, but it's not your fault. I promise you
regardless of what happened, we'll still be friends. Nothing will change
that. There's no reason for you to leave Voyager because of that…
This lame attempt at an apology inflamed Seven even more. "I do not
need your pathetic attempts at reconciliation! You've obviously made
your decision so live with it."
"Excuse me?" Janeway didn't
appreciate the blonde's tone and there was a certain finality to the
words that jabbed at Kathryn's heart. "Just what the hell are you
The angry blonde did not want to hear any
excuses or waste her energy on worthless explanations. "It doesn't
matter. We will be deceased soon enough." The thought almost gave
Seven comfort, knowing her emotional rollercoaster was almost at an end.
She moved to the farthest end of their confined area to brood in peace.
“Seven?” Kathryn pleaded. “Please—“
“I do NOT wish to converse with you!”
Seven shouted. “Do not speak to me!”
Backing away, Janeway left the enraged
Borg alone, completely at a loss at how to get Seven to open up and talk
to her. Should I tell her I love her? Janeway pondered. No, it’s
too soon and she’s way too angry. She’ll just hurt me by throwing it
back in my face. The time is not right. Janeway snickered to herself
at her illogical thought processes. There wasn't enough time to make a
difference any way so why upset Seven at this point with the truth.
Reluctantly, Kathryn sat down on the metal plated floor waiting for fate
to deal its final blow.
Three ships stood at a safe distance all
wary of the other, all the vessels with shields and weapons powered and
Voyager happened to come across the two
warring parties while in the middle of a fight and jumping right in
between the battle, Chakotay with a little diplomacy and luck managed to
get them to temporarily stand down.
He knew it was a calculated risk to
contact the two warring factions and that it could be a waste of
valuable time, but he had no other choice. Voyager couldn’t do it
alone, so here he was with an open COM link to both ships attempting to
converse with them, keeping his fingers crossed in the hope that his
plan didn't backfire on him.
After a quick introduction, Chakotay got
to the purpose of the meeting. "We need your help."
"What kind of help do you require
Commander Ckakotay? We're kind of busy right now." The Grefahl
leader spoke harshly. “We have a war to win.”
A grumble could be heard from the Kazarr
"I ask only for a temporary truce to
fight a greater enemy. There is a ruthless species that threatens your
sector of space."
With suspicious curiosity, the Grefahl
leader nodded for Commander Chakotay to continue.
This also intrigued the Kazarr Commander.
"They’re a powerful race called
the Borg; Their only goal, the conquering of other worlds. They enslave
people." He gave a quick overview of the race without giving exact
"What do you want from us?"
Trezlar asked, his brow creased.
"I'm asking for your help... to
"Pfah!" A grunt came from S’Tal,
the Grefahl leader. "With the Kazarr!?"
"I'm only asking for a temporary
The alien interjected. "What do you
gain from this?"
"They have two members of our crew.
We need assistance to get them back."
"What?" The Grefahl questioned.
"You’re willing to risk your entire ship for a mere two
"Yes, one happens to be my
"This is insane!"
Trezlar sighed, almost rolling his eyes.
"Are these… Borg really that much of a threat Commander?"
"I'm afraid so. They've assimilated
hundreds of thousands of individuals in the Delta Quadrant alone."
"In essence, they kill your mind and
take your body, but you don't die."
Trezlar gasped. "They use their
victims as mindless slaves?!"
Silence engulfed both Bridges as the
aliens thought about Chakotay's proposal. Unfortunately, he couldn’t
afford to be a patient man. Time was rapidly running out. "I
apologize for rushing both of you, but time is short. I need your
The Grefahl leader grimaced. "It is
probably a trap!"
"I'm sorry you feel that way, but
we're going with or without your help." Chakotay assured him.
The Kazarr Captain tilted his head upon
hearing this. "You do not expect any compensation for this
"Then we will assist you against
this threat." Trezlar stated coming to his own decision
satisfactorily. "I do not believe your Captain or her people would
set a trap for us."
S'Tal grumbled and cut his comlink.
"Thank you." Chakotay stated
politely to Trezlar. "I'll send you the coordinates and
instructions on what we're planning. Don't break formation until we get
there. I'll be in touch."
