by Elizabeth Carter
Their lovemaking had been slow paced and silent. Not simply out of parental consideration for the children camping out on the floor in the common room but because both Seven and B'Elanna needed it to be so. They needed the reassurance of tenderness and quiet touch. The harsh, cold, sterile environment of the Borg, plus the frantic hurried rush of the rescue had affected the women more than either of them wanted to admit.
After viewing the daunting prance of the 'dead' Borg Vessel out their porthole window, Seven had nearly withdrawn into herself. It was a tactic B'Elanna was all too familiar with. It was one she used herself. The young Klingon was still shocked by the moments of sheer insecurity in her wife's heart. Of course, in those moments the Borg-ness would become more prevalent within Seven, becoming a means to protect herself.
'May I simply be your wife for a while? I am weary of the fight, of the Borg, of all else. How can it be that I am suddenly so human, when the Borg whisper in my mind?'
Those words haunted B'Elanna even as her wife drifted into sleep. "I vowed I'd protected you, Benel. And I will. I love you." the Klingon fell asleep with the vow still moist upon her breath.
They woke with their bodies mingled. B'Elanna's grip was possessive as her head and torso were pillowed upon the soft fullness of her wife's breasts and stomach, her arm flung over the taller woman's gaunt waist, her legs entwined with the longer limbs.
Seven had her left hand within her beloved's thick curly black locks of hair while her right was laying on top of B'Elanna's arm that held her waist.
B'Elanna inhaled the rich scent of her wife: honey and metal. A scent she had privately always enjoyed ever since Seven of Nine had first come aboard Voyager. It was one of the reasons B'Elanna was always agitated around the former Borg, her Klingon side was rising to a most primal call. Drawing in another breath, B'Elanna smiled, thinking the faint musk of her wife called not only to the Klingon in her, but the engineer. She was not yet awake, and in her sleep the hybrid Klingon's possessive hold became even more covetous. Bella loved to snuggle in the lanky embrace of her Nic. For some reason everything in that small moment felt right in the world.
Snuggling deeper into the arms, B'Elanna caught a whiff of something that wasn't at all Seven.
"I think it is the burning flesh of swine," the blonde said without being asked.
"Bacon and sausage, Nic." The Klingon pushed herself up off of her wife, to gain another scent of the meat cooking, before laying her head back down up her supple human-Borg pillow.
"I am unfamiliar with the butchery bio-mater of the species."
"Trust me. This nose knows bacon and sausage."
"We must have long overslept if the children are preparing morning nutritional supplement."
"Making their own breakfast. Yeah, kids do that. At least it isn't replicated sugar cereals," B'Elanna said through a yawn.
B'Elanna hugged her wife tighter before untangling her body from that of Seven's. She stretched like the sleek feline she resembled. Seven was amused by the unconscious routine B'Elanna preformed each morning. Running her hands through the thick mane caused it to tussle in a tangled mess and made Seven giggle.
"You resemble a thistle blossom," Seven said, reaching out to smooth the tangled mess.
"Thanks, Blondie!" B'Elanna retaliated by reaching behind her, grabbing one of the pillows and smacking Seven in the face with it.
Seven ripped the pillow from her wife's grasp, chucked it on the floor, and then easily pinned the diminutive hybrid to the mattress. The blonde made a move to kiss her wife, but just as her full lips descended Seven rolled over and stood up, leaving a frustrated Klingon laying on the bed. "I need to shower. And so do you. We carry the aroma of our lovemaking and it would not due for the children to be aware of our nocturnal activities."
"Hate to tell you, Annika, I think our kiddos already know about 'our nocturnal activities'."
"Exposure and knowledge are two different things, Bella," Seven stated matter-of-factly.
It took B'Elanna's trained ear to hear the fluctuation in the otherwise normal monotone of Seven's voice. You simply had to pay attention, much like she had with the Warpcore. The Chief of Engineering was so well aware of her engines that she could detect the smallest change of calibration in the Warpcore by sound and feel alone. It was the exact same with Seven of Nine, and B'Elanna loved the secret knowledge.
"However, if you do not wish to join me in efforts to conserve energy that is your choice. As you say 'suit yourself.'
"What, me waste an opportunity to have you all to myself? If that is what you think, Blondie, think again," B'Elanna answered in her normal antagonistic voice that had once been used in arguments with the former Borg. This time, of course, there was a wide, bright smile on the elegant caramel face. "And besides, it's like you said, conserve energy." She bounded up onto her feet, causing her to stand upon the bed before she jumped off to tail her wife into the bathroom.
The three children gathered in the kitchen looked at one another and started to snicker.
"Parents." The three rolled their eyes and shook their heads.
"They are soooo weird," Naomi concluded. "They are all the same. Just like Neelix and Mom when they think I am not listening, trying to be all sneaky."
"Do they actually think their subterfuge works?" Icheb asked.
"They must," Mizoti answered. "Else why continue to attempt the concealment of their sexual activity?"
"Because they need to believe they are protecting their children," Naomi said. "I guess they think they are sheltering us from the reality of their private activities. You know the whole Adult Conspiracy thingy."
"Protocols all adults adhere too," Mizoti reasoned. "Some of these protocols are inefficient."
"Well, that's adults for you." Naomi shook her head.
"Indeed. Even at sixteen I am to follow protocols that are becoming more and more inefficient simply because of my age. They say I have raging hormones. It was something the older generation say which they expect me to keep private," Icheb pointed out.
"What's that?" Naomi rose a Seven-like eyebrow.
"Sounds like Pon-farr," Mizoti reasoned.
"I believe so. Apparently all teenagers my age enter such a state," Icheb said.
Both Naomi and Mizoti wrinkled their noses in distaste. "So you have to have a mate?" both girls asked in unison.
Icheb blushed. "We will no longer discuss this."
"So you do have to mate!" both girls squealed.
"Enough, or I will send you both out an airlock," the boy grumbled, his face becoming even more crimson. He was ashamed that he had certain dreams about several female crew members, including the Captain, that left him in a very awkward state upon wakening in the morning. He had spent several rations on bed sheets alone because of the afflicting condition he woke up in.
"He must be adhering to the Adult Conspiracy protocols. He even growled like a grown up," Mizoti said while ignoring her brother.
"Indeed. He must have no choice but to switch sides. Having to take part in the Adult Conspiracy and all. Maybe resistance is futile here, too."
"Hey, I am standing right here!" Icheb snapped.
"Yes, well, you switched sides on us so we don't have to talk to you," Mizoti said. "Besides, it's umm....girl talk."
"No, it isn't. You're talking about me." Icheb crossed his arms trying his best to formulate the Janeway-Force Ten Glare. "And I said quiet."
"You're not the boss of us," once more both girls intoned defiantly.
"Yeah, and besides, YOU started it anyway. WE just want to know."
"Zot's right, it's not fair you get to know stuff about the Adult Conspiracy and not tell us. You are still kind of a kid."
"I am not a child." Icheb was losing his patience. "You two are too little to understand."
"He's gone now," Naomi said. "That is the first sign.... Next thing you know he'll say stuff like 'it's good for you.'"
"And 'because I said so, that's why,'" Mizoti pointed out.
"Sisters are so stupid," the young Brunali grumbled, wishing he could make good on his threat and send the little twits out the airlock.
"Sounds like an argument brewing in there," B'Elanna said, her head inside the gray shirt she was slipping over her head.
"Perhaps we should intervene," Seven commented, standing in her typical ramrod straight pose with her hands firmly clasped behind her back. The only difference was she was stark naked.
"Nope. Let them work it out from themselves. Builds character. If they decide to start using Bat'laths .......then we step in."
"Yep. Angel-Face, they can't think they can go crying to the moms every time just become of some sibling hiccup. And Itch is a big boy. He can take care of himself."
"B'Elanna, you are forgetting that the girls sabotaged Voyager, escaped sickbay, stole our ship, and were about to engage the Borg." The blonde titled her head ever so slightly.
"And Itch is our son...he can handle it if you let him. Oh, speaking of our ship. I think it's time we check up on our little living vessel," the smaller woman said, trying to ignore her wife's lack of clothing. "You might want to put something on..."
"I enjoyed the ritual of you getting dressed," Seven remarked. "You are very beautiful, Bella."
And for the first time in a long time B'Elanna stood proud and believed the words that were spoken to her. Besides, her wife never uttered a falsehood. It was too inefficient. In response B'Elanna simply kissed the full lips of her wife and smiled. "Glad you enjoyed the show Nic, now it's your turn. I want my show."
"Very well." Seven allowed her lips to pull into a smirk.
The children had outdone themselves: omelettes with portobello mushrooms, pearl onions, red, yellow and green bell peppers, and pepperjack cheese, hash browns, oatmeal with honey and, of course, the bacon and sausage. They had not stopped there. They served raktajino and replicated racht (a Klingon dish made from live serpent worms not to be confused with gagh.) Of course, the racht wasn't live but it would do, even for Miral's cynical stomachs.
With a satisfied belly of her own B'Elanna watched over her new family and found a slim smile tickling the corners of her mouth. She could hear her mother calling Seven Stick Girl and questioning the blonde on how she and B'Elanna first met. Of course the children had all leaned forward over the scraps of breakfast left over on their plates.
For a moment Seven was quiet, then started to explain how Voyager had made a deal with the Borg.
After last night's admittance, B'Elanna half expected her wife to shut down and side step the topic. But the soft monotone voice of Seven of Nine never wavered. So perfect in deliverance, it actually set off alarm bells in the young Klingon. Perfect, removed, and monotone. Only recently, Seven ....no ....Annika, started to adopt just the slightest hint of emotion in her voice. Now it was the pure voice of an ex-drone. The voice of a would-be Queen.
B'Elannra rose from the chair, saying nothing as she put a hand upon the blonde's shoulder. Not caring who was watching, the Klingon stroked Seven's cheek, lifted the angler chin before pressing a kiss upon the full lips. "I'll be back in a little while," she winked. "Stay out of trouble, Benel."
"It is not I that enlists trouble, BangwI. You court danger well enough on your own."
"I didn't just court danger, Nic, I married her." Smiling, she left the quarters before Seven could utter a retort.
"B'Elanna, aren't you supposed to be on medical leave?" was the greeting Captain Kathryn Janeway gave her Chief of Engineering as the young woman walked into the ready room.
B'Elanna ran a stiff hand through her sable hair before bringing her eyes to rest upon the woman she admired. "Actually, yeah... but I am here on personal business if you have a moment, Captain."
Janeway could see the weary expression in the eyes of the younger woman. More than that, she saw the dark circles under the chocolate orbs, the hollowness in the cheeks. This was a woman who had not slept well. But then given the recent events in the past few days it wasn't surprising that B'Elanna found sleep a rare commodity.
B'leanna was paying for Seven's workaholic abuse of the Klingon's body. For the Captain it didn't matter who was in the body at the time, because the body would still look as it did now if B'Elanna had been in her own skin during the Borg conflict. In fact, Kathryn thought Seven had employed better maintenance over the body of her wife than B'Elanna would have during those trying days when the Queen had the ex-drone.
Of course, add to the mix that Miral, daughter of L'Naan of House Prasba, was now aboard Voyager or, more importantly, the fact that she was actually alive. That had to play harshly on B'Elanna's young heart. And on top of that, two errant girls, intent on mimicking their heroes, had set Voyager on its teeth and forced Janeway into a position the Captain had not liked. Punishing her crew.
The fiery captain rounded her desk and placed a soothing hand upon the younger woman's arm, her smile warm and affectionate. The smile of a mentor and confidant. "What is it, B'Elanna?" Janeway asked, dropping rank, allowing her Chief to know they were now off the record-s and off the esoteric protocols of chain of command.
They moved to the secondary level of the Ready Room and sat upon the sofa, in quasi-relaxed state.
"That Borg ship out there. I..." B'Elanna stopped for a moment, chastising herself for her momentary weakness. 'May I simply be your wife for a while? I am weary of the fight, of the Borg, of all else. How can it be that I am suddenly so human, when the Borg whisper in my mind?' "I think it's in the best interest to destroy it. Harvest what we can, but we have to destroy it, Captain."
"It's affecting Seven." Janeway knew. She really didn't have to ask the question. The older woman knew the answer. In fact, having that thing trail them as it was, made the Captain wonder if the threat of the disabled Borg ship was truly over. "Lieutenant Commander Tuvok has also suggested using a little prudence when dealing the Borg. It should be exorcized. I agree."
"Captain....the strain on Seven is too high. She lapsed into Borg-speak this morning." The Klingon sucked in a long breath of air before slowly exhaling. "You are the only other person I know that can pick out the sounds of emotion in my wife's voice. Or the expressions in her face. I know I was physically there on the Diamond, but Seven has direct access to the memory of the event and she will recall it as if she had lived it. Damn it, I wanted to protect her from that, protect her from the Queen."
"You did B'Elanna, don't castigate yourself with imagined wrongs." The older woman replaced her hand on B'Elanna's shoulder and squeezed. "Having gone head to head with the Queen, I know how she can twist things, get under your skin, and I've seen first hand what she is capable of with Seven. For eighteen years the Queen had absolute dominance over Seven of Nine. She had 'the' drones absolute devotion. Now Seven is free and she is so new to everything. Like fresh skin over a wound, she is fragile but strong. Had she been on that ship with the Queen I have no doubt things would have been worse."
"Seven would never betray us!" B'Elanna flared suddenly, thinking that the Captain was accusing her wife of treason.
"No. No, Lanna. Listen, you know I don't think that. You also know that without question Seven would give herself up for us. In fact, she had, only you took her place. What I am saying is that had you not switched with her, Seven would have, out of good intentions of saving us and helping those she loves, allowed anything the Queen wanted to do to her personally to happen."
B'Elanna thought of the forced kiss and the threat the queen had made, that if B'Elanna, while in Seven's body, had not complied in kissing the Queen, the metallic menace would have ordered the nanoprobes to destroy Voyager.
Then of course there had been the incident B'Elanna had gone through to insure that Miral would be okay. The Klingon shuddered at the recall, knowing that Seven, too, would have to live with the memory of the Queen touching the ex-drone's body. Worse, B'Elanna had to be willing. Of course, Seven would have been more traumatized by the incident had she been there in person. The Klingon had tried to meditate, tried to lock that horrific memory up with the dozen other nightmares Seven had secured away in the farthest reaches of her memory.
"How are you doing, by the way? That could not have been easy for you."
"Not my idea of fun, having to listen to that bitch tell what she thought was my wife that she, not I, was her mate. That she made Seven for herself, chose her, and that they were complete together. I was locked into some sort of memory recall while Seven's body was regenerating. I saw as Seven was taken as a girl once more, forced in front of the queen and forced to go with the Second. Did you now the Queen we knew wasn't even the same Queen that was in reign when they took Annika? They looked a lot a like, but they weren't the same.
"Yes, that particular Queen died at Wolf 359. Her prime was the one that tried to assimilate Earth in the past but was once more confronted with Captain Picard," Janeway said. "It is information given to Starfleet Captains, B'Elanna. It wasn't for the consumption of the general officers of Starfleet." the captain added when she saw the stymied, near angry, look in her Chief Engineer.
"Well, did you know it was the Wolf Queen that forced Annika....Seven….. to assimilate Locutus?"
Kathryn was shocked. Apparently she hadn't known that bit. Jean-Luc had always claimed the Queen was there for the assimilation. Those in Starfleet had assumed it was the Queen herself that assimilated the Captain of the Enterprise.
"Well, she did," B'Elanna continued without missing a beat, "because the Queen wanted a mate but six degrees removed from herself. The Prime was the time traveler and her second was the bitch we know. The bitch assimilated my wife completely so that Nic would be her Prime if the time came. You know why my mother was on the Diamond?"
"That does have me confused, I must say. That doesn't seem to be typical Borg behavior," Janeway answered.
"Our Queen decided the best way to destroy the link Nic and I have was to use my own mother against her. Nic was to assimilate my mother as her Prime! My mother to be a weapon against Nic. My Nic! My mother...Kah'less, Captain. If Seven had been there she would have been mortified that Miral was even taken from her home all because the Queen wanted to use her. And I know my Benel, she would have taken that blame simply because she was there. Because the whole motive for my mother to be the Prime was to hurt my wife, and it would have worked."
"Does Seven now blame herself?" Kathryn grew more and more concerned.
"No. She sees that I am happy to know my mother is alive. Though I think I should be a little worried over those two having their heads together." This last bit was added with a smile.
B'Elanna rose from the sofa and moved to the large port window, her eyes falling upon the dilapidated Borg vessel. "We have to destroy it, Captain. And we have to let Seven do it."