The Commander turned to his tactical
"Tuvok, plot a course for Janeway's
last known location, extrapolate the heading of that Borg cube and send
the data to the Kazarr."
Tuvok nodded affirmatively.
The two ships headed immediately into
high warp and surprisingly the Grefahl ship followed a distance behind.
Chakotay smirked. "Send the
coordinates to the Grefahl too, since they seem curious enough to
Day Seventeen, Afternoon:
Seven could sense her Queen's
consciousness arise from her regenerative cycle. "The Queen will
awaken soon." She relayed what she heard from the link to Janeway.
"Has it been four hours
already?" Janeway casually asked.
"I can sense her."
"Are you linked to the
"No, just the Queen, but…"
"But… but what?" Janeway cast
concerned eyes upon her former Astrometrics Officer.
"I can hear them through her. If I
concentrate enough I can hear the entire Collective.”
"You still feel a strong attraction
to the voices." Janeway remarked, watching her closely. It was
probably something Seven would always experience in such close proximity
to the Borg.
“Yes… but it is disconcerting and exhilarating
at the same time." I was trying to
avoid this, but it feels so familiar… so comforting after all the pain
I’ve been through.
With those disturbing words, Janeway
spoke up. "That's understandable, but it’s probably better if you
didn’t concentrate on them so hard." She didn’t want to take
the chance that Seven could suddenly give into the temptation and turn
on her, after all, they were under a lot of stress and Seven wasn’t
exactly pleased to be around her Captain either.
Disgusted with her mental and emotional
vulnerability, Seven complied closing her mind to the distant voices.
"There's got to be something we can
do." The Captain ascertained trying to be hopeful. "Maybe we
could change your bio-electric field. We did that once and... " She
pointed to her COM badge. "I have a microfilament." Janeway
Seven turned to Janeway, completely
stupefied. "And fight our way out through thousands of Borg
"That's thinking on the bright
side." The redhead retorted humorlessly.
"What would be the point? We have no
ship, no means of escape and we are weaponless."
"You've thrown in the towel. You've
given up haven't you?"
"To coin a human phrase…
Janeway knew time was running out, but
she refused to believe they wouldn't come despite her orders that it was
"I haven't given up… on us or
Voyager… Not yet." She stated strongly. "Not as long as I
"A foolish notion," Seven
It was apparent, the blonde was
intentionally being nasty and spiteful. "Whatever. I'll do this
alone… if I have to." And you’re coming with me whether you
like it or not. The Captain pursed her lips and turned away refusing
to give Seven any more fuel to berate her with.
Silence passed as Seven studied Janeway's
retreating backside view and after some time in deep rumination, the
blonde spoke her thoughts. "Perhaps all is not lost in being
Janeway spun around. "What the hell
do you mean by that?!" This line of thinking floored her.
In her current state, Seven truly
regretted not being able to have some of the potential benefits that
assimilation promised. "Oblivion has its merits." She stated
rather calmly. "For instance, there is no awareness of pain;
physical or emotional.”
Seven oddly seemed to take comfort in
that, but the redhead wasn’t buying it.
“And there’s no love either, along
with no independent thought of any kind.” A hand went to Janeway's
right hip. “So tell me Seven, how do you figure that has any merit
“Because our thoughts will become
one," the blonde stated with decisive arrogance. “And I will
finally understand the contradiction that is Captain Kathryn Janeway."
Janeway lifted her chin, irked.
"Great and I thought you respected my position as Captain."
"Respect?" Seven questioned
intentionally. "The title yes, the flawed person hiding behind it,
"Really?" Janeway remarked sarcastically
glaring back at the former Borg. If only
you knew how flawed… after all I let myself fall in love with you,
Her eyes took on a deep shade of grey
around the corners. "That's a two way process Seven. You sure you
want me inside your head… to see all your fears… your imperfections?
All the unstable emotions brewing under that carefully constructed
facade of yours."
With piercing eyes, Seven met her gaze choosing to
stay silent lest her temper get the best of her. If
our thoughts were one, then you would truly understand how much you have
"Go on, tell me Seven," Janeway
could play the nasty verbal game too. "What's really fueling all
this fire towards me?"