The younger woman started when she felt the hand of her mentor and captain on her shoulder. "You've traveled a great distance, B'Elanna, daughter of Miral. So different than the angry woman I once knew."
"No. Never broken, Lanna. You're focused, you've found a direction and your equal. Tom Paris was..I am sorry, all wrong for you. He would have tried to mold you into an antiquated female of Earth's past with no claws and that isn't you, B'Elanna. You didn't need to be tamed, you needed direction. I see before me a woman who has faced so many challenges equal to Seven reclaiming her humanity. Thank you for protecting her, loving her."
B'Elanna stared into the refection of her captain in the dark window. "But you're sorry that it isn't you."
"I .....I have Amanda, B'Elanna." Kathryn quickly said. "I know what you think, what others might think, hell, what my Amanda might think. That she is somehow Seven's understudy. But...I knew Amanda first. She was little more than a wounded bird needing someone to look out for her...I have always had a soft spot for wounded birds on the lunatic fringe. First a feral young woman in the ruins of New Hope, you....Seven.......
"Maybe all that time I was looking for Amanda in Seven, and when she found you, it made me realize what I had forgotten....whom it was I was truly looking for. I won't pretend that part of me wasn't defensive when Seven found love that wasn't mine. But losing her to you, it is bearable. She needs you, B'Elanna. But don't forget it's okay to need her too. I know she loves you."
B'Elanna turned, astonished at the sincere relaxation into the private truth of Kathryn Janeway's heart.
"I've already assigned three away teams on a salvage mission to extract what we can. Hopefully the Borg slip-steam and transwarp drives are repairable. Once we assess the usability of the drives, I want you and Seven to begin integrating them into Voyager. Hopefully the Borg have given us a way home."
Home, the Alpha Quadrant.
For those Voyager had left behind, it was almost too easy to forget the lost ship that the Delta Quadrant had swallowed because of the Caretaker. Sometimes there were grim reminders of the tiny vessel fighting to get back home, reminders that periodically cropped up.
The screen flashed with an urgent message from Starfleet. The fact it was routed directly to the Captain's Ready Room gained Picard's undivided attention. The blue / black shied of the United Federation of Planets was replaced with the Level Ten Captain's Eyes Only Communication logo.
Typing in his encryption code, Picard watched as the screen blanked out and was replaced with the face of Admiral Alynna Necheyev, the new Director of Starfleet Intelligence's Covert Operations. The Admiral had taken a position several years ago with the Covert Operations and Deep Cover when she and several others of the Command staff learned of conspiracies in the Federation with supporters and sympathizers of the Maquis Resistance. She was, after all, a hardened advocate and abolitionist against the Maquis and she had no love for the Borg. She had ordered Hugh to be used as a bio-weapon against the Borg, refusing to believe the 'thing' could be any more than a mechanized terror and not a frightened teenager who was severed from the cybernetic menses.
If she had a religion, a single faith, it was the goals of the Federation and to Starfleet, which at times were not mutually exclusive. So deep was her passion for Starfleet she was a perfect agent for Section 31, as well as director for Starfleet Intelligence. Anyone who was within the Federation and spoke against it was either a conspirator, and must be therefore eliminated, or a security Risk and terrorist sympathizer, and like wise must be eliminated. The advent of Voyager's communication with Project Pathfinder and the briefings Starfleet was receiving made for some very nervous heads of state. It was Necheyev who would root out insurrectionists and Maquis supporters and order their 'reeducation.'
Voyager had met with many new species, confronted countless anomalies and had access to new technology, including the Borg and a defense against them. But the aging woman did not trust Kathryn Janeway, after learning she was giving sanctuary to the Borg. Because of the quantity and quality of technology Voyager had access to, Necheyev was convinced that should their enemies, or even 'allies' such as the Klingons, get a hold of this information, it could spell doom for her precious Federation. That was something Necheyev would not allow. Better Voyager stay lost than to come home.
For a time Voyager was ruled out as a sympathizer to the Orion Syndicate because of the several thousand light years between the quadrants, but Voyager had had a Cardassian spy who had betrayed the vessel to the enemy known as the Kazon. Apparently Janeway was not an adept enough leader to root out spies among her own crew. Worse yet, she allowed a Maquis captain to be her first officer. It was something Necheyev found unforgivable.
"Admiral Necheyev," Picard started, "How can I be of assistance?"
"Captain Picard, I'll make this brief." The sterling silver haired woman said in a clipped, smokey voice. "It has come to our attention that you will be meeting with The Klingon Chancellor in three days."
"I am." The admiral was in charge of Starfleet Security and so it was of no surprise that she would be communicating with Picard, but the captain suspected this communication would be far more than a briefing on his mission objective.
"It is of course well known that you served as the Klingon Arbiter of Succession and you are one of the few humans they actually respect. Use your position to try to quell their battle lust. The Federation cannot withstand a war with the Empire. Insure that this incident with the Maquis, the Borg, and the missing Councillor's wife are not used to incite against the Federation.
"The Borg are the worst enemy we have ever encountered, and the Maquis' actions against the Federation are a plague upon the sanctity of what we believe in. They must be eliminated. And if necessary, Voyager will shoulder the responsibility for this new development with the Borg. I am sending you several logs of one Commander Ameil Chakotay; he has some interesting observations concerning Captain Janeway and the Borg."
"We are using Captain Janeway as an escape goat? Admiral, I've knowing Janeway for some time. She is not easily persuaded." Captain Picard frowned
"She is too lenient on the lost causes, Captain. In fact, it is her greatest weakness. I've read her file. Despite protocol, her first such instance was with one Amanda Rothery, a child refugee of the New Hope colony. She pleaded with her CO to take the refugee child into custody. In not following her orders to neutralize the Maquis, it is evidently apparent she has taken them into her crew manifest. In her alliance with the Borg, which Commander Chakotay had fervently opposed, she ordered the severance of the liaison 'because she felt sorry' for that thing."
"Lieutenant Rothery is an exemplary officer, Admiral, because of Captain Janeway's influence. I know first hand. I had the pleasure of her service aboard Enterprise . If Kathryn has taken the Maquis aboard Voyager to become apart of her crew, then she had to do so out of extreme measures. Janeway lives by the laws of Starflee., I cannot believe she would waver."
"Extreme circumstances as you have said, Jean-Luc. Things have changed. Janeway is suspected of going rouge. Read the transcripts, Captain, and you will understand why she is under investigation for treasonous acts by consorting with the Borg, and why she is suspect in this new development in the Collective. Go to the Klingons, Captain, and stop a diplomatic incident that will surly lead to war if not contained. You have your orders, Jean-Luc. Read the logs and proceed according as planned."
Jean-Luc could not mistake the hidden agenda to make Voyager the perfect scapegoat. She had the Prime in her custody, the Captain was but in a romantic affiliation with the drone and they were in the Delta Quadrant where the Borg hailed from, and Voyager was host to survivors of the Maquis Resistance. In fact, Voyager was all too perfect. And that bothered the Captain.
"Just remember, Captain Picard, anyone collaborating with the Borg, an enemy of the Federation, loses all rights as a federation citizen."
That was true. Anyone suspected of Borg involvement and influence lost all rights as a citizen and therefore could be detained without question, and could be detained a full year without specific charges being filed if sufficient evidence could be provided that the individual was being manipulated by the Borg. Inherent rights were waived and imprisonment inevitable. Kathryn Janeway was indeed being manipulated by the Borg, as were all others aboard Voyager, for aiding and abetting the Borg drones and one of the Primes.
The Borg was a Federation wide threat, and Starfleet was not above blaming the only likely source of this discord that was now rippling through both the Alpha and Beta Quadrants.
Captain Jean-Luc Picard moaned in his sleep. They kept coming and coming and coming. Mindless drones with red lasers for eyes and spikes and claws and pinchers for hands. Their faces were mottled gray with throbbing black veins snaking across them, and their bodies encased in black armor. They had once been people, but now they were nothing. All their humanity stripped, their passion eroded and fear, joy, love eradicated as mercilessly severed as their varicose limbs had been.
He kept firing his phaser, but they adapted and the blasts streamed across them as water. Somehow the weapon in his hands now held an antique tommy-gun and still he could not stop them all. His ears strained for the voice of the single entity that controlled them all. The Queen.
He knew he had to track her down. He had to kill her. But she was not to be found. The mammoth tide of Borg suddenly parted and Picard found himself staring at a huddled mass of people. Curious, he stepped closer, watching. Shocked to find they were all drones. Children, all children. Why were they outside the hideous maturation chambers that forced their growth and downloaded all protocols of the Hive Mind.
*Locutus. Welcome home.* It was her. The Queen. He watched as the snaking black tubes took hold of the torso of the Queen, her spinal column writhing back and forth in the manner of a cat's tail. The sleek body, encased in shining black, acceded from the metal floor of the Chamber. When he looked again he saw this Queen was not his Queen. This one had a crown of gold.
*I am the all, the Borg. I no longer require your presence as my mate, I have found my omega, my perfection, in another, Locutus of Borg. However, the Collective has need of you.*
Picard woke with a start, his breath heavy in his lungs. Reaching for the lamp on his bedside table, he inadvertently knocked over a glass of water, causing it to clatter to the floor and break. Looking at the shards of glass, he thought how like his life after the Borg they were. Shattered. But he had not had such dreams since his last encounter with the Collective and....her.
Going to the bathroom he washed his face, trying to rinse away the nightmare that was still lingering. When he rose to look in the mirror he half expected to see an implant erupt on his cheek and the optical attachment to sprout forth. His face, of course, remained whole.
'Why now?' he asked his reflection. But he knew his answer. It lay within the communication he had the day before which, of course, had lead to his subsequent meeting with Counselor Troi. 'Of course, Seven of Nine.....She would bring Locutus to the surface.'
The Borg had many advantages, but one thing they could not escape, and that was almost a disadvantage, was the nearly flawless logic by which they operated. Organic beings could bluff, go off on tangents, have inspired insights. But the Borg were ruthless in their functioning as a cohesive whole, The Collective, as they were in their decimation of worlds. Picard knew better than anyone, save this Seven of Nine, how to exploit the Borg. Everything the Borg did was in response of the Queen. The queen made the drones. How then was a Queen created? Of course she was an organic being who would have had to become not just Borg but almost a super-Borg. She was the complete operating system for the entire Hive Mind. She was more than a single being, she was the program, the software made flesh and machine.
The Borg had figured out how to create a god, or perhaps a goddess, from a machine. Take an organic being, make her Borg and give her access to Royal Protocol and behold a Queen is born. This is how all Queens were made. You couldn't ever kill the Queen, because the Queen wasn't a person. It....she...was....a program. It was simple, easy and terrifying.
From his dream, Picard could not shake the image of this elusive and complex woman that called herself Seven of Nine. What better way to defeat the humans than to have a drone infiltrate under the impression she was severed from the Collective, only to learn later that she was merely gaining INTEL to use against humanity. Seven of Nine would be able to do what the former Queens had not yet fully managed, the completely assimilation of humans. And she was doing so through one Kathryn Janeway and her runaway libido.
Picard had seen the before and after holographs of this Seven of nine. Despite the Borg deformities she was a remarkably gorgeous woman. No wonder Admiral Necheyev was concerned. Janeway was apparently putty in this Borg's hands.
Sighing, the captain went back into his bedroom, cleaned up the shards of glass, and threw a towel down upon the damp spot on the carpet before he crawled back into bed. This time his sleep was not interrupted by dreams.
Commander Deanna Troi, Ship's Counselor, stationed aboard the Federation Starship USS Enterprise-E, made her way to her captain's ready room. For the past two weeks she had been Earth-side attending a medical / psychological seminar. Her dear friend Doctor Beverly Crusher had attended with her and when they weren't at the convention center they spent time at the beach.
That was when REginald Barclay had found her and tried to convince his superiors that the Pathfinder Project to contact Voyager would work. Two weeks later they had made the first contact with the lost ship and her heroes in four years. Reg was now working on a way to extend that contact. In fact, everyone on the project was thrilled it had worked. And no doubt those aboard Voyager must have been thrilled to have been given the chance to call home. In fact, this contact was the very reason Deanna was now on her way to Captain Picard's ready room.
"Captain, you called me, sir?" Deanna asked after she had been given permission to enter the Ready room. Her large, dark, doe eyes first fell, as they always did, upon the bubble fish tank along the east bulkhead.
"Counselor." The Captain was standing by his replicator. "Would you like anything?"
"No, not right now, thank you."
A tilt of the bald cranium and Picard turned back to the replicator. "Earl Gray, hot." He watched as the requested cup and saucer materialized on the black-green grid and took the tea in hand. For a moment he thought of Voyager. "You know, Kathryn Janeway would have, for the past seven years, had to ration the replicator for each crew member. It is something that we in the Alpha Quadrant take for granted." He looked at the tea cup with a little more gratitude. "We take so much for granted. I have to credit Captain Janeway in the way she has been able to keep her people protected and sound."
"I get the feeling you didn't call me here to talk about your admiration for Captain Janeway." Troi folded her hands across one knee as she always did when conversing with her Captain.
"No exactly." Picard took a small sip of his tea before he set it down on the end table near the sofa Deanna was sitting on and sat down next to her. "But I do need to get your reaction to our lost Captain."
"I know you can't 'read' her at this distance, but in your professional opinion what is your assessment of Kathryn Janeway?"
"Before I answer, is this Captain Picard asking, or a concerned colleague, or Jean-Luc."
"Does it matter?"
"In my answer, no, but how I answer, it might, sir."
"Then I am Captain Jean-Luc Picard, concerned colleague."
Deanna allowed a sincere smile to find her eloquent face. "I think she has had to face some trials other Captains only train for in the academy as a scenario. She is remarkably resourceful and ardently adheres to Starfleet protocols to tie her and her crew to something of home. "
"That was the answer you gave Admiral Paris, Counselor. What is the answer you give me."
" Sir, for seven years the crew of Voyager has had to overcome so much and without anything familiar. They had to rely on the generosity of complete strangers to gain any aid they needed. They had to overcome the deaths of crew-members, they have a EMH Mark One as their CMO, they have an integrated crew of Starfleet and Maquis and a few civilians. They also have to deal with traitorous members of the Equinox, who just happened to have been responsible for the near genocide of a species and for the torture of one of their crew members."
"One of their crew members...." Picard murmured. "You mean Seven of Nine Tertiary Adjunct Unimatrix Zero One." There was a coldness to the voice of Picard that Deanna hadn't heard for two years, since the incident of the Borg Incursion and their subsequent attempt to assimilate Earth's past. Last night's dream hadn't helped his perceptions of the remarkable woman.
"I believe they just call her Seven," Deanna said gently. She could sense the rise of the man's anger and the coldness startled her.
"Her time in the Delta Quadrant has given Janeway a touch of the renegade. She has become sympathetic to the Borg, at least that is what Starfleet Command believes."
"Do you?" Troi turned the question around. "Sir, Janeway and those if the Voyager crew probably know the Borg better than anyone in the Alpha quadrant. They lost their fear of the Borg out of necessity. They might have even forgotten how terrifying they can be."
"I know the Borg, Counselor. I know how they think, I know how 'She' thinks!"
'Sir, I don't mean to belittle your experience with the Borg or as Locutus. I am only suggesting that Captain Janeway and Voyager have come to a certain understanding of the Borg. The Delta Quadrant is where the Borg are from. Having read, by Admiral Paris's request, the starlogs of Captain Janeway, if you expect her to be sympathetic to the Borg, you are mistaken, sir."
"I read those reports, too, Counselor and I find it highly suspect that Captain Janeway stormed into Unimatrix One, endangering her crew for the sake of one person, a rogue drone at that.
"I know better than Janeway what the Borg are capable of, how 'she' manipulates things. She had Data convinced for 3.037 seconds, an eternity for an android. Janeway has aided and abetted not just one drone, but five others as well.
"Borg do not have children, Counselor. Their stature might be 'as' children, but do not let that fool you. They are Borg and the Borg are as pure as evil as they come." He could not shake the image of the heaps of dead Child drones. The vision of their tiny corpses made no sense at all to him.
"Captain, if I might offer something... Hugh. We 'aided and abetted' him, a drone severed from the collective who became an individual, something none of us thought possible. Hugh, who so cared for Gordi that he was willing to go back to the collective and be re-assimilated to protect Gordi. Don't you think this Seven of Nine might be the same. We fought Admiral Necheyev for Hugh. Captain Janeway will fight just as hard for Seven. She is an individual and she, like you, sir, was rescued from the Collective."
"If so, why does she cling to a Borg designation ? She was the Prime! The Prime! Deanna, do you know what that means?"
"Yes, the next down in line of succession should the current Queen become deactivated. The Queen Janeway encountered isn't the exact same Queen we killed in the past nor is it the same Queen that died at Wolf 359."
"Yes and no. Not the same body of the same Queen, but the body is irrelevant. The memories are everything. The Queen Data and I killed in engineering had all the memories of the one who ordered my assimilation at wolf 359! Now the Queen befriended by Janeway has all those memories as if they were her own. She is all past incarnations of the Queen, back to the beginning of the Borg, and this Seven of Nine was to be the next Queen."
Deanna sensed something more, something deeper in her captain. Something with the memories of Locutus. So dark and so tangible were the memories they were as a blunt force object on the Betazed consciousness.
But her captain would not tell her.
"Three days ago, while you are at the conference, this came through the long rang sensors of DS9 and four." Picard pushed a few buttons on the kiosk of his desk to summon up images of a fleet of Borg cubes."Take a close look, Counselor, and tell me what you see."
Troi rose up off of the sofa to see what it was that had so captivated her captain. No, captivated was the wrong word. Obsessed was more accurate. Jean-Luc Picard was absolutely obsessed.
Her large doe eyes widened when she beheld the images displayed upon the screen.
Before them were images of two fleets of the most recognizable hostiles in the four quadrants. The Borg. What was significant about sixteen cubes was the strange emergence of twin insignias borne on all six sides. No, that wasn't entirely correct. The insignia was an amalgamation of the Maquis sunburst and the Klingon Triskilion.
Deanna craned her head around so she could see into the eyes of her Captain. "Sir?"
"The Klingon Empire denies any knowledge or affiliation with this phenomena. In fact, they are rather upset about it as you can imagine. There are those upon the Council that have accused the Federation of violation of the treaty by trying to incriminate the Empire. In fact, they believe it is a Starfleet ploy to plot against the Empire with the rest of the quadrant. The disappearance of Councilor Martok's wife at the hands of the Borg, and now this new 'fleet' only add to the credibility of their own claims. The Beta Quadrant isn't exactly happy with us. And with the after shock of the Dominion War, tempers are heated enough without the added hostility."
"What about the Maquis?"
"The manicure of the Tevlik's moon base, as you know, took sanctuary with the Klingon Empire. The Klingons and Maquis have suffered many loses in the Cardassian Death Camps. The two factions, of course, have violently opposed any assistance the Federation have given the Cardassians in their efforts to rebuild. Councilor Martok has even allowed an unofficial bounty upon Cardassian Guls. He didn't have to work very hard to make the Order of the Bat'lath believe that this ..." Picard gestured to the screen, "is only to point a finger at the 'honorable' Maquis by 'sniveling Federation dogs'.
"So Starfleet Command has turned the accusations away from them to a scapegoat .....namely Voyager and her captain." Deanna felt an unmistakable disgust for the Command she served. Turning her dark eyes to Picard she frowned. "You don't object."
"They are not here to defend themselves, Deanna. If there is a need to place blame upon someone, then Voyager and her gallant crew's greatest service to the Federation is to shoulder this claim. Discommendation, Starfleet style."
"I can't believe you support this!" Deanna was flabbergasted. "You cannot possibly believe...."
"What I know, Counselor, is that the drone who assimilated me was in line to be a Prime and following that the Queen. The Queen! Her designation was Seven of Nine Tertiary Adjunct Unimatrix Zero One. And reading the reports of Commander Chakotay, it seems the drone is the paramour of one Kathryn Janeway, Captain of USS Voyager. That a drone as this woman's lover is abhorrent."
All Picard could picture was the Queen having sex with Janeway. It repulsed him. Not the lesbian aspect, but to allow a cold metal thing to touch one so intimately was vile to Picard. He recalled being forced to kiss the Queen as Locutus. A part of his mind recalled the gray-mottled skinned female with an eyepiece that came out of her left eye a full six inches. That thing was keeping Janeway's bed warm. He had thought he had known Janeway better than that. Granted, when he was going to the academy he was an upper classman and had at one time gone to a ball or two with young Janeway, but now the provoked image of her and the drone made him shiver. He clearly did not know Janeway. The Delta Quadrant had changed her, made her a rogue.
"She consorts with the Borg on a regular basis. Having read her first officer's reports, it is apparent that he had warned her numerous times not to engage the Borg, but for this Seven of Nine she would endanger the other 149 souls aboard her ship. She has even given sanctuary not to one Borg, but to four more. Children in appearance, but they are full drones, make no mistake about that. It is more than plausible this new occurrence of the Maquis Borg is due to her. She integrated with Maquis, perhaps so much so that she is now one of them."
"Captain, you don't believe that." Deanna folded her arms across her chest, daring her long time friend and CO to challenge her.
"No...Janeway might have gone rogue but she isn't Maquis...but still she consorts so closely with the Borg Queen, it has me concerned. Her judgment is clouded, Commander Chakotay points out, when it concerns this Seven of Nine."
"I can't help but think, Captain, this has more to do with the former drone Seven of Nine than it does placing blame upon Voyager for the insignias on the Borg ships or the disappearance of the Chancellor's wife. At least for you. And, sir, when it concerns Data, your mind is just as clouded. And more so when it concerns Beverly Crusher."
"Did you know," Picard redirected the conversation yet again, "that the Chancellor's wife once carried the name Miral Torres, who's very own daughter, B'Elanna Torres, was banned from the Academy and joined the Maquis Resistance two years later? The same B'Elanna Torres that was apart of the Maquis vessel Janeway chased into the badlands? Things are more complicated than you might have first thought Counselor. Which is why I want you with me when we rendevous with Worf to meet with Chancellor Martok"
"As you wish, Captain," Deanna complied. Her concern for Jean-Luc Picard was growing exponentially. "May I suggest this? Perhaps the reason Captain Janeway was so successful in defeating the Borg at all turns she encountered them was because she has a deep familiarity with one of their own? If Seven of Nine is one of the Primes ..it would stand to reason she has more information and deeper intelligence of the Borg than an average drone? Captain Janeway seems to be pressing the advantage she has by utilizing the information of the Borg by one who could have been the next Queen. It is something you yourself would have done, sir."
The salvaging operation was underway led by the Captain herself. She had worn Science Blue before the Command Red, and she held a PhD in Physics she knew her way around an engine room, and this wasn't the first time she had extracted a transwarp engine from a Borg Vessel. Lieutenant Commander Tuvok, Lieutenant Rothery and Ensign Vorik had transported over to the Diamond with Cadet Icheb, all prepared to extract the core and whatever else that could be salvaged before the Captain ordered the destruction of the vessel.
Seven and B'Elanna didn't do down time well. They rejoiced the other was alive and for the most part well, but they had nervous energy and si it was the two would find themselves in the shuttle bay working with Kellein.
"Is It my imagination or is this thing bigger than it was before?" Miral asked.
"Your eyes do not deceive you Miral, the Kellein has indeed grown 3.45 prescient since we disembarked thirty two hours ago. Kellein belongs to species 342 and as a living vessel it is expected she will continue to grow." Seven informed her mother-in-law.
"Well she better not grow too fast, too soon because she wont fit in the shuttle bay at this rate. BangwI what does your little Borg-data bases say about this species infants." B'Elanna asked.
"I regret to inform you Tai SoS I have very little knowledge. The Borg were never able to assimilate a member of the species. What we do know is gleaned from battle with the species and the knowledge of other species now in the Collective that have had encounters with them. What is known is that the infants tend to remain close to their parental unit. It appears they grow rapidly and after consuming vast quantities of nutrients, shut down internal systems to regenerate."
Miral barked out a laugh. "Kah'less you can tell you're not mothers of infants! All babies eat and sleep a lot. Just be thankful you don't have to change that things dippers."
"Species 342 does not expel fecal matter." Seven said matter of factly.
B'Elanna clapped her hand over her ridges and shook her head, "Leave it to my wife to miss the joke."
"I was unaware Miral was expressing a jovial statement." Seven said matter-of-factly.
This gave both of the other woman a fit of Klingon giggles.
"Yep right over the top!" B'Elanna said waving her hand over the top of her head. Chuckling she kissed the soft creamy cheek of her wife, then mischievously she flicked her tongue out over the starburst implant. She could almost feel Seven's heart slamming hard against the ex-drone's rib cage.
It took all of Seven's cold-efficient resolve not to respond with an aroused sound of pleasure at the touch of her wife's kiss. By turning the subject back to the ship, Seven was able to distract herself, and her desires to make love with her wife.
"It is a living entity and it will grow, Tai-SoS though mechanized." It was readily apparent to B'Elanna that Seven wasn't quite as impassive as she pretended to be and the young Klingon couldn't help but gloat over the matter, that she managed to make her wife falter "As...as I said the Collective's knowledge on species 342 is sorely lacking. Species342 had been able to avoid assimilation for their adaptive abilities. Their hulls are covered in a heavy metallic liquid alloy that refracts senor readings and is highly adaptable. They have phase-shifting capabilities, trans-warp and slipstream drives. They have been able to elude the Borg for decades.
"What the Collective has learned is that species 342 has a genetic memory, they have empathic with telepathic capabilities. They reproduce exclusively through a process of enhanced cellular mitosis, which means that they are all females. An adult ship is nearly the same size as a Borg Cube. The infants are seventy feet long, twenty-five feet high and with the wingspan of 175 feet. They grow exponentially until they reach adulthood. It is theorized that their life span is several hundred years.
"The propulsion unit is fueled by organic cold fusion. The digestive juices permeate the nourishment it consumes and interacts on a subatomic level with the cells of the food source thus combining on the cellar level and cause a catalyst causing cold fusion. The weaponry of Species 342 is rather unique. An EM pulse renders all electrical and computer systems of a craft inoperative and permanently damaged. Keillien's parental unit employed this method with both Voyager and with the Borg Diamond. I regret this is all the information I have upon species 342."
"All?" Miral chuckled. "I'd say it was quite a lot. She's a beautiful ship."
The dark purple-silver alloy of the ships hull darkened, causing both Seven and B'Elanna to smile. "I think you embarrassed her, Mother." B'Elanna said, turning to her wife. "Some females don't know what to do with a complement."
"I can attest to that," Seven picked up the beat. "B'Elanna often refuses to acknowledge her own beauty and her incredible strength. She should have already realized resistance is futile and resisting to acknowledge how truly remarkable she is, is inefficient."
"Hey Blondie I was talking about you!" B'Elanna stiffened in having paid such a high praise in front of her mother.
Seven ignored her as she traced her meshed hand across the ridges of B'Elanan's forehead a feature she had always though extremely becoming. "Ach IhsoH."
"As you can see she refuses to acknowledge her beauty even if I announce it in her mother's language. I am not silly B'Elanna."
"Oh yeah?" the Klingon folded her arms over her chest. "I say you are."
Miral shook her head. Though placed her daughter had found her equally asa mate, the first months of courting could be sickening sweet for outside observers. Of course it wasn't true Klingon courting, there was nothing thrown and growling was a minimum.
"IhsoH B'Elanna. HosjIh. Dich Daj Chargh SoHjlH." Seven growled
Miral was astonished. And more than pleased to hear the seductive growls of her daughters proclamation that B'Elanna was indeed beautiful but to add to it the boating of Seven's strength and that she intended to conquer B'Elanna.
"Only if your fast enough!" B'Elanna made to dart but she only got as far as the hatch of Keillien before she was captured by the lanky arms of a tall blonde ex-Borg. B'Elanna let out a most un-Klingons squeal of delight when her wife's arms coiled around her waist and hoisted her off of her feet. "Annika!"
"QitvIh!" Seven growled.
"I move slowly?" B'Elanna scoffed. "I let you catch me."
What Seven said next Miral could only make out the phrase "IuqwI" ... which meant 'my heart' Whatever else the former drone said had caused B'Elanna to blush furiously.
"Seven of Mine! Not in front of my mother!"
Seven turned to her mother-in-law. "All do respect Tai-SoS. Leave! I wish to mate with my wife unimpeded."
"In that case Stick Girl," Miral flashed a feral grin "jachchoHmeH 'lwraj penaghtaH!"
"Oh God!" B'Elanna hid her face in Seven's shoulder, in hearing her mother tell them to mate until their blood screams. She was only half aware that Seven was carrying her within Keillien. She didn't want to see her mother's expression let alone hear the barking laugh, the older Klingon belted out.
"And may you break the bed, daughters." Miral was still chuckling. "Kah'less where do they get the energy? They go at it like veglarghs." Looking back at the ship she shook her head, thinking that the tour of the living ship Keillien would have to wait. She had to admit she liked the name.
Keillien of course was the female who had reveled to Kah'less how to create the first Bat'lath. Seven defiantly had a very positive influence upon B'Elanna, if her daughter was so willingly embracing her warrior heritage. They spoke Klingioness as easily as Federation Standard, and they even played as a young courting couple. Stick Girl's demand Miral leave without any cowering was a testament to the thin girl's Klingon heart.
Miral winded her way through the sterile white walls of Voyager longing for the familiar slate and green steel of a proper Klingon vessel. She shuddered slightly and forced the chill away from her aging bones. A warrior did not complain of discomfort. Humans always kept their ships so cold. The Klingon Captain had to admit the Borg vessels were at least vessel of war and were kept at a respectable warmth. Though loathing the drones the Borg ship was at least carrying some familiarity the warrior cold appreciate. The Borg didn't coddle their crew members either.
B'Elanna had spent time on Maquis vessel also stripped down for war not comfort. When her daughter was first aboard this soft Starfleet ship Miral imagined that Lanna's teeth were on edge.
Still the Intrepid class starship has its merits. She had seen what this little scout ship could do and as a Klingon she was impressed. Of course most of the ship's components were bastardize from Starfleet, alien and Borg technologies and all do to the geniuses that was B'Elanna Torres and Seven of Nine.
Despite the softness of the Starfleet vessel Miral couldn't have been happier to be aboard Voyager. She was gratified to know B'Elanna was alive. Yes it was a warriors duty to die with the ship, to defined her, to defined the Empire. But a mother... even a Klingon mother despite Federation propaganda loved their children. Miral was not ready to see her Wo'Hom off to Stov-o-kor, just yet. There was no doubt in the woman's mind her daughter would sail the Black Fleet. But it was truly a gift to know B'Elanna yet lived and that more importantly she was happy.
Miral stopped in her treks when she saw the small Norccaican standing at 'Borg attention'. Her feet shoulder width apart, her little hands clasped behind her back her gaze steady in her regard of the Klingon. "I want to be a warrior of House Prasba. I want to know how to protect my SoS'oy and my Mama. Comply to teach me."
"You wish to be a warrior?" Miral took on a serious tone of voice, deliberately hiding the smirk of amusment behind the gruff voice.
"I am of the Borg. I possess superior strength, my cordial node gives me the advantage of an endemic memory. I will be a worthy student. And it is my right to protect my House. As matriarch of House Prasba, I ask you to teach me, SoSnI."
"Tell me Mizoti, there is something more than this Borg Queen that has unsettled you. What is it?"
"I failed to protect my family before. Just like now. The Queen took me over and used me to hurt my SoS'oy and my Mor. I am Borg I am stronger and faster, my size often fools others. But even my the superiority of my Borg enhancements can not protect those I...I...love. So I must be come a warrior so I can.
"The Hirgoen came aboard the Wasiti vessel they killed my brothers. I would have died too but my SoS'oy came. I knew she would. I called out to her and she came." Mizoti said with a faint sad smile. Her mind for a moment was back aboard the training vessel with the rest of the Wasiti cadets. She and the twins had called out to their 'mother' via the connection they had with her. Of course Icheb's cordial node having been donated to Seven because she had failed was still a viable link. "She destroyed them all. She looked just like Lakara! All in battle armor."
"Yes I have seen your SoS in the armor. Granted it was my daughter inside your SoS's body but she is a spectacular vision of power when in a proper uniform."Miral agreed. "So when the Hirgoen came and you could not fight them off, you felt powerless."
"And you do not like that feeling?"
"You never want to feel that again do you?"
"No." The child looked down at her blue booted feet then back up to her Klingon grandmother.
"What happened was frightening and you are still troubled One day you will be a warrior, a Klingon warrior and if anyone tries to harm your mothers you will be able to stand by their sides and protect them so nothing bad ever happens to them. What do you think about that."
The child smiled brightly, then she looked down sadly. "Do families miss warriors when they die?"
Miral nodded. "Yes, of course. A warrior's spirit might be in Stov-o-kor but it is alright to miss their presence."