Hard icy blue eyes met stormy grey ones.
"That is none of your business! This
conversation is terminated!" The young woman linked her clenched
hands behind her back, lifted her chin, averted her eyes and walked to
the other end of the area they were confined in.
Janeway groaned disgusted.
A voice echoed with an odd static surrounding it, making it unclear. The
blonde looked around but there was no one else present besides her
Captain. So where did the male sounding voice speak to her from?
"Did you hear that?"
"I didn't hear anything,"
Janeway murmured, still irritated at the younger woman.
"Seven of Nine! Are you there?!"
The voice called out again, but this time the transmission was clearer
and Seven recognized the voice. It was Commander Chakotay! He must have
had the doctor's help in accessing the private frequency of her
"Commander?" Seven called out
wondering if he could hear her.
Glancing toward her protégé, Janeway
momentarily wondered if Seven was losing her mind.
Just then the Borg Queen opened her eyes.
"An unidentified transmission has been
detected." The Borg chorused to her.
"Where is it directed
stepped off the dais of her personal alcove.
beacon, Seven of nine, tertiary, adjunct..."
The Borg Queen cranked her head around
toward her guests. She couldn’t hear the actual conversation… but
then again, she didn't need to. Interplexing beacons were private and
virtually impossible to break into but… Seven's thoughts were being
monitored so all the Queen had to do was wait for that information to
come to her.
"Yes it’s Chakotay. Is Kathryn
"Are you both all right?"
"Yes, for now, but Commander I must
"Don’t worry,” he
cut her off. “We have a plan, we're going to attack at these
coordinates," he started to spew off a list of spatial
The Queen strolled over to the corner she
imprisoned them in. "Is that Voyager?" She
assumed. "Say hello to
Commander Chakotay for me."
"Track the location of the
She commanded her drones.
Seven's eyes went wide with fear.
"We're coming to get you! Hold tight!" He
offered before closing the link.
"No!" Seven exclaimed.
"You must not! You will be assimilated as well. The Queen knows
Janeway grabbed the blonde's shoulders
turning her towards her. "Seven, what is going on?!"
“Didn’t you hear Captain?
Voyager is attempting a rescue." The
"A rescue attempt that will
fail!" The Queen asserted.
Janeway's face hardened. "We shall
see," she countered.
"We have found the
coordinates; grid five, zero, one, two. Long range sensors indicate
three vessels on an intercept course."
The Borg chanted.
"Send all fifteen
tactical vessels to those coordinates." The
Queen ordered mentally.
"Where's Voyager?" The Captain
demanded. “Talk to me Seven!”
The young woman looked upon Janeway's
face with penitence. "They are on their way to rescue us… "
Seven said horrified. "and to their death."
"Why would you say that?!"
Janeway stated aghast. It took a lot to shake Seven. "What's
"Tell your Captain."
The Queen teased. "Tell her how in a few
minutes Voyager will soon be no more."
Swallowing at the dryness in her throat,
Seven complied. "Fifteen Borg cubes are on a rendezvous course…
with Voyager." She morbidly informed her Captain.
"We will wait here until that
business is finished before continuing on to the next phase of my
"Coward!" Janeway spat out, the
disdain dripping off her tone.
“We have full warp and
The Borg announced.
"Excellent, once our
cubes have taken care of Voyager and her allies we will enter transwarp
and proceed to the transwarp hub."
Seven could only grimace.
"Astrometrics to the bridge." The
tense voice of Megan Delaney broke through the silence of the bridge.
"Go ahead," Chakotay answered.
"I'm detecting multiple Borg vessels
heading our way! But I can’t get a clear reading on how many!?"
"Acknowledged, send all the
available data to the helm." He cut the channel. “I honestly didn’t
expect to catch up to them for weeks… certainly not until we reached
the transwarp hub.” Chakotay was stupefied.
"We must be closing in on the
Captain’s position to draw this much attention," Harry commented
"God I hope this works."
Commander Chakotay remarked as he stared at the viewscreen.
Tuvok raised an eyebrow in question.