"Azeb and Rebi were only children, drones they were not warriors. I don't think they get to go to Stov-o-kor. Do Klingon children go there?" It was a question asked in all earnestly. One that Miral had a difficult time answering. A mother herself she did not relish the idea of a small child dying.
"The Black Fleet is for Warriors but yes like Voyager, there is a place for the very young on Stov-o-kor especially for children who died in battle." the aging Klingon hoped the words would bring solace to the little girl. "Alright Wo'Hom, lets go to one of your Holodecks and see what you have."
"I will work diligently and prove to be a worthy warrior." Mizoti said boldly
Brave words. Honest words. Miral would have been proud to hear them from an adult much less an eight year old child. She could see the fire burning in the Wa'Hom and she wanted to kindle it. It was something she was never truly able to do with B'Elanna
By the end of three hours, Captain Miral of the Klingon Empire and wife to Martok was feeling everyone of her five decades. Of course she wasn't the only Klingon to have gotten a work out from a former Borg. B'Elanna herself knew her body would be sore tomorrow from the through loving her wife had given her. Seven's stamina and desire to love and worship B'Elanna's body and soul apparently knew no limitations. Who needed a Klingon calisthenic workout program when your wife was a former Borg drone? But B'Elanna would not complain, in fact she thought if she died right now, she die with a very large toothy grin on her face.
Miral wished for her part she could harness some of her new granddaughter's stamina and fuse it to her own. She was no slouch, and in fact Miral was in prime health, still the child had managed to tire the older Klingon throughly. Miral had started with a simple preliminary work of the basics of moQbara, a type of Klingon martial arts. Miral had even began Mizoti on training with the qa'vaQ a hoop and stick maneuver that hones the skills of the hunt. The child was told of course to learn the eleven more important stories and opera surrounding Kah'less. A warrior must never rely on brute strength alone but they must be cunning and competent. The mind as well as the body must be in balance like the Bat'lath. Miral would also bring Mizoti into the more traditional practices of ritual prayer and self-reliance of Klingon tradition. Mizoti unlike B'Elanna when she was of the same age drank in hungrily everything Klingon.
"Two showers within five hours I think that is a record." B'Elanna jovially chided as she reached to lather her wife's lanky body
Seven closed her eyes and allowed her self to enjoy the sensation such a simple touch gave her. "It is difficult not to desire what which is irresistible."
"Resistance is Futile?"
Seven let out a most un-Borg snicker. "Indeed. Though I doubt the Queen had you in mind when she designed that particular hailing. Though she should have. For resisting you is futile. Therefore it is inefficient for me to attempt it nor do I wish to."
"Borg-poetry. I love it." B'Elanna playfully nipped her lover's full lips.
Seven's answer was to slip her hands about the trim muscular waist of her wife, her throat a growl in the low frequency that she knew would arouse B'Elanna.
"You're insatiable." B'Elanna moaned. She was thankful Seven was supporting her because her knees would have buckled. Not very Klingon but at this moment the tinny Engineer could have cared less, besides her mother approved of 'Stick-girl.'
Seven's grip tightened and B'Elanna felt a surge of power course threw her groin. And despite the heat of the showers, Bella could feel the hardened nibbled of her wife brush her own mounds. Seven kissed her hard, and B'Elanna felt her tongue slipping into her mouth as Seven breasts brushed against her own. The Klingon had to push Seven back if only to breath, and she could see how magnificent her wife was. The water beading along the alabaster skin and for a moment B'elanna felt jealous of the droplets.
"Kah'less you are gorgeous Seven of Mine, my Annika, BangwI."
"For you only, Bella."
B'Elanna smiled recalling the first time she truly saw Seven necked. It was the first time she was ion the ex-drones body and had wanted to shower. At the time she made herself think of this perfection only as a vessel. But she gazed into the mirror and saw the exceptionally tones body the 'six-pack' abs B'Elanna thought it was more like a twelve-pack, muscled tight enough to take an old fashioned bullet. The one thing she wasn't permitted to do when in custody of the body that she was now was to run admiring fingers along the zebra silver stripes of the abdominal implant.
Yes they were scares from the Borg but they were so beautiful laced within the perfect body. Like Seven's left hand B'Elanna thought the image was incredibly sexy. It was one of B'Elanna's favorite things to trace the zebra stripes not only with the pads of her fingertips but with the tip of her tongue.
Dropping to her knees, B'Elanna did just that, her tongue slipped out licking the water off of the mettle enjoying the metallic tang and sweetness of flesh, her hands curling around the tight globes of Seven's arse, holding her tight. She heard Seven moan as she gripped the walls to support her weight. B'Elanna smiled as she drew in the fragrant musk coming from Seven's core. Unable to deny herself longer, B'Elanna found herself delving into the tang if Seven's core, deliciously, gloriously strong with desire. Seven's back arched as B'Elanna's tongue licked a line along to her clit and back again, and with a mischievous wiggle, dug under the shroud of her clit hood—to brink a shriek from Seven's lips as the very tip of B'Elanna tongue sent through a jolt of pleasure so intense it was almost pain.
The Klingon's tongue began to swirl around Seven's clit-hood again, smoothly, rhythmically, and to work up and down as Seven held her body by sheer force of will. She looked breathtakingly to B'Elanna's shoulders. Taught muscles of a predator, perfect and sublime. A panther in all her glory. Despite having made slow silent love that morning, despite the quick heated passion in Keillien, Seven was still savagely hungry for her wife's attention. She hadn't expected to cum so quickly but as the organism took her prisoner, Seven felt her entire body sag from the aftershocks.
The aquatic shower continued to pour down around them neither noticed as they bucked and writhed within each other's trusts. The wall seemed to groan in protest under the pressure of Seven's enhanced left hand. The glass door creaked by the force of her right hand, but Seven' felt only her heart hammering loudly as she felt white heat rush over her in a flood.
In that small, cramped space there wasn't much room to maneuver, but they managed it. Bodies slicked with water, B'Elanna slid up her wife's lanky body, perfectly as Seven's hand reached down to play with mound.
The Seven was down upon her knees, pushing B'Elanna back against the tiled wall of the shower so hard wit the thrusts of her mouth that B'Elanna felt as if the entire ship's dampers were offline. B'Elanna enjoyed the freedom she never had to hold back from her Klingon self, she never had to hid it. She loved basking in the gentle softness that lovemaking brought her, but there were times when she liked it a little harder, never painful or brutal but more athletic and powerful. She loved to feel her blood boil and cry-out in primitive fire. The thrusts of her lover's tongue pushing so firmly against her clit that it was almost painful and no lover had ever satisfied her that way ever. Seven knew instinctively how much pressure made B'Elanna scream, how much made her roar. And B'Elanna did roar, twice and a third time, so loud she was sure the crewmates next door were listening whether they wanted to or not. And it didn't bother the Klingon at all.
Something groaned and creaked and gave way.
The doors to sick bay swooshed opened to reveal a hobbling fifty year old Klingon woman and shy Norccaican. "Activate EMH." Mizoti said crisply escorting the scowling woman to a biobed.
"Please state the nature of the medical emergency." The doctor said as he appeared. Granted he no longer had to say that particular salutation but he had nothing else to say, so he kept it. Upon seeing the bleeding Klingon he rolled his eyes.
"I expected no less like mother like daughter."
"That is CAPTAIN Miral to you Doctor. You will treat my SoSnI with according respect." Mizoti growled like a proper Klingon, startling the photonic physician.
"SoSnI, I am sorry, I am not accustomed to the Bat'lath's weight. I will adapt and not lose control of the arch swing again." The girl looked at the large gash in her grandmother's leg which was bleeding pink-red blood all over the biobed.
"A warrior does not express discomfort, Mizoti. And I've had worse. I'll get a dermal regenerator to stop the bleeding and that will be that. Its only a flesh wound." Miral smiled dismissive-ly
"All do respect, 'Captain' I am the physician here not you. So I will do the diagnosis and you keep to ripping people apart" Had he saliva the holographic man would have gulped in seeing two pairs of eyes glowering at him. "Yes well lets take a look shall we?"
Just as he was preparing to treat the wound in Miral's leg that was anything BUT a flesh wound as the first blade in the Bat'lath had penetrated several layers of flesh down to the bone, the doors whooshed open this time the wounded Klingon was being carried in by the ex-drone.
"And what happened to you?" the doctor looked on as Seven deposited the blanketed and blushing B'Elanna Torres on her stomach upon the neighboring bed.
At the sight of both women dripping wet and in bathrobes Miral belted out a barking laugh. "So you broke the bed!"
B'Elanna gowned and covered her face as a new sheen of red covered her caramel face.
"No. The shower stall." Seven said evenly. "Doctor, B'Elanna will need specialized attention."
"Yes I can see. And as you can see she will have to get in line behind her mother. It seems all the Klingons on this ship are determined to get themselves injured by ex-drones."
Miral snarled and made a grab for the physician, and while he was photons and light she was able to get a solid hold on him as any training hologram and thrust him into the air and away from her. Had he been alive the force of power that sent him literately into the bulkhead would have caused severe trauma to his brain. Fortunately he was after all a photic being and was not damaged.
Mizoti snickered with a very 'told you so' look upon her tiny face.
"Well! " The Doctor managed to come back to the fierily patients. "If that is the way Klingons treat their doctors no wonder Klingon medicine is archaic. I am surprised you elevated above bone knives and bear skins."
Four woman were now glowering
The holographic doctor shrank.
Clearing his throat which of course was redundant he moved back to work on his less than amused patients. "Lets see what we have here."
"See to my daughter first,"Miral said not in a typical Klingon bravado, but in a mother's concern. Yes her daughter was thirty but she was still her little girl, Klingon or not.
"SoS, I am fine more embraced than anything." B'Elanna said, the Starfleet blanket still covering her backside. "Braking a bed is one thing.... a shower stall is another."
"It was I that comprised the integrity Benel. The glass of the stall could not withstand both of our weight. I am sorry your gluteus maximus were harmed by the glass." Seven said sullenly.
B'Elanna snickered as a very bad pun entered her mind, she continued laughing until the Doctor whisked the blanket away to examine his patient. He discovered that several bits of safety glass had embed themselves in the lower back and buttocks and thighs of B'Elanna.
"Hey!" B'Elanna sobered immediately, "my kid is in here and she doesn't need to see her Mor's naked bleeding backside! Do you mind? Kah'less I am not a frigging Betazed or Ferangi, that struts around in the buff! A little professionalism here."
The Doctor had at least the curacy to appear embarrassed for his slight of un-professionalism and started to pull a privacy curtain around the biobed.
"You have an esthetically pleasing body Mor, you should not be shammed."Mizoti said with Borg monotone clinical-isum
"Zoti I am not ashamed." B'Elanna said looking her daughter in the eyes. "Just its not me to go about naked in front of my kids Wo'Hom."
"I will comply Mor and not look at you until you are properly attired." Mizoti said with her hands clasped behind her back in a perfect reflection of her SoS'oy.
B'Elanna winked. And relaxed as the curtain was now all the way pulled to shield her from young eyes. Besides she couldn't take the very amused look in her own mother's face.
"SoS, so what happened to you?" B'Elanna deflected the air of tension that started to rise in sickbay. "Looks like you got gored by a targ pub."
"Your 'kid' is an enthusiastic student, she made the same mistake you had during your first training sessions with the Bat'lath. Now I shall have matching scares on both legs." Miral said through her pain. Yes she was in great pain, but a warrior never complained about discomfort and humor like B'Elanna, Miral used as a shield against any weakness that might creep up and try to take her hostage.
The Doctor wisely decided he had said enough for the moment and continued to work on the older Klingon's mutilated appendage, as she was the more grievously wounded..
Mizoti looked down once more, "I had not meant to. I am Borg I should not have lost control."
"Mizoti Hansen-Torres you are not Borg." Seven said almost sharply through the partition. "You are no longer apart of the Collective."
B'Elanna reached for her wife and squeezed the enhanced hand. "Hun, how long was it before you stopped referring yourself as Borg? Mizoti just hurt someone in her family....my mom. She's scarred, hurt and a little out of sorts. The last thing she needs is for her 'favorite' mom to snap at her, for a slip."
Seven winced as if struck.
"BangwI...the Wysanti struck her for such slips of terminology, I think your words affected her far more than physical blows. I am not saying this to make you feel bad Baby," B'Elanna squeezed the hand once more when she saw her wife nearly faultier. "Go to her, she needs to know her mommy isn't pissed at her."
"I will comply." Seven managed to whisper. When in doubt fall back to Borg-Armor. Seven kissed her wife's lovely ridged forehead. "qaparmag." Seven uttered before disappearing around the partition.
"pugbe'" Seven addressed her daughter, causing Mizoti look up, "iachqaQaos." She apologized in Klingioness. "You have done nothing wrong."
"I...I... spoke like a Borg....and wounded SoSnI."
"YIDoghQo Cha'Do-Hom'."Miral quickly said trying to calm the visibly upset child.
The Doctor looked up in hearing the older Klingon tell Mizoti not to be silly. He had nearly finished repairing the damaged leg and thought perhaps a hasty retreat would be soon in order. Besides he had another volatile Klingon in which to restore to health
"Cha'Do-Hom? " Mizoti quirked a Seven like eyebrow. "Little Bird?"
Seven smiled, "A more apt 'nickname' than Stick-Girl." The former drone commented with humor in her voice.
"Oh I don't know Benel I kinda got used to 'Stick Girl.' B'Elanna laughed from the other side of the curtain.
"And you can go without chocolate BangwI."
"Oh......maQDar! You wouldn't dare."
"I said you go without chocolate, I didn't say I would forgo the Chol-confection." Seven teased.
"Annika!" B'Elanna was suddenly very glad for the curtain but the Doctor wasn't known for discretion.
"Cum-confection?" he questioned his new patient softly so none but she would hear. "You used chocolate as an application on your.... "
"So help me Doctor you finish that question and I will reline your matric to you look like the Easter bunny complete with a pink bow tie!" Growled B'Elanna.
"What is Cho-confection?" Mizoti whispered to her grandmother. The question shocked her for the older woman seemed to have blushed, what ever it was it must be something good.
"Something you have no need to know about until you are older. For that is the only time you are allowed to indulge."
"Kah'less on a frigging crutch!" Mizoti cursed like a proper would be young Klingon warrior. "Even SoSnI is apart of the Adult Conspiracy!" She hugged her slammed her fists upon her hips and scowled in a perfect imitation of B'Elanna Torres.
"Yes well Adult Conspiracies aside I would say my work is finished so if you four can take your temper out of my sickbay I would be most appreciative" The Doctor commented.
"Come I am hungry." Miral said hopping off the bio-bed. Her leg was yet tender and would be for the next few days, but try and tell a full Klingon warrior let alone a captain they must refrain from activity and you would have an easier time trying bolting Jell-O to the bulkhead.
Captain Miral wasn't the only woman in command that would not refrain from activity when duty called. Captain Kathryn Janeway was not about to allow the young woman she cared and loved to be further victimized by the Borg. She was here with a team to yes harvest the slipstream and transwarp dives but she was going to go to the Queen's chamber and insure the Queen never again would traumatize her family.
A small forbidden fraction of the woman who was Kathryn Janeway not the Starfleet captain, became wracked with grief and guilt. She ranged the Queen's chamber, trying to regain her composure and failing. Marginally, she felt the pressure of her family, her crew's fear and agitation; it fed her own, inner and outer jumbled and colliding preventing her from finding a center.
The Borg had destroyed everything she had ever loved. Destroyed it or contaminate it beyond redemption by the simple act of being. They had destroyed the little girl Annika Hansen long before they assimilated her. Because of the Borg Annika had long since lost her parents to them through their obsession. But Janeway gathered if it wasn't the Borg it would have been something else to capture that obsessiveness in the Hansens.
The Borg stole eighteen years of this precious soul, eighteen years that Annika...Seven felt she had to forever atone. The Borg had killed three of this young woman's sons. One...Azan and Rubi. The Queen.....had done this Janeway corrected herself. The Borg Drones had no control over their actions anymore than an infant. They could not be held accountable for something they were will-less to change. Seven of Nine could not be held accountable for the thousands of people she herself assimilated. Nor could she held responsible for the assimilation of Jean-Luc Picard that led to the evolution of Locutus. At Wolf 539 Seven had been present but only for the emergence of Locutus and then ordered by the Queen to return to the Borg's homeland the Delta Quadrant.
The Queen was to bear this guilt and yet this creature this 'program' was so without remorse that she dare to taint Seven with her faith to the Borg's insidious adherence to the ideals of perfection The more she dwelled upon this the more Kathryn Janeway became angry, overwhelmingly, unthinkably, unendurably angry.