"There are not many options at this point."
"How do we know one of those vessels
won't have Seven and the Captain on it?" Tom asked.
"We do not," Tuvok divulged.
Chakotay hated not knowing his Captain’s
whereabouts, but it was a chance he had to take.
"Send our allies the encrypted
As the Vulcan did so, the doctor crinkled
his brow while standing behind the two Command chairs at Seven's old
station. "I hope you realize that our backup plan is
extremely dangerous to Seven." He blurted out.
"I know that doctor."
"And to the Captain if she's been
Regretfully, he had thought of that.
"You have the anti-dote correct?"
"Yes, I synthesized a fresh
"Good have it ready."
"The pathogen works quickly. If we
don't get to them in time, no amount of medication will matter." He
"Understood, Doctor." Chakotay
was getting irritated at the Doctor's constant reminders.
"ETA?" He asked the sandy haired pilot.
"Less than 5 minutes." Tom
"So far so good."
Tom could only shrug.
"Are we in formation?" He asked
"Ok, let's do it." Chakotay
stated. “Open a channel to the Grefahl and the Kazarr warships."
Harry Kim did so quickly.
"This is Commander Chakotay, drop
out of warp and prepare yourselves. We are about to engage the Borg!”
Both factions acknowledged his
communiqué and then waited for the battle to come to them as they
slowed down to impulse speed.
The Commander turned to Harry.
"Five hundred thousand
"How many vessels?" Chakotay
asked his voice wavering.
"Sensors indicate… fifteen Borg
tactical vessels," Lt. Kim announced taking a deep swallow. "…are
on a direct course towards us… and one heavily armored cube holding
position at the edge of this system."
“That must be the Queen’s vessel,”
Chakotay commented. “Why didn’t we detect it before?”
“We weren’t close enough for sensors
to get an accurate reading,” Harry informed him.
Inquisitively, Chakotay raised his
tattooed brow; assuming that Seven and Janeway were with the Queen at a
safe distance made this scenario work in their favor. Then after he
dealt with the cubes, they could attack the lone remaining vessel to
retrieve their crewmen.
“Three hundred thousand kilometers,”
The burly First Officer turned to the
Vulcan at tactical. "You ready?"
Chakotay sat down in the Captain's chair.
"Let me know when they're at fifty thousand kilometers."
Tom turned around from his console.
"Isn't that… a little close? How are we going to escape the
"We pray," Chakotay answered
"Commander," Tuvok spoke up.
"Sixty five thousand kilometers should suffice."
"We have only a few tri-cobalt
devices and we need to take out as many of those Borg cubes as
possible." He countered.
"Correct, but we also need to
survive. I have experience with these weapons. Sixty five thousand
kilometers, should have the desired impact and minimize damage to our
outer hull and systems."
Chakotay raised his tattooed eyebrow.
"We only have one shot to get the Captain and Seven back." He
Tuvok dipped his head. "It is your
Although, his rigid personality annoyed
the Commander more often than not, Chakotay knew the Vulcan was rarely
inaccurate. Tuvok was very precise in his analysis and his logic was a
strength that rarely failed him. On the other hand, Chakotay had limited
knowledge of tri-cobalt devices and he didn’t want to leave anything
to chance. More than just their lives depended on the success of this
attack, so they couldn't afford to be wrong.
"Very well." He capitulated.
"We'll do it your way."
Returning his gaze to the helm, Tom
expelled a breath he had been holding.
"One hundred thousand kilometers and
closing." Kim announced.
Chakotay stood up. "Count down for
me Lt. I need exact distances for this is going to be very close."
"Yes sir," Harry replied
The Borg opened a COM link to start their infamous
is futile… You will be assimilated. Your biol--"
"Shut that off!" Chakotay
"Get ready Tuvok."
Nerves became tense on the bridge except
for the Vulcan who remained outwardly calm despite an inner concern for
his Captain and Seven of Nine's well being.
"Drop the charge!"
Tuvok complied quickly resulting in a
small round metallic object being ejected out of Voyager's torpedo bay
directly into the path of the oncoming Borg fleet.
The lead Borg vessel stopped to scan the
"Signal our allies to go to Warp!”
“Activate it!" The acting Captain
shouted. Just as Voyager and their companion vessels twisted the
surrounding space to enter a stable warp field bubble, the device
A millisecond later, three ships cruised
through space at high warp as a large fiery explosion ripped through
over a dozen Borg cubes. Devastation resulted to anything within its
grasp as the wave of destruction continued to expand.
"The shockwave is gaining on
us!" Tuvok shouted from above the squeal of the overtaxed engines.
"Tom! I need more speed!"
"We're already at 9.5!"
"Bring it up to 9.975!"
"That's only a theoretically maximum
speed!" Tom argued.
The engines screamed for mercy as Voyager
leaped out in front of the shock wave just as it was about to overtake
the Intrepid class vessel. Then the blast subsided, dissipating in the
wind, as if it had never existed.
"Bring us back down Tom."
"The energy has dissipated. It is no
longer a threat." The Vulcan informed them.
"Damage?" The First Officer
"Minimal with some minor injuries
Lt. Kim eyes widened. "Um, sir.
There’s another Borg cube, dead ahead."
Chakotay looked to the viewscreen with a
determined face. I couldn't have planned it better. "Tom,
Bring us in close. Harry, scan for any human life signs. Tuvok, send a
volley of non concussive force torpedoes to their shield array. We need
to disable it, not destroy it."
Hold on Kathryn!
The cube rocked harshly from side to side
as a volley of torpedoes struck its outer hull.
As a dejected Seven contemplated her role
in the demise of the entire Alpha Quadrant, the force field holding the
two women captive fizzled out. Without hesitation, Janeway grabbed the
blonde and dragged her out of the Queen's lair.
Busy concentrating on the attack, to
survey the extent of the damage done to her fleet, the Borg leader
failed to notice their movement.
destroyed, two critically damaged, one currently inoperable.”
reinforcements, priority one!”
Then sensing Seven’s confusion, the Queen looked
around to notice her captives were gone. "Follow
them and assim… " Pausing she considered her actions.
She had to admit these humans were the most aggravating species she had
ever come across, but as un-Borg like and inefficient as it was, she
wanted the redhead to witness her species’ destruction, wanted to
break Janeway’s spirit first… and coerce Seven to willingly become
her successor. Therefore, patience was necessary. "
No… Bring them to me unassimilated!" What did they not understand
about 'resistance is futile!?’
After three corridors and numerous turns
to avoid drones, Seven came to her senses and asserted herself.
"Captain! What are you doing? Where are you taking me?"
Janeway glared back at her charge.
"Seven we don't have time to argue about this right now. Come
The stubborn woman broke the grip Janeway
had on her hand. "I will do as I please. You are no longer my
Peering around the young woman, Janeway
kept her eye out for any drones. Thankfully none were present in their
corridor, but she knew that wouldn't hold true for long.
Janeway tried hard to ignore the biting
words. "We have to put some distance between us and the Queen's
lair if we want to escape. She has a dispersal field that Voyager's
transporters cannot penetrate. You know that, so why are you
Kathryn walked right up to the perturbed
former Borg. "Are you purposely trying to get us killed?!”
Acting oddly aloof, Seven could only
stare at her former Captain. "No."
“Then what? Do you want to be
assimilated Seven!?" Janeway demanded.
“No!” Seven stated loudly despite
appearing lost in conflicting emotions.
"I can't imagine what I must have
done to make you this angry that you wouldn't trust me anymore, but try
to understand I'm just trying to save our lives!"
Just then two Borg drones entered their
junction. Janeway swirled around as she heard the familiar clank of
their metallic feet on the floor plating.
"Damn!" Janeway spat. "We
have to go, NOW!"
"I agree," Seven stated evenly
apparently coming to her senses about the situation. Turning, they went
in the opposite direction managing to get two corridors farther before
six more drones blocked their path.
Stopping abruptly, Janeway shook her head
grimly. "We're trapped."
"I will get us past
them," Speaking with resolve, Seven moved passed her companion to
engage them, but Janeway grabbed her arm from behind.
"No Seven... "
The blonde looked to Janeway, confounded.
“We must fight!” She protested.