Prowling the Queen's chamber, Captain Janeway stopped short of the decapitated head of the thing the female entity that had once been the Queen of the Borg. Looking at it Janeway picked it up and horridly she laughed and the ludicrous image that entered her mind. "Alas poor Queen , I knew you well," she lampooned a well known act of Hamlet. "Where are your jibs, your sarcastic caustic ways? Where is your favored drone? How oft had I cursed you, I do not know. Too bad your dead. I would have loved to slay you myself you tin-bitch." She through the head against the bulk head feeling a bit sophomoric in the action, but she smiled as she heard a wet clang when skin covered metal kissed metal.
"Feel better?" Amanda said coming up to the woman she called captain and lover.
"As stupid as it sounds, yes I do."
"Not stupid, cathartic." Amanda amended.
Always before, Kathryn had been able to swallow down such rage. Shut it away, keep it private, secrete even from herself. But this time she couldn't. The image of the Queen tormenting Seven and B'Elanna, the slaughter of three innocent boys, kept erupting like a fire before her eyes. The image poisoned her imagination. And if she could not somehow rid herself of that poison, she knew intactly that she would doom her ship her crew to death.
"Captain, there is nothing here anymore." Amanda gently attempted to pull her CO away from the realm of carnage. Even if there was so little blood spilled, what this chamber represented was horrific. "Kath....turn around and leave this place." Rothery now spoke to her lover. "Trust me I know. There is only pain here and it will fester inside you, until it becomes you."
Kathryn turned to look at the pleading woman. She was about to ask how could she know, when it struck her Amanda Rothery had been turned into an assassin by the age of six from her cadre of women that had taken her into their fold. They had trained young Amanda for one thing to be a miniature assassin. So small so lithe the child was able to sneak undetected into proclaimed enemy territory to slay a targeted person or persons. By the time she was twelve everything human in Rothery had been drilled out of her. She knew only that if you are not quick enough someone will eventually kill you.
That had changed once the feral teenager had met Kathryn Janeway who had tamed the girl, healed her and set her upon a new course in life. The years of stealth assassinations had trained this woman into the perfect officer of law enforcement. "If you let it Kath, what remains here will take you hostage and it won't ask for a ransom. B'Elanna avenged her wife, and Seven avenged her Benel we don't need to avenge anyone. We have a job Captain. We find, we take, we go."
Janeway turned to her junior officer and lover and nodded slowly relenting to the truth she had heard. ' we find, we take, we go.'
Leaving the Central Plexus Kathryn could not help but notice a drone locked in an alcove. It had sustained sever damage and was now futilely attempting to regenerate. The face was what had caught the spirited Captain's full attention. It was the ashen face of Magnus Hansen. Seven's father.
"Captain?" Amanda questioned carefully.
"He must have crawled in her. A drone can be reanimated after seventy-three hours from deactivation. Seven...oh god what she had to do."
"This isn't an ordinary tactical-drone is it Captain?"
"No Mandy... its Magnus Hansen. I recognize him from the last time Seven surrendered herself to the Borg. He was in the chamber with her. The Queen had used him to try to bend Seven's will. It nearly worked. Days afterward Seven would come to me, so distraught...her 'papa' left behind to suffer the will of the Queen. She was so bereaved, I thought she might never recover."
"She was like that when that drone...One died."
Kathryn looked down at the grating. That was yet another time when she had allowed Seven to be hurt. The young woman had to suffer the lose of her son by herself. No wonder she was so severely protective of Icheb they were of age. The Brunali and One. And then Kathryn had ordered Seven to convince Icheb to go to his parents. Of course that had not been the best thing for the boy, as once more his parents were offering up the surficial lamb. And when the Wysanti came for the twins, Janeway once again ordered Seven to comply that they were better off with their people than with a woman who had not wanted them in her care in the first place.
Of course had the twins and Mizoti stayed with the woman who was truly their mother, they would not have died, Mizoti would not have been abused and she would not have been used as a Trojan horse. Kathryn had never involved herself with Samantha Wildman and the way she raised Naomi. But she insisted she knew what was best for the orphaned Borg-Children. Well she thought she knew. She had learned a hard lesson and a too high of price. Now of course she knows what is best for the Borg children. To stay with their true mother. To stay with Seven of Nine, for all time. She was the name of Omega, of perfection on the hearts and lips of those children and Seven loved them with every fiber of her being.
"We are going to rescue him." Janeway said stoically.
"Is that wise? I mean Seven may not want him. He did betray her to the Borg." Rothery frowned. She knew if she ever met her birth parents she would want to confront them. Her mother she could almost forgive, after all her mother had not wanted Amanda, she was a product of rape. But if Rothery ever discovered who her father was she had long ago vowed to take his life.
"He was zealous in his research, and Seven had felt betrayed as she should. Her parents had neglected her." Kathryn recalled the words B'Elanna had shared with her, about accidently accesses Seven's memories just prior to her assimilation. In hearing it, Janeway had wanted to wreak vengeance upon the Hansens for what they had done to a six year old child. Sucking in a breath of air, she continued, " But that woman has an immense capacity to forgive. She has loathing and love for her parents. When she first saw him, she was shaken by the fact coming face to face with him. I think she would want him free. If after he is stabilized from the Collective and Seven doesn't want him on Voyager I'll arrange it to he can be placed on an inhabited planet if the local government complies, if not he can find passage from a space station to go anywhere he wants to go. But Seven would have him freed completely. That is the type of woman she is." privately and unvoiced Janeway thought 'Seven is a better woman than I in such a case. I doubt I could so easily forgive them if I were in her place. But it is not for me to judge him, that is for his daughter. Its up to me to give her that chance.'
Tapping her combadge Captain Janeway linked a connection to herself and her ship. "Janeway to Voyager."
* Voyager, * the disembodied voice belonged to Commander Chakotay.
"Commander I need you to lock onto my single and transport a refugee abard. His DNA will link to Seven of Nine."
*Captain?* even his voice betrayed the fact the wooden man was rubbing his tattoo in agitation. Janeway knew a string of protests would follow. The former Maquis Captain made one hell of a devils advocate.
"Commander," Janeway's voice hinted she wasn't in the mood to play command tag. "The refugee in question is Magnus Hansen. I want him transported directly to sickbay behind a level ten force felid. Have the doctore begnin immediate recovery of his human self. I want the armor and implants removed as soon as the Doctor deemed it is medical sound. TH drone sustained hevey damage."
* with all do respect, Captain are you sure transporting 'yet' another drone aboard Voyager is a 'sound' idea?"
'Damn if it doesn't sound like a threat of mutiny. I have had about enough from him and my family...' "Commander, do I need to make this a direct order?"
* no ma'am. But as your First Officer I wanted it stated for the record that I protest to this action.*
"So noted Commander," Janeway said crisply. "Comply."
She couldn't help but smile knowing that single word would grate the Chakotay as a bit of sand in the boot one could not find. Agitating, annoying and down right aggregating, but something one had to adapt to.
Amanda hated to agree with Chakotay, but for a whole other reason. This one was as she has said before it would be hard on Seven to face the man who had out of selfish need pursued the Borg and gave thin his six-year-old child as a sacrificial lamb.
They were coming.
This time the cybernetic menace had a new weapon, and new directives something more devastating than themselves. Their objective was the same, conquer by adding the distinctiveness of technology and biology of the "jeghpu'wI to the Collective.'
That word alone caused a stir in the Alpha Quadrant. jeghpu'wI: it was Klingioness for a concurred people something more than slaves but less than citizens. Freewill was expunged not with the cold directives of the Hive Mind of the unaltered Borg, but with the ancient ideals of warriors. It was an honor to be apart of the Collective, those newly assimilated were given directives that a drone must work to attain what is wanted or need. Survival must be earned, victory must be earned. If a drone ignores duty, acts dishonorably or is disloyal, it is nothing. Duty was to the Collective. Loyalty was to the Hive Mind and it was honorable to act in the interests of the Collective. It was the duty of every Drone to Assimilate. It was the duty of every drone to bring a level of perfection to the Collective.
The difference with this new directive of the 'Maquis' Collective was that they did not ignore that which was once deemed irrelevant or inconsequential to the familiar Borg. Granted they would ignore insignificant things, paying little attention to it, but they would no longer ignore a possible target. If a species was not worthy of assimilation, it was destroyed. They would conquer what they desired. The 'Maquis' Borg became a warrior society. Adapted and evolved, the new motives of the 'Maquis' Borg seemed to be more Klingon than cybernetic mindlessness. And this frightened the Federation.
The Collective was mighty foe before because they were a unit, each drone apart of a greater whole. It was the same now, but something had altered them, a drone in battle would not abalone one form its Unimatrix, nor would it allow one of its Unimatrix to go to battle alone. What was a greater shock was the new weapon the Borg employed.
Thousands of them came from a single cube. The weapons were a hybrid of spiders and jelly-fish. Black-emerald metallic spindling tentacles trailed behind them as propulsion, but they were more than that. Once they were locked on target the tentacles started to disassemble it as well as assimilate it. Biological or mechanical it was all irrelevant, what mattered was the opposition was concord.
Those that faced the Borg Swarm and actually survived to tell the tale, reported all the same thing. The Swarm came by the thousands their kinetic ballistic force ripped holes into the hulls of ships. Then like a jelly-fish they struck the nero-pathways of the ships systems disabling it, just before they started to either assimilate it or tear the ship apart, hull by hull, deck plating by deck plating, rivet by rivet. Biological entities were either assimilated, or torn apart by those same tentacles flesh by flesh, muscle by muscle, bone by bone. And what the Swarm did not finish, tactical drones did.
Reports also indicated that the Swarm drones were made up out of heavy metallic alloy that had cloaking capabilities. Add to this they were as adaptive as a typical Borg, but more than that, they seemed to be able to simulate astrological phenomena, and the signatures of vessels. How the Borg came to posses such capacities could only be guessed at.
"They are as intelligent as glob flies, but they do have an adaptive CPU." Keillien said.
"They are made up out of the same element you are," B'Elanna smiled as she ran her tricorder over the chromed surface of the 'torpedo'."Sweet." The engineer thought the design of the weapons were unique. In fact it was an extension of the ship much like the quills of a porcupine that could be easily dislodged. However the shape conformed to the look of jellyfish. The tentacles would both propel the head of the torpedo and strike the target with astronomical kinetic force it would then like a spider scurry over the hull of the target tearing it into scrap at the same time send a paralyzing EM surge into the nero-systems of said ship.
"Yes. They are an effective weapon, as with myself they can simulate astrological phenomenal as well as the matrix of a ships signature so they can go undetected. They adapt to their targets and learn."
'Sounds like the Borg adaptation of my own version of dreadnought.....Kah'less what a weapon.' the small engineer said to herself. "Okay Keillien, lets take a test flight, you up for that?"
'It is boring here," the sentient vessel responded."I am most excited to go out."
"Good. I want to see what these weapons can do, come on girl let's see what you've got." B'Elanna moved to helm control and started to enter the commands that would give pilot control over to her.
"I will comply."
"If I didn't know better Keillien, I'd say your Seven's daughter."
"She is the Queen." the tone was flat as if B'Elanna should have already known.
"She assimilated me, her matrix commands her designation to be recognized as the Queen of the Maquis."
"I think you're a little confused." The engineer commented, "The Maquis is a resistance cell, against oppression and the Cardassian hoard and the strangle hold of the Federation. There isn't a Queen, there have been leaders. The Queen belongs....well to the Borg."
"Affirmative," the ship responded. "Which is Seven of Nine ben'el of B'Elanna Torres."
B'Elanna didn't give the matter much more thought, after all the ship was young. Besides the point Seven had a couple of times commented that she wanted to belong to the Maquis and since the marriage she had adapted the role with gladness. And B'Elanna was more than pleased to have her lover with her in the Maquis. Keillien must have picked up on this during the small tenure of connection she had with Seven during the assimilation. The Queen bit made since too since both Sochlings and Naomi concerned Seven of Nine Queen of the good Borg. All three of them. Well perhaps four if Magnus Hansen recovered.
"Whatever you say, Keillien. We've got a job to do." B'Elanna said dismissive-ly. Now her mind had focused on her wife. That look in those blue eyes when she saw her father laying on the bio-bed was going to haunt B'Elanna forever. There was fear, loathing and a sadness that B'Elanna felt her heart seize painfully in her chest until she could only gasp for breath. She had cursed the Captain for once again turning Seven's world on end.
"Well we are all finished here." The doctor said as he lifted the dermal generator from the bare rump of a grumpy Klingon. "I will advice you that a shower stall was not designed for sexual intercourse." Thinking he was rather amusing he added, "especially the more athletic coarse approach to sex the Klingons are known for."
"Said the man who has no penis," B'Elanna shot back, "not even a photonic one. Of course you can only fantasize about a good lay with my wife, the captain and myself."
"You can leave my sick bay, Lieutenant." the EMH grumbled as he moved around the curtain. "In fact you can all be discharged." With that he was about to deactivate himself when he got a call from the Captain.
'I have medical emergency I want a force ten bio-hazardous isolation force shield erected.' the voice of the captain came over the intercom.
"I understand Captain, who is my patient."
"A deactivated drone of Seven's acquaintance, I want you to start rehabilitative surgery at once doctor..' Janeway answered cryptically. "Expect a full security contingent, Janeway out."
Every eye was starring at Seven of Nine who wore an expression of complete befuddlement.
'Janeway to Seven of Nine.'
Seven still locked in a world of stymied wonder she tapped the combadge at her chest uttering the words of acknowledgment. "Seven here."
"Seven make your way to sickbay, I'll be there shortly, there is someone there you need to greet."
'Your father.' the voice of Janeway sounded confident and pleased.
Seven wavered on her feet in the hearing of the drone's identity. B'Elanna responded immediately taking her wife into her arms and resting her up against the biobed.
"Stick Girl you going to be okay?" Miral was on the other side of the bed, her hands resting upon the long back of her daughter-in-law.
"I am functioning within acceptable parameters." Seven said automatically. 'I am Borg I will adapt. I have to adapt....'
At that Miral extended a very concerned look to her own child who was shaking her head. "Kah'less what was that woman thinking?" the hybrids words were cut off by Seven's trembling form. Not hesitating B'Elanna engulfed her beloved into her arms holding the blonde tightly against her own chest.
"I am weak." Seven muttered. "I am having difficulty in adapting. Why should I feel such...fear...in...B'Elanna do not leave my side."
"I wont babe, your Bella is right here." B'Elanna cooed rubbing her wife's back in tiny circles her own mother once had done when she was babe-in-arms.
"I'll be here too, Stick Girl. And seeing one's parent after so long will do that to you. Trust me, seeing my own kid was a shock to me it isn't a weakness."
"Well 'daddy-dearest' kinda liked to smack Annika around when she got a little 'difficult'. The last time was just before the Borg attacked the Raven. She tried to tell her parents the Queen had painted her as a target. They were arrogant and careless and served their baby up on a friggin silver platter. Trust me I know. This sudden appearance of 'papa' isn't something that will be welcome." B'Elanna explained. Her mind of course recalled the memories she had had when she was within Seven's body and had inadvertently accessed the locked away memories of Seven's assimilation. During the explanation she had to concentrate on the telling it as a third person rather than first person. For having accessed those memories B'Elanna's mind had imprinted upon it as if they had been her own memories rather than Seven's
The unconscience body of a tall male entombed in black Borg armor appeared on the biobed even as they were talking. The doctor ordered the forcefield erected and simply walked through it as he was after all only light and protons.
"So this is your father, Seven?" The EMH said as if this was an everyday occurrence.
Seven hadn't answered. Her blue eyes widened, starring at the figure on the bed. She could still the scarring of the wound she had delivered to him when she had been aboard the diamond. Those cerulean orbs had not lifted from it. Yes her father had on occasion abused her but this was her father and she still cared for him.
The Borg had certainly abused Seven and yet a part of her was still very protective of them, and she cared for the Borg even knowing their directives inflicted pain on others. She had not considered them evil. The concepts of good and evil were inefficient next to the order of omega, and the quest for perfection.
But caring about someone did not necessarily dictated one wanted to be near or otherwise interact with them. Seven had no desire to ever be with the Borg or her father and mother again. Now she had no choice. The Queen had made Seven go to the Borg. Janeway had made Seven be with her father.
Flight or fight instinct took over. Seven started backing up away from the prone inert figure on the biobed.
"I'm damaged, B'Elanna." Seven slipped into Borg speak. "I..."
"Its okay baby. Annika.....Nic...BangwI, I'll protect you." B'Elanna engulfed her wife's trembling body into her very strong arms and turned Seven around so she was now facing the opposite wall. "I've got you. Focus on me, on our daughter....everything else is irrelevant."
The doctor of course had assumed Seven's reaction was of a worried daughter. "Not to worry Seven, I'll have your Papa up and running in no time." He smiled then went back to work on trying to remove the Borg implants encasing Magnus Hanson.
"Stick Girl, you are the only survivor of your house. Tell that photonic thing, stop. It is your right, girl. That thing on the bed isn't your father, he died a long time ago."
Seven looked up to Miral with wide eyed wonder. It was plain to see the thought had never occurred to her that she could have the procedure stopped. Mizoti brash and impetuous as all children are marched up to the biobed stopping just short of the forcefield.
"I order you to stop! I speak in the name of my mother, who right now can't speak for herself."
"Mizoti..." The doctor stopped then looked up to Seven with questioning eyes. "Seven? Is this true?"
She nodded a meekness never before scene on her flashed in the blue depths of her eyes. "He can not be activated."
"Why?" The doctor looked back to his patient. "Seven, I know there are difficult memories to deal with but obviously you have a caring family to help you through it. I am sorry Seven but I have to complete my task of saving this life. " he pointed to the drone formally known as Three of Five. "He suffered a great deal of damage and was taken prematurely out of his alcove. A drone can be deactivated for seventy-three hours and the Borg can still save their life. This medical knowledge is valuable. Add that to the fact that Mr. Hanson here is a medical-drone is invaluable. I have to try and save him. I am sorry Seven but your father doesn't have a living will, I can not, not try to save him. You were saved, as were your children. Seven don't worry it will be fine you see. You are Borg you'll adapt."
"She shouldn't have to!" B'Elanna roared. "That is her goddamn father and if she dost want 'extraordinary means' to save his worthless arse than her wishes have to be observed.
B'Elanna closed her dark eyes willing the pained expression of Seven far from her, she need to focus the fire stirring in her belly. She was Klingon and she would take vengeance upon the only thing she could the Borg. Janeway would have to wait. But the captain would get her comeuppance for the deliberate pain she suffered on B'Elanna's wife.
B'Elanna's true anger with Janeway was that, Seven idolized the captain. True Seven would disobey orders, she could be very difficult and she would outright refuse to comply but even in all of that Seven would do everything possible she could for Janeway. Seven loved Kathryn Janeway deeply, it might not be romantic love, but Seven's love of the older fiery woman was plan for anyone to see. Janeway had taken Seven from the Borg, the only 'family' she had had for nearly twenty years and Seven still cared for the captain. Force her eldest child into danger and Seven still loved Janeway. Granted Icheb was safe and sound where he was now but still....Janeway had forced his departer in the first place.
She had ordered the littlest of the Sochlings away and Seven still loved her captain, her sons died because of that order and Seven still loved the captain. This last thing... Seven complying with Janeway trying to thrust an unwanted presence of Magnus Hansen onto the lanky blonde stirred a fire so deep within B'Elanna, the Klingon doubted it would ever burn out completely.
And so B'Elanna's only recourse was to take her anger out on the diamond. The thing was B'Elanna was just as fiercely loyal and come just as fiercely to care for Janeway and that was what truly pissed her off.
Seven hadn't moved from her spot, it was as if she had become rooted to the deck platting of sickbay. Her blue eyes starring at the figure on the bed. She had not known how long she had been there but it was long enough for Captain Janeway to return from the away mission.
Upon seeing the superior expression of triumph upon their captain's face B'Elanna for the first time since the time of the Caretaker wanted to give into her rage and wipe that smugness form the other woman's face. 'This is why I hated Starfleet self righteous pac'ta, them and the lapdogs of the Federation.'
The triumphant expression on Janeway way fell almost instantly when she saw her young protege. Material instincts drove Kathryn forward touching Seven's arm. The former drone gave no indication she knew she had been touched, none at all. She simply stared at the figure on the bed, her blue eyes screaming the pain her heart was feeling.
"He's going to be okay." Janeway said misinterpreting the young woman's body language. "Our Doctor will see to it, do worry Seven."
"Why?" the blonde uttered so silently Kathryn wasn't so sure she actually heard the voice.
"I don't know Seven, but you have your father back." Janeway answered under the assumption that Seven was asking the great cosmic question why do things happen they way they do.
"Why did you bring him here? I don't want him here."
"Seven?" The Captain laid a scrutinizing gaze upon the form Borg. "Care to elaborate?" her tone that was of giving an order. Seven was about to open her mouth to comply when B'Elanna gripped her wife's pressure on his arm.
"You don't have to answer that Annika. Its personal a Captain has no business interfering with the personal life of her crewmates. Come home with me Be'nel, I'll take care of you." The message was loud and clear and more than that it was one hundred percent correct.
Janeway opened her mouth to say something but snapped it shut watching as her chief engineer escorted her astrometrics officer out of sickbay. She saw only briefly was Rothery stepped out of the shadows offering her own brand of silent support for her lover.
"I can understand," Miral said watching the same pair leave her child and daughter-in-law. "I wouldn't want some honorless pa'tac back in my life either, espcially one that I would only associate pain with. Sometimes its better to leave the dead, dead. Stick...my daughter-in-law said goodbye to her father a long time ago. Now she is faced with a thing that has her father's face."
Again Janeway opened her mouth to say something but was stopped by Mizoti. "Captain? If I do something that makes you angry....will you make me go back to the Wysanti?"
"What...why would you ask that sweety?' Janeway was now kneeling in front of the Norcadian. Her own steel-blue eyes be-spelled by the hazel eyes of Seven's daughter.
"SoS'oy loves Mor...not you...mot like that. She must have made you angry so you brought her papa back to punish her." The child found the blue carpet of sickbay immensely fascinating.
Kathryn's fingers lifted Mizoti's chin. "I wanted to bring Seven her family back...I would never intentionally hurt your mother, Mizoti. You know that."
The girl didn't answer.
"My SoS'oy need me." the girl clammed up and darted out of sickbay as quickly as her little legs could carry her.
Miral shrugged. "You'd think she was genetically Lanna's wa'hom. Lanna dealt with difficult things in the same way, it's the human in her. However it's a good thing she is running to someone rather than away from some one."
"I had meant only goodness out of this." Kathryn's voice betrayed a meeker side of herself, one only Amanda Rothery had ever heard.
"Isn't there a human saying Captain about the road to hell is paved with good intentions? Of course Grethor has a road paved by the same thing." Shrugging the older Klingon left presumably after her family, leaving the captain alone with her security detail, the drone and the EMH.
"Captain..." a hesitant voice of the holographic doctor broke through Janeway's wall of guilt. "Maybe we should get Seven back in here."
"Why? What's wrong?" the captain stepped up to the forcefield, her guards and Rothery. The latter placed her own hand upon her lover's arm.
"Captain....."there was a hesitation in the doctor's voice. "He was prematurely extracted from the alcove. A drone can be deactivated up to severity-three hours before they can not be restored. The amount of damage this dron....Mr. Hansen sustained was critical. Seven knew exactly how to deactivate him and she did so quick and painless. He hadn't suffered when he went down. He was placed in the medical alcove to be restored..."
"And when I ordered his extraction," Kathryn swallowed. "I sentenced him to death."
"I am sorry Captain. But ironically had remained with the Borg he would have had a chance. I can't save him. The degradation of his systems is too much for me to recover. He might have an extended span of life if Seven were to donate her nanoprobes and a sustained time in an alcove, but even then he would be in a coma. The shock to his cortical node un-repairable Its failing Captain and unless we get a knew one there isn't even a remote chance I can save him."
"And with the node?" Rothery asked for her Captain. "We have a whole ship of parts out there, just waiting to be harvested."
The photonic doctor shook his head. "The retro virus introduced in to the Borg will not give a viable donor. And its unethical to harvest from an unwilling host." The Doctor pinned the Captain having to go against her wishes before on this same issue when Seven was dying. Janeway had been willing to catch a live drone removes its cortical node all so Seven could live and be damned the consequences.
The Captain just stared at the pale figure on the bed. All she wanted to do was to give Seven her family back. But she had forgotten to look at the people surrounding the young woman. A wife, two kids, a goddaughter, a mother-in-law....and even a 'sister' in Samantha Wildman, an uncle in Neelix and even a maternal figure in the captain herself. Seven had her family.
"Can he be revived?" Janeway asked.
"Yes, but he will be in severe pain, and the chances of him being cognizant are ten to one, Captain." The doctor said. "And with he being Borg, I can not give him anything to numb the pain."
"Can we return him to the Diamond?" Janeway was desperate.
"No. Once again the retro-virus will have contaminated all the ships systems. He might have had a chance to adapt to the virus had he remained on the diamond. To transport him back would surly kill him and it wont be the swift kind death Seven gave her father, it would be brutal. As a physician I will not allow it. Captain he is essentially a prisoner of war. He had certain rights amenable to him."
"Of course." Janeway could only nod. "In that case doctor keep me posted, I'll be in on the bridge. Rothery your with me."
"Aye Captain." the lieutenant answered and tailed after her captain leaving the doctor and drone alone. Her dark eyes betrayed her deep concern for her lover. From previous experiences Amanda knew Kathryn would go into a downward spiral of guilt and dispar. Just what they didn't need post Borg encounter.
B'Elanna wasn't the only one reflecting upon so recent a memory. Kathryn Janeway lamented over the decision she had made. So much so she had not thought twice over the decision to destroy the Borg diamond, or Torres' request she had the new recovered shuttle assist in carrying out those orders.
It had only been an hour since the incident in sickbay, Torres must have managed to calm Seven down enough to be confident in leaving her behind. Of course Seven had her youngest and her mother-in-law there as a support group so the distraught young Bog would be able to manage a couple of hours without her wife.
Commander Chakotay was in full compliance the Borg ship should be destroyed. And since the drone Magnus Hansen could not be salvaged..healed...than it..he...should be sent back to the dimand as well. To be buried in space as it were.
Janeway refused after all the drone wasn't quite dead yet, and she could not consciously send a 'prisoner of war or a refugee' to their deaths.
'I want to target the diamond, I promised my wife I'd protect her, she wants that frigging thing destroyed and that is exactly what I intend to do.'
B'Elanna's words still encoded in her ears. The captain knew that if she did not allow the hybrid Klingon she would hijack her own ship the Keillien and do the job herself. And if she didn't because of duty Captain Miral would do the deed herself. And so Janeway allowed the young engineer to leave with the unique living ship.
From the front viewer revealed the Keillien disembarking from the shuttlebay. In moments the Diamond was bombarded with what looked like silver metallic jellyfish. A swarm of weaponry left the 'mouth / weapons array' of species 342, with a single mission.
They were coming.
The crew of Voyager watched in fascination as the 'torpedoes' bombarded the diamond with quantum kinetic energy, shredding holes in the hull. There were dozens of them forming a single flight path, so closely that they looked to be a single writhing entity rather than dozens of single spidery-metallic jellyfish. Once they struck their target, the spindling tentacles of the metallic jellyfish clung to the hull and preceded to rip apart the ship.
"Captain," Harry Kim said from Ops. "This is amazing, um..lack of a better word jellyfish torpedoes emanate an EM surge that effectively shuts down the ships systems. It'd be devastating on a ship like ours that uses nero-circuitry."
"Very much like the jellyfish they resemble. When I was twelve I can remember being stung by a jellyfish swimming in the Atlantic." Chakotay said. "My whole body sized up and I was paralyzed. Would have drowned if it wasn't for my grandfather."
"In this instance it is not a biological organism the 'jellyfish' sting but vessels, efficient and effective." Came Tuvok's report.
"And they make short work of it to." Rothery stared at the view from her position at the helm. "Holly Hannah, would you just look at that thing, they don't stop!"
A head of them the metallic jellyfish had breached the hull of the diamond and spider-walked into the gapping fissures their metallic claws and created.
"Damn...what could stop them?" Amanda whispered, thinking how could one evade such a swarm?
"Hopefully the Keillien." Janeway said with a little less confidence than she would have preferred.
The bridge crew continued to stare as the diamond was 'dissembled' from the inside out, leaving behind a debris field several kilometers long. The swarm changed trajectory and headed directly for Voyager.
"Voyager to Keillien, stand down your weapons!" Janeway bellowed.
'Keillien here, Captain. Weapons are impotent and are awaiting pickup. They are renewable.' B'Elanna answered. 'We are on our way back now.'
"Good to hear Lieutenant." Janeway smiled briefly. "I want you to take one of the 'jellyfish torpedoes' to engineering and dissect it."
'Jellyfish torpedoes?' the smirk was in the voice of Torres.
"My idea Maquis. Come on they DO look like jellyfish." Harry defended himself.
'Good name. I'll get on the dissection momentarily Captain, Torres out.'
"God I swear she picked up Seven's bad habits after spending time in her body." Chakotay said. "B'Elanna knows better than to sign off before being dismissed."
"And who's idea was to make the body switch happen in the first place Commander?" Janeway abolished not allowing her first officer to rant about prodical when he himself broke prodical with his unorthodox and unsanctioned method of punished months earlier.
"Pot calling the kettle black, got your point, Captain." the large bear of a man tried to smile to fain away his uncomfortable situation. He had suffered many an uncomfortable situation in the past few days, one of which still remained in sickbay. A situation of course he had to place in his official reports for Starfleet.
With the Diamond destroyed, Kathryn dismissed herself from the bridge and headed for her ready-room giving control over to Chakotay. It was near the end of shift and being captain gave her a small and rarely used luxury of signing off shift early. She felt the crushing titan hold of guilt seize her heart and strangle it. The one soul she sought to protect, she fought the most menacing of enemies for she had hurt so gravely.
She had only ever wanted to do good by Seven, love her. Now that this young woman belonged to anther, Kathryn was left with only loving her as a dear friend. She had to turn the love she had into something maternal so she could justify the passion she had for the blonde. So she could feel as if she wasn't betraying the one woman who asked no quarter of her nor ever would.
"So that's what you're going to do then," came a voice from behind her. "Hide out in the dark?"
"Lieutenant, I didn't summon you to my ready-room what are you doing here?"
Rothery stepped up behind the woman she loved. "It's four hours after shift, Kath, I am not here as your lieutenant. I am here as your lover. I am here to kick some sense in that cute arse of yours. And if you want, I'll kick it for real in the sparring ring."
Kathryn turned her blue gaze unto the statuesque blonde with a glare that would have withered the most stalwart of warriors. Amanda didn't shrink, in fact she became bolder. It was one of the reasons, Kathryn Janeway had to admit she adored about the younger woman.
"Four hours brooding in the dark, seems a bit selfish to me." Amanda said as she passed her lover and flopped onto the sofa. Kicking her booted feet up onto the cushion, an action she knew the captain hated. "Look you fucked up. So what, you'll get over it, Seven will get over it. But you let this whole fucking dark eat you up, you never will. Go tell that woman you're sorry, you made a very bad judgment call and ask for forgiveness."
"You're entirely too bold, Mandy."
"You say that because you know I am right, Kath. You're pissed, and you want to take it out on me? Fine, there's a padded gym floor just waiting for us. Besides you're getting to soft sitting in that chair."
"Are you trying to goad me?"
"Is it working?" Amanda flashed a smile.
Kathryn was about to snarl something but seeing that full Cheshire grin on her lover, the anger withered. "A little."
"Good. Maybe I should try harder." another smile, "Or as any good security officer would I could change battle tactics." With a very come hither look, Amanda opened her arms which Kathryn willingly sunk into. Almost immediately Amanda's hand slipped down the captain's waist to her thigh. "I'll get you on the floor another way. Ever do it in the ready room?"
"What?" the blonde asked in mock innocence. "You have a ton of pent up emotion doll-face and you've got work it out of your system. Now we can either get all sweaty in the gym, or we can get all sweaty making each other scream. I want to see you, panting and gasping in air and I will. You've gotta choose on how that will happen."
"God you're incorrigible."
"Better than conventional. Admit it Red, you like it." To make her point, Amanda's deft hand slipped under the waist band of the black trousers and Starfleet issue underwear into the apex of Kathryn's core. "You started without me.....guess the choice is made." Her tongue slipped out to trail a soft line along shell-like curves of Kathryn's ear. "After....you go to Seven and make it right. Right now, I am taking your pain my love, and that's a direct order, Captain."
Janeway could do nothing but moan her answer, her body shivering under the soft administrations of her lover, wanting more, wanting it harder. She knew she could trust Amanda to give her what she desired most. And in her lover's arms she could become liberated in the blonde's dominance.