"There's too many of them. The Queen
is going to assimilate us. It's just a matter of time."
“Captain?!” Seven could not believe
her ears. Since when did Janeway admit defeat?
Janeway stared avidly back at her charge,
desperation in her eyes. "There's something I must do before
that happens." Janeway took in a deep breath. "And I hope
you'll forgive me for being so bold."
Confused and shaken, Seven looked down at
the small hand she felt covering her mesh appendage. She half heard the
words, but had no time to consider the meaning. When she lifted her face
again, warm thin lips and a small compact form were firmly pressed up
Without permission, Janeway gently tasted
of the plump red lips before her until she felt them literally dissolve
For a split second, Kathryn had known a
profound peace and experienced a rare pleasure until the sensual contact
of their lips touching vanished only to be replaced by emptiness.
The blonde was gone.
The Federation Starship, USS Voyager
closely followed the Queen's vessel with its two allies not far behind.
All three ships were pelting the armor plated cube with photon
"I've got Seven!" Harry
"Their shield generator is back
up." Tuvok stated.
"I can't get a lock on the Captain
while their shields are up." Harry announced.
"Keep firing!" Chakotay
demanded as Seven materialized on the bridge. Swirling around with a
grimace on her face, she spotted the individual responsible for her
sudden extrication and moved aggressively to stand before him.
"Send me back!" She shouted at
He didn't appreciate how ungrateful she
was. "I can't, it was a miracle we got you out in the first
"You mean you won't!"
"He's right Seven," The EMH
spoke up. "If we do you could die… assuming the Queen has you
linked to her like the last time. She does, doesn't she?"
"Irrelevant, the Captain will die if
I do not return."
"She might die anyway."
Chakotay blurted out.
"Can you get a lock Harry!" He
shouted over his shoulder.
"No, and they’ve initiated a
scattering field. I'm having trouble just locating her bio signature.
There's just too much interference." He said frustrated.
"You will send me back!" Seven
Tuvok took the opportunity to clarify
what Seven didn't understand. "We are about to release a fatal
pathogen into the Borg vessel. It would not be wise for you to be
onboard when that occurs."
"I accept my fate… " Seven
stated clearly. "but I cannot accept this… not for her."
Chakotay eyed Seven.
Could it be possible, the young inexperienced woman felt something
beyond friendship for the Captain?
"I'm detecting dozens of Borg cubes
coming our way and fast.” Harry shouted.
“The Grefahl have withdrawn,” Tuvok
spoke up. “And the Kazarr are hailing us."
"Put it through."
"Commander Chakotay, have you
retrieved your crewmen? These Borg are formidable and I'm detecting more
on the way. We must leave now!”
"I can't. My Captain is still
onboard that cube and I'm not leaving without her."
"We've taken heavy damage. If we
stay we won't survive. How will that help your Captain?" Trezlar
"Go, I appreciate the assistance
you've given us, but this isn't your battle any more… "
"You're a brave species Commander,
good luck." He commented before closing the channel.
Now that he was finished, Seven continued
her tirade. "When I left several Borg drones were advancing on the
Captain's position. There's a possibility… that." She had
difficulty finishing the horrid thought.
"We're probably already too late,”
he softened his tone.
Harry watched his console readings as the
Kazarr joined the Grefahl in retreat. Then with fear constricting his
throat, he witnessed two dozen Borg vessels drop out of transwarp and
stop to hold position near Voyager. All were spread out over a radius of
five kilometers, surrounding the small Intrepid class vessel.
"Tom, full stop."
Mr. Paris brought the ship to a halt. He
had been busy utilizing every flight trick he knew in evading the
Queen's fire and was for the most part successful… until now. There
was no way Voyager could evade and fight so many vessels and survive.
"Tuvok, Hail the Queen's
vessel." Chakotay ordered quietly.
"She's responding." Harry spoke
"Put it through Mr. Kim."
When the image came into focus, Chakotay
saw the Borg Queen standing proudly next to a disheveled Janeway who was
being subdued by two drones.
"I am willing to negotiate for my
Captain’s safe return," he offered.
"The Borg do not
negotiate Commander. We take what we want."