"Annika...BangwI...you around?" B'Elanna said coming into their quarters. It was quiet and dark. The scent of her lover was thick but not recent. Growing concerned the young engineer ordered the computer to locate her wife.
"Please rephrase the question," the computer said blandly.
B'Elanna rolled her eyes, "You don't get 'where is my wife?' Fine. Locate Seven of Nine."
"Seven of Nine is in B'Elanna Torres' quarters."
Once more the Klingon frowned. Then it dawned on her, since they were a pair she had been sharing quarters with her wife. They had logically used Seven's because of the portable alcove was in a cavity in the bed. The only reason Seven might be in B'Elanna's quarters was because her mother had declined the VIP room and chose instead to shack up at B'Elanna's.
Admitting herself into her own quarters, B'Elanna heard the very rare sound of Seven laughing. It was a sound B'Elanna had fallen deeply for, even before they were a couple. Even before they found love. She thought the first time she has heard the sound was when they had traded bodies.
'Of course that was me inside her but still the sound was Seven's.'
"Ah speak of the devil." Miral said as B'Elanna entered the common room of the quarters. Her immediate reaction was to pause before she took another step but the beguiling smile her wife graced her with lured the younger Klingon into Seven's waiting embrace.
"Whatever she told you it's only half true," B'Elanna said taking her favored position on Seven's lap and without care of observers as she nipped the delicate earlobe. "So what she'd say?"
Seven did well not to moan her desire was her mate's tongue slipped out and touched the starburst on her right cheek. "She commented that you often disassembled household items, fishing rods and ground-cars to make them more efficient and improve upon the design as a child. She also said you removed the safety mechanism on a gyro-swing so that a childhood tormentor would go flying off."
"She pissed off the humans but I was impressed with her accomplishment."
"Yeah so impressed that soon thereafter you scurried me off to a Monastery." There was an unmistakable growl to younger Klingon's voice.
"You needed to direct that anger B'Elanna. You are a parent now and you'll find yourself doing thing 'for' your children they will almost resent and not understand at the time, but you know what is best for them. When your littlest growls at you about something being unfair or that you're making them do something they don't want, you remember me," Miral said without a hint of hurt in her voice. "A mother sees the world differently than others. I was responsible for teaching you honor and your heritage, just as you are now responsible for the same in your own children even if you didn't give birth to them. They are children of your House, and they may not like what you do, but there are times it must be so."
To this B'Elanna remained mute as did Seven. Both knew in their heart Miral was more than correct. Perhaps it was time to view the world differently.
Seven gave a thought to her own father still in sick-bay. Miral had forced the path of the Warrior onto B'Elanna but that path did not kill her nor in truth harm her. Magnus's path had killed the innocence of Annika Hansen and what came forth was a Prime-Drone who carried the path of Perfection that had indeed brought harm to thousands. And yet having adopted the path of Honor, havening listened to Miral and loving B'Elanna, Seven knew what path she had to travel.
"Benel, SoS..." Seven said as she rose. "I have to leave."
"Nicky?" B'Elanna took no care in disclosing her concern.
"I'll be in sickbay." The ex-drone made to move for the door.
"You want me to go with you?" the smaller woman questioned, her hand holding Seven's arm.
"No, this is something I must do alone, Bella."
The somber blonde patted her wife's hand before she removed it and vanished through the door. She had to say goodbye to her father. It was time to put everything behind her.
A shower and a few moments of sleep after a hard session of love, Kathryn was ready to face the Borg Queen if she had too. Her beloved Amanda made her feel...actually it was right there. Amanda made her 'feel.' Kathryn wasn't numb as she had been, she wasn't in the depression she would have sunk in as she had once during the Void. She felt alive, and more importantly completely in control. She was a Janeway after all, and a Janeway never shirked from duty.
Her duty now was honor. Honor to a soul she loved deeply and cared for. Kissing her slumbering lover on the bridge of her nose, the captain left Amanda to continue her rest in her bed, which they had retreated too after as Amanda so indelicately put it they 'did it' in the ready room. Amanda had an extraordinary stamina which the captain had thought only two others could have matched. Seven of Nine and B'Elanna Torres.
Admiring the strength in Amanda, her first wounded bird, Kathryn Janeway plotted a course though Voyager to yet another wounded bird. Seven wasn't a woman to hold a grudge. Kathryn knew the young former Borg would forgive her, but she had to ask not only for Seven but for herself as well.
Seven entered the sickbay morgue, her eyes adjusting quickly to the darkness enveloping the sterile space, the former Prime had no difficultly in locating the gurney her father occupied. A Mylar blanket covered the man, though to Seven this was almost ridiculous and inefficient waste, why did humans think that covering the dead, made death more comfortable? She supposed this was the Doctors ill-advised attempt to make the drone appear more human. Seven decided she much preferred the Klingon death, pry open the eyes and howl, and that was the end of it. The shell that contained the spirit was then discarded. It was almost Borg-like.
Seven's blue eyes had not lifted from the prone form, the mixture of emotions running a gambit in her mind both confused and disconcerted her. The young woman almost felt contrite for what she had to do to him to save her wife, but she would without considering the effects do so again. B'Elanna was her priority, her new collective also her priority everything else was irrelevant. At least that was what she wanted to believe.
She took a single step forward, stopped and would not be moved. Her mind circled backwards into a time before the Queen had claimed her.
"Annika!" A very tall sandy-blonde male approached.
"Papa." The child wrapped her arms around her father. "Please don't go today."
"Sweety we talked about this…your mother and I have work to do. Now I want you to stay away from the bridge consols. No more stargazing."
"Papa…" Little Annika pouted. "But…today…is…my…"
"I am not going to go over this again. Now stop being difficult."
"I hate the Borg!" Annika stomped her foot. "They're really, really scary and they have weird voices…and…and…and…their mean. They Ass…."
"Enough! Annika you're being extremely difficult."
Seven lifted her eyes to the man on the slab. 'No not a man, it's a Borg tactical drone, nothing more. What an old argument it had been. Magnus and Erin leaving Annika on the Raven for hours on end. Sometimes a whole day and into the next would pass before the six year old would see her parents. During those times they would secure the door to the living quarters after Annika had accessed the star charts within the data base and attempted to chart a course back home. The child that was Annika Hansen learned at a very early age that it was expected of her to not only understand but accept habitual abandonment.
She learned that her night-terrors would not be readily soothed for mama was more interested in 'Junior' than her. She learned that she had to feed herself, or she would go hungry, because research was more important than she was. She learned how to fend for herself, because only the Borg mattered. Annika began to resent the Borg. They had taken her family far before they were assimilated. Annika often wished she would be assimilated, if only to know her parents love. If she was assimilated, her parents would care for her then, she would be important. She would matter. But she was only a little human girl, not very big, not very pretty, not at all interesting, not important. Christmas would come and go, a birthday would come and go and it was irrelevant because it didn't pertain to the Queen.
Another step closer and Seven would pause once more, the blue ice in her eyes melting into an azure blaze
"Nicky…we'll be back in a few hours. Okay? Then we'll have a little family time." The Nordic beauty kissed her daughter upon her forehead and ruffled the locks of gold.
"Mama can't you go tomorrow? Today is…"
"We'll be back sweety." Erin Hansen softly assured her daughter. "Magnus we won't have this window for long. We are so close to gaining information on the Queen. Junior is active."
The adults moved to the transporter-bay and fizzled out of the ship.
Annika stared at the empty space feeling suddenly very much alone. She hated being alone for it was a state she commonly found herself in. "Today is my birthday…I am six today." She sighed. "You forgot…you forget everything."
She padded back into the main quarters and looked at the model of the Borg Cube. Rage built in the child. She picked up the model and threw it against the bulkhead. There was a satisfactory smash of plastic bits as it collided with the metal of the wall. "I hate you! I hate you! I hate the Borg!" She fell to the floor holding her knees to her chest crying. "I hate the Borg! I Hate the Borg!"
Seven grimaced. What did it matter that they forgot her birthday? Seven knew as a child she was little more than a bipedal talking pet. Since she became self-efficient her parents left her alone for longer and longer periods of time. The only time they returned was when the bio-dampeners would soon give out. Magnus had been trapped on a cube at one point, during one such incident.
Annika hated the Borg, more than anything. She hated the Queen even more. What child could hope to compete against the Queen? Her papa and even Mama had become enamored with the powerful creature that controlled the Collective. She was both an individual and one that was many.
A further step forward and yet another pause. The Queen. Seven shuddered at the first time she came in contact with the Queen.
"I can understand." Came a soft purring voice.
Annika looked up to see the pallid face of a female. She wore Borg armor or rather it looked as if it had been painted upon her petite gaunt frame. She was bald with five tubes arcing like a topknot out of her head and going back into her neck. Her eyes were a color Annika had never seen before and could not describe but only to say they seemed to glow. Her face modeled a greenish-gray lit up into a cruel smile. Annika's knee jerk reaction was to pull back sucking in an air of dread.
"You know who I am don't you?" The Borg purred.
"You…you are the Queen…"
"Go away!" Annika was now on her feet and started to run for the opposite side of the room. Her electric blue eyes looked frantically for a way out. Her voice shaking as she spoke. "You…you can't be here! Go away!"
"I do not intend on staying aboard the USS Raven, AnnikaHansen. However I intend on "tagging" what is mine."
"I will never be yours!" Annika screamed as loud as she could.
"I disagree." The Queen smiled. "Resistance is futile. One day you will come to appreciate this. You will be mine AnnikaHansen. And you will be trained in a designated path for I sense a unique spirit. You will be as I am. Your distinctiveness will be added to our own. You will become apart of Unimatrix Zero-One.' She moved as a panther taking Annika by the chin her lips pulling back into a cold smile. Tubules snaked out of her hand causing the child to cringe.
"No!" Annika pushed against the Queen, believing that resistance was NOT futile.
"You will be a difficult one. But it will be irrelevant in the end." The Queen stood up again flashing a slight smile that would make an iceberg shudder in terror. "WE will see one another again AnnikaHansen. By that time your designation will change. I will personally arrange it so that you will not be an ordinary drone. I will show you perfection in such a way your small being can never imagine. You are small however in time you will be as I am. I have very special designs for you AnnikaHansen." The cruel lines of the smile deepened.
The memory burned within Seven's mind until she was aware of little else. The child had shied from the touch, not just out of fear but out of revulsion that for a mere moment, the girl had felt wanted. Someone wanted her, someone made her feel like she was worth something. That she was indeed special. Only that something the prime example of all that Annika hated. She had value to the Queen, and that terrified Annika.
Seven took yet another step closer to the resting man on the bed. She could see the familiar lines of her father. Her stomach tightened in a knot, her lungs burned with heavy air, as she gazed down at Magnus Hansen
More memories flooded her mind
"Papa…. please…listen to me! We have to leave now!" Annika's voice was shuddering as she was pleading with Magnus Hansen.
"Annika I know you're a little upset we forgot your birthday…but we had so much important work to do…"
"I don't care! Papa the Borg they were here…the Queen she was here! Papa please... Mama…Mama…make him listen! She said she's going to assimilate me…she…she…"
Magnus had just about had it with he little girl. Granted they had forgotten it was her birthday today, but that was no reason to throw a temper tantrum. "Annika you shouldn't make up stories."
"I'm not! She was here." Annika insisted, she felt her eyes stinging from the welling tears.
"The Queen? Do you expect me to believe that Annika Hansen? Really you know better then to lie." He snatched her arm squeezing it tightly until there was a slight pop.
"I'm not making it up! She was here!" Annika's tears fell freely, down her face. She knew better than to cry with her father. He hated cry-babies. He always 'gave' her something to cry about. Crying resulted in hitting.
"Enough!" Magnus struck his little girl, the effect was immediate. Annika snapped her mouth shut. His temper still hot, he grabbed Annika by the arm, wrenched her into the family area and flung her to the floor. "Now stay there. You're only acting up to get attention. I don't want to hear you, I don't want to see you for the rest of the night is that clear!"
Annika remained mute, unsure if she should answer, he just said not to talk.
"I said is that clear?' he grasped her face in his hand squeezing until Annika was sure her jaw was going to break.
Annika nodded, too scared to do anything else.
Seven rubbed her face, remember the bruises she had earned that night. She remembered her arm was numb for hours, she hadn't known that her Papa had hyper-extended her elbow, she only knew it hurt terribly.
"Why didn't you believe me Papa? Why? Why was I so unimportant to you! Why didn't I matter to you! You loved the Borg more than your own flesh and blood. You allowed the Queen to take me, allowed her to make me in her image! Why didn't I matter enough to you Papa? Why?"
"Its her…I told you…I told you!" Annika screamed.
"Annika in the other room now!" Magnus ordered as the ship bucked once more.
"Now!" The tall man barked once more.
It happened too fast. There were explosions everywhere Erin Hansen was cast into a bulkhead and was out cold. Magnus was fighting hand to hand with three drones. His voice calling out to his little girl: "Annika hide. Hide Annika!"
The small child ducked under the command consol trying to make herself smaller. The last image she saw was a drone assimilating her Papa before another one of the drones picked her up.
When Annika opened her eyes again she was facing the Prime. "Resistance is futile." She purred. One hand cupped the girl's chin as the other reached out with the tubules stabbing the small Nordic child in the neck. A little voice screamed out in terror filled agony. "Mamaaaaaaaaa."
Seven was now hovering over her father, "I became important, Papa. You can love me now. I'm important enough to matter to you, I'm the Queen."
"Seven?" The smokey voice of Captain Janeway gently announced the older woman's presence. Her hand rested upon the same arm Magnus years ago had wrenched, a hand softly cupped the same chin that years ago Magnus had bruised. "You matter to us, you're loved here, because you are you."
Seven's blue orbs found the parental love she had been seeking for so long. She had never found it in the Hansens. She had not found it in the Queen, but she found it in this small woman before her. She found love of the heart in her wife and children.
"Come, there is no one in this room for you Seven, you can't say good-bye in a morgue."
"Captain." the title slipping from Seven's tongue was soft and complying not as a crew member following orders, but as a beloved child to a devoting mother. Without offering resistance the blonde followed her captain out of the morgue, out of sickbay and into the halls.
Without asking their destination, she trusted the captain as she followed her to a turbolift, and remained silent as Janeway asked for holodeck one. "When I was a small girl, and I felt the injustice of the world as I knew touch me, I'd go out into the pastures run as fast as I could until my legs hurt and my lungs burned and my sides ached. One time I found this lake, and it was so secluded, I thought it must have been hidden for centuries." Kathryn smiled rueful. "Of course it was a lake generations of Janeways had used for livestock. But I was young and believed in childish dreams. The lake remained my secret. I'd go there often, to think, to shout at the world, my parents or my sister would upset me, I'd throw stones into the lake." Janeway smiled brightened, "I think by the time I became an adult I virtually made a mini island in the middle."
The two stopped before doors of the holodeck so that the captain could type a few controls into the consol, "Start program Janeway-Indiana 97-Delta-three."
"Program now in progress."
"Captain?" Seven's eyebrow arched.
"It's a great way to work of frustrations. The lake is about six kilometers to the north, on the beach you'll find stacks of rocks. Each rock you throw in is a hurt feeling, an injustice, words you want to say, but maybe you can't to the person you want to. Its time for you to know happiness Seven, let go of the pain." Kathryn placed a hand on Seven's long back. "There might be a few stones that have my name on it, and its okay if you need to throw them into the lake, too. Sometimes the best intentions are better left to heart and not enacted. I am sorry I gave you such pain Seven. That is something I never meant to do."
Seven stared at the picturesque pasture before her, and back to her captain. "I do not harbor ill feelings for you, Captain. I know why you thought you needed to save my father."
"I 'needed' to tell you I the truth. I regret any pain I might have given you." Kathryn said softly. "That wasn't what I intended. It took some tough love from those closest to you, to make me see the you didn't need me to try and give you back your family. They are already here. That's what the lake is for, when your family angers you so much you need to vent it, but don't know how. It might seem silly or futile to you Seven but it actually works. You might want to give it a try. Or sometimes just a calm walk works too. Sometimes you can say things to inanimate objects or the very wind that you can't or won't say to anyone."
Seven turned her gaze from the holo-program to the captain. "I might disagree with you on several decisions but I have always trusted you." Seven stepped forward paused and turned to her captain, "Thank you, Kathryn."
Miral moved past her daughter who made a pass from the bedroom to the common room, for the twentieth time. "Bah! You're a tikia cat."
"What?" B'Elanna turned growling.