"We have tri-cobalt devices."
He tried to intimidate her. "And I'm prepared to use them, if
the Queen drawled out with disdain. "I
have seen its effect. Very impressive, you cost me fifteen tactical
vessels. However, you only have one ship to lose and I have many.
Therefore, I suggest you surrender to the inevitable."
"I have an infectious pathogen that
kills Borg." Chakotay threatened.
The Queen looked upon him unfazed.
"There is no such
"You don't recall one of your
vessels succumbing to a rare biological abnormality last year? Perhaps
you haven't heard of a young man, named Icheb who was assimilated by
The Queen no longer appeared as confident
as the Collective informed her of the validity of Chakotay's statements.
Once again she underestimated the humans, much to her dissatisfaction.
"These are my terms.
I want Seven of Nine. You can have your Captain in exchange, then we
will be on my way."
"Don't listen to her Commander. Get
Voyager out of here--harrumph!"
The Queen was at her patience's end. Wordlessly, a command was
sent to the Borg drone to cover Captain's Janeway's mouth.
"And if I refuse?" Chakotay
glared at her, appearing non committal.
"Look around you.
You are surrounded. If you release the neurolytic pathogen, I will
assimilate your Captain and destroy Voyager before my cubes are totally
disabled. Our mutual annihilation is assured."
"You're forgetting the transwarp
hub. The pathogen will destroy that too, even from here… Your access
to the Alpha Quadrant or anywhere else for that matter would be severely
limited wouldn't it?" Chakotay was stalling for time.
The Queen's silver tipped eyes gleamed
through the viewscreen, assessing the potential threat of his words.
"I agree. You could do
a considerable amount of damage, but you won't. This standoff won't end
without heavy casualties on both sides Commander, also resulting in your
Captain’s death and I know you don’t want that. With my offer, she
will live… and I will let your ship go." For
Witnessing Seven’s look of disgust towards her
made the Queen almost smile. "You
are still connected to me child and you are not immune to the Pathogen
either…” The cold thoughts reached Seven's mind. “I
suggest you convince your Commander to accept my more than generous
offer… unless you would rather watch your Captain die."
Blanching at the prospect, Seven knew was
she had to do. The blonde touched Chakotay’s forearm gently. “Please
agree to her terms,” She entreated.
Chakotay glowered at her. "Do you know what
you’re asking me?!" Would Kathryn
ever forgive me?
“I am doing this for the Captain.”
Seven retorted quietly.
Fuming inside, but hoping she had a plan,
Chakotay reluctantly nodded. “I agree to your terms.”
“I need time to say goodbye to my
colleagues.” Seven demanded to the Queen.
"Very well, you have
After the Queen ended the communiqué,
Chakotay addressed Seven. “I hope you have a good plan.”
"It is quite simple. I will exchange
myself for the Captain."
"You can't be serious!" The EMH
objected, not wanting to see Seven risk her life again. "We can't
use the pathogen then!"
"You must," Seven stipulated.
"You'll be killed. How is that a
"The alternative is unacceptable.
You do not realize that the Queen plans to invade the Alpha Quadrant
with her entire fleet of Borg vessels. The transwarp hub contains an
exit aperture only one light year from Earth. Your world would not
"Then we will destroy it."
"It is unlikely you will destroy all
of it, but you will destroy Voyager and that is not necessary, when I
will go. That will give you time to escape with the Captain, but we must
He knew he had only two options and both
were not ideal. Only one choice could be made, he only hoped Kathryn
could forgive him for this… someday. Realizing the sacrifice, Seven
was making for them, Chakotay lightened his voice. "What do you
have in mind?"
"Doctor, I need a concentrated
sample of the pathogen before I transport to the Borg cube.”
"This is insane!" The Doctor
spat as he came down to the lower level. "You'll die."
“Irrelevant!” Seven spat. “We must
hurry. The Queen will become aware of my plan in mere minutes.”
Seven turned to Chakotay. “I’m going
to transporter room one. Demand a simultaneous transport with the
Captain so the Borg Queen cannot go back on her word."
Feeling the weight of his command
decision squarely on his shoulders, the Commander nodded.
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