"Go after your woman, or are you a worthless petaQ?"
"I'm a petaQ?" the growl now turned to a snarl.
"You're not listening." Miral countered.
"Oh so now I can't hear!" B'Elanna became defensive. A life time living among fragile humans had not truly tempered the younger woman's Klingon passion, no matter how hard she tried to deny it.
"Apparently not because you're trying to pick a fight with your mother, instead of hunting down your mate." Miral smirked.
"You told me I had to let her go!" B'Elanna was all but shouting now. The raised voice gained the attention of both Mizoti and Naomi who were playing Kodis Kot in the bedroom.
"Yes, that was before. Your instincts are kicking in and you shouldn't ignore them. You no longer need a mother's advice. Hunt your woman. And as she would say....'comply'."
B'Elanna stared dumbfounded, but only for a moment, then she was off. Out the door, down the hall and into a turbo lift. Miral had a self-satisfied grin on her face, it broadened when she heard the little girls giggling.
"I got tired of watching her pace, she was going to put a hole in the deck-plating." Miral explained evenly
The girls laughed all the harder.
The Quadrants were at each other's throats baying for blood. Tempers were heated, it was a plasma fire waiting to burst. War: it seemed to be whispered about upon the lips of everyone, out-world colonist, Federation and Imperial civilian, refugees fleeing the Dominion war and soldier alike. However it was not just the flare battles of the Dominion which rallied the Quadrants. Nations were striking at nations. Every leader was clamoring for answers. The question, the birth of the new Borg. The Maquis Borg as they were now called.
Early reports indicated that 'Maquis' Collective did not ignore that which was once deemed irrelevant or inconsequential to the familiar Borg. They only ignored the more insignificant things, paying little attention to it, but they would no longer ignore a possible target. The Maquis Borg didn't even bother with phaser fire anymore they simply deployed the jellyfish-spider drones. The tactical drones did the rest. If a species was not worthy of assimilation, it was destroyed. They would conquer what they desired. The first to feel the strike of the Maquis Borg had been the Cardassians, and for a while the Federation and the Klingons were content to allow it. After all the Cardassian Empire had allied itself with the Dominion, and having the Swarm strike Dominion, Breen and Jem'Hadar vessels was beneficial to the war effort.
Even the Collective could not withstand the Maquis-Borg and they seemed of all races encountered targeted the hardest. In fact when the new Borg went out their way to hunt down and re-assimilate their cousins, even when in an altercation with other ships. Reports from surveying ships reported the chrome-vessels attacked the familiar black-green cubes until the entire vessel was crawling with the Swarm. When the jellyfish-spider drones left their selected victims, a new chrome vessel was left behind, and drones converted into the Maquis-Borg. They were the superior model and so the familiar Borg complied with the upgrade.
Planet-side attacks were much the same, the Swarm came in surrounding everything, resembling insects over a dead body, crawling over buildings and infesting them and converting them with enhanced nanoprobes, the indigenous populations died or were assimilated. So far seven colonies had fallen to the Maquis-Borg. The colonists assimilated, their homes, every building converted into Borg domains. The atmosphere had been altered to high concentrations of methane and fluorine and carbon monoxide. New Borg colonies were established where launching platforms were created for further attacks in the system. The Maquis-Borg were even more unstoppable than their cousins.
For this reason Captain Jean-Luc Picard had been deliberately summoned to evaluate and contain the situation, as well as lead a fleet of Starships to face the new Borg. His expertise with Klingon politics would make him invaluable.
Throughout the Great Hall of High Council on Qo'noS a huge, windowless, high-ceilinged chamber housed the finely rendered statues of the Empire's greatest warriors. They loomed over the throne in the center of the Hall, it was here that Chancellor's great cloak adorned with a dozen different metals was draped over the back. The air felt stale, reeking with the musk of the assorted drunken Klingons, and the overwhelming stink of bloodwine, it seemed to permeate every molecule within the hall.
Gathered in the grandness of the Hall were a host of warriors from various ships, each of them heated in expounding their own theories as to the appearance of the new Borg and the skirmishes that had broke out along the Neutral Zone. The crews of the ships had gathered no only to be given orders to hunt down the new Borg by the Chancellor himself, but discuss what they knew or thought they knew. It got to the point the hall was a roar with arguments and accusations. It wouldn't be long before the warriors started to prove their argument in a more physical manner.
"Enough!" Bellowed the deep voice of Chancellor Martok. The chancellor was covered neck to toe in heavy medal covered cassock that signified his most high office. Where Gowron was ever-political, the one-eyed general was a Warriors' warrior. He was the best the Empire could offer and so it was only natural that the best lead the Empire.
He stood before the assembly, his single eye looking at each warrior in turn. "The battle is never over as long as one of the enemy yet lives." The words originally spoken by Kah'less, now quoted by Chancellor Martok. "Do not think we will allow this slander of honor to go unchecked, but there is a greater enemy than this new Borg."
"It is a mockery of who we are!" growled. Rodek. "The Federation dogs laugh at us. They challenge the fundamentals of what makes us Klingon, what makes us warriors!" Rodek was in truth Kurn also a son of Mogh, a false name invented by Worf to protect his brother, when Gowron cast Worf out of the Empire for opposing him during the raid on Cardassia.
"The Borg proclaim those they are about to conquer jeghpu'wI." Drek Son of Martok grumbled. "We rose to strike against Cardassia, this is Starfleet's dishonorable way to try and tarnish our names, our houses. How can you think we will sit back and allow it?" the younger Klingon spat, his dark eyes never leaving the scarred face of his father.
"The Borg might be created for combat but they do not have the heart of a warrior. We will retain our honor and increase our glory in the battles we will take with the metal constructs, but I tell you again, they are not the true enemy." Martok said. "You would have us chase glob flies, when the true enemy is the lies the Quadrants now believe. There is no proof the Federation is responsible for this deception. I will not be made a fool or have the honor of the Empire stained by the foolish actions of her warriors. We are a proud race and we will go on being proud."
"The Federation is not responsible." Worf's baritone voice boomed, supporting the Chancellor.
"So says the lap-dog of Starfleet," Dorrek son of M'Raq countered. He was backhanded faster than the eye could blink by his elder brother Klag who a few years ago had befriended Commander Riker when he served for a time aboard the I.K.S. Paugh which was the first time a human had served officially with the Klingon Defense Force.
"You quibble like an old woman! Be silent," ordered Klag. "Worf son of Mogh, you will tell us what you know."
"He IS Starfleet!" Drex growled, "His word can NOT be trusted."
Worf swiftly strode forward, his hand striking Drex as it had the day he bested the young warrior on the promenade of DS9, and took his d'k'tahg from him. And once again Worf had claimed the younger warrior's blade and held it to his throat. "You live because I allow it." Worf's voice was chillingly calm. "Never question my honor again, Drex or you die."
Rising the acting Ambassador grunted his disgruntled acknowledgement of Klag's order, "Nine weeks ago Miral daughter of Prasba was captured by a Borg ship that disappeared into the Delta Quadrant where five years prior the USS Voyager and a Maquis vessel were lost. Only recently has Starfleet been able to communicate with Voyager, a fourth of its crew are Maquis. They are led by Kathryn Janeway who has faced in battle the Borg Queen and conquered. She captured and liberated a drone. Not any drone, this one was special to the Queen, in fact she was to be the next in the line of succession to dominate the Collective."
"Who is this Janeway?" Dorrek asked though it was clearly a rhetorical question. If commanders in the Klingon Defense Force had not heard of a Starfleet captain they were of no concern.
Worf decided however to answer the question. "Several years ago Kathryn Janeway had been summoned by Starfleet Command to hunt down a Maquis Raider in the badlands. It was accepted that she was forced to rescue them and use the rebels as a part of her crew rather than have them held in the Brig. But now there are those in Starfleet who doubt Janeway's loyalties. They started looking a little closer to Voyagers crew manifest, Maquis rebels as crewmembers, a Borg drone destined the next Queen as an Astrometrics officer."
"This Janeway lives dangerously. She had Borg crew members?" commented Commander Kurak.
Worf recognized the female from when she was on the Enterprise working with a Ferengi named Dr. Reygia on a metaphasic shield. The project had coast the Ferengi his life, Dr. Beverly Crusher nearly lost her job and Kurak's honor was brought in to question with suspected murder, which of course she was innocent of.
"Janeway not only stole a would-be Queen, but she 'liberated' adolescent Borg children and the father of Seven of Nine." Worf continued his account, "According to Chakotay, formally a Maquis Captain, now first officer of Voyager communicated via Project Pathfinder, that this Seven of Nine infiltrated the Queen's own vessel and with an engineered retro-virus created by the Maquis Chief Engineer, destroyed the Queen, and incited what is known as Royal Protocol. Seven of Nine was initiated by the Collective to become the new Queen. Only she severed herself from the ship before Royal Protocol could finish. According the commander's report Seven had been recently inducted into the Maquis, by one of its own warriors and accepted by her junior officers. This chief engineer of Voyager is also daughter of Miral."
"Are you telling us this Cha'ko'tay's own junior officer is a daughter of the Empire?" Klag managed to keep the surprise out of his voice. "And she deliberately created this new Borg?"
Kurak also a Chief Engineer was intrigued, she would enjoy speaking with this B'Elanna about her accomplishments in engineering, especially considering she was out in the Delta Quadrant with limited resources and creating a new type of Borg with a drone destined to be a Queen.
"I doubt it was deliberate." Worf commented. "More like a byproduct of Seven of Nine's initiation. Her beliefs were assimilated by the Hive Mind when Royal Protocol was instituted, because of the virus the Collective could not declare it irrelevant and so they adapted to it."
"This Seven of Nine is Borg, what do you mean her beliefs?" Martok demanded.
"Commander Chakotay reported that Seven of Nine and B'Elanna Torres have taken the Great Oath. He said that Seven of Nine joined the Maquis Resistance, she was sponsored by B'Elanna and several members of the Maquis." Worf said.
"Bah!" Rodek spat, "She is no Klingon if she takes a Borg to her bed."
Lieutenant Toq however was almost grinning. "And they created the new Borg, to dominate the Delta Quadrant for the Empire."
Worf glanced at the eager young male. He had first encountered the youth in the Carraya system. They were the descendants of those who had survived the Khitomer massacre. He and several others were prisoners in a Romulan prison camp. Worf had gone there because he had heard Mogh was one of the survivors, he was not. The prisoners were living in peace with the Romulans, the children knew nothing of their heritage until Worf told them. Toq and several of the children who wished to go back to the Empire were allowed to leave, the camp was kept a secret, the kids were "survivors of a crash years earlier" Toq entered the Defense Force to honor his lost heritage and Worf. He was as all young enthralled by heroic stories. Apparently the story of B'Elanna was now among them.
Worf himself had to admit he was intrigued by B'Elanna daughter of Miral. Martok was the head of his house. And he knew Miral, a female with exceptional spirit and will. She was, despite Klingon sexism, allowed to command a ship. No allowed wasn't right word she had earned the right to command and was well respected. He had seen a picture of Captain Miral's daughter. Worf thought her a most beautiful sensual female he had laid eyes on. Her beauty surpassed even Kah'lar, and Deanna Troi's.
Martok knew he had to regain the floor, before the heated tempers erupted into a brawl. "We will live up to the ideals of Kah'less. The war against the Dominion is on a scale not seen in generations, for a millennia. We will be victorious, we will not abandon the course of honor. I want proof whether this rise of new Borg serves the Empire or threatens it. If they serve the Empire they are nothing more than the likes of a disrupter.
"We are Klingons, and we must make our Empire strong again. We are winning the war with the Dominion but our greatest resources are nearly depleted, we have lost many fine warriors and we can not allow the Romulans to benefit from the division amongst the Borg, we must use this opportunity that has been given to us. If B'Elanna daughter of Miral has indeed retaken the Borg and made it in the image of the Empire, then she will be remembered in song for generations to come in high glory in the Empire.
"The greatest foe is the unknown, do not trust this new manifestation of the Borg, so far their conquests have only benefitted the Empire, the Cardassians quiver in fear of them, the Jem'Hadar fall easily to them, in this wake it had created hundreds of possibilities for the Empire to expand. If they strike our allies in the Federation we will engage them but we will adhere to our honor, our word and not break the accords of the treaty and strike out against the Federation. Let the Maquis Borg crush the Cardassians into ashes, let them wipe out the Romulans, Breen and Changelings, its like using a Quantum Torpedo we will use them as a weapons resource. You must be ever vigilant, let us go to glory!" Martok's words fired the passion within his warriors. Martok was correct it was a waste to fight against a great wave when you stand in its wake. But to ride the wave, to use it to bring glory to the Empire.
"Starfleet will use the Borg as a launching platform to break the treaty with the Empire, are we to ignore this?" Drex asked of his father. "We use the Maquis Borg to benefit the Empire and the Federation can say we broke the word of the treaty."
"We know Starfleet has sent Picard to battle the new Borg, to stop the flood of their reach. They fear this unknown foe, I say we defeat the unknown and each of you face the foe and be triumphant." Klag said.
"The Borg are cyborgs commanded by a Queen." Worf said with knowing, as he recalled the battle during First Contact when the Queen herself had taken over the Enterprise, Data and engaged in combat against Picard. "If B'Elanna commands the Maquis Borg Queen, this is a benefit to all of us and would be used for tactical advantage."
"The Federation would seek this no doubt." Martok started to think. If Starfleet commanded Voyager, and Voyager was commanded by Janeway, who commanded B'Elanna then Starfleet not the Empire would have the power over the Maquis Borg. This could not be allowed to happen. "Worf, as a member of the Empire and of my House, you will go to this Project Pathfinder and demand to speak to B'Elanna. She is after all the daughter of my mate, I will have the right to speak with her. Make it happen."
Worf knew that Martok had preformed the right of R'uustai for B'Elanna and taken her as his daughter, which was far more than adopting her into his House. The younger male bowed his head acknowledging the Chancellor's orders. And Martok was correct, he did have a right to speak to his "daughter" as any other parent had done since the success of Project Pathfinder opened communications to the Delta Quadrant.
"But what is it?" Mizoti starred at a slice of rokeg blood pie and pipius claw sitting on her plate. Like all apprehensive children she poked at it with her fork and looked up to see her Mor trying not to snicker at her plight.
The Torres-Hansen family were all seated in the mess hall to partake of an afternoon meal of traditional Klingon dishes, that Neelix had started cooking on a regular basis in honor of Captain Miral. It was actually Seven's idea to embrace the Klingon's cuisine on the behalf of her mother-in-law. In fact Seven was adapting to Klingonsium with greater efficiency than she had her humanity. The only other culture she could have easily found a place was Vulcan, but that was not her path.
To B'Elanna it amazed her how much of a Klingon heart Seven truly had. Miral loved it. Save for when on duty, the household spoke almost exclusively in Klingonese. In private within their own bedchamber Seven would speak in Spanish with her wife. B'Elanna turned around of course and was learning how to speak the Swedish language of Annika's Nordic ancestry. Seven's willingness to share apart of her ancestry meant so much to B'Elanna and so the young engineer wanted to return the gesture. Besides there was a quality of eloquence and strength to the language that appealed to B'Elanna.
Nine weeks had passed since the death of Seven's father, and the destruction of the diamond. At long last the total revitalization of security systems had been installed into the matrix of Voyager's central computer. Synthetic voices, false security codes could no longer be used to bypass secure firewalls.
Much had changed in the nine weeks, including the growth of Kellian. The living ship now sailed along side Voyager for it had outgrown the shuttlebay. After feasting upon the potent power of the diamond Kellian had grown eleven times her original size. She was now nearly the size of Voyager's saucer section. This of course fascinated both B'Elanna and Seven both as scientists and engineers.
They were going back to Kellian once they had finished their lunch. B'Elanna was becoming more and more amused watching as Mizoti and Naomi picked at their foods. Icheb like many a growing teenage male decided whatever was on his plate was irrelevant he was hungry and started to devour his lunch.
"It wasn't until Seven snapped her name that the B'Elanna realized that she had yet to stick a fork into her own plate. "You will all cease in these diversionary tactics to avoiding consuming your meals! Commence eating. Comply!" Seven ordered, her voice a hybrid of a Klingon-mother and Borg-queen.
The girls, Icheb, B'Elanna, and even the entire complement in the mess hall turned quickly from the distractions and started to hurriedly consume whatever it was they were eating, lest the mother-Klingon / Borg-queen in Seven do something other than growl at them. Miral let out a barking laugh, thinking it was the funniest thing she had heard and seen in a while. Of course having heard the order given in her native tongue made it all the more comical for the aging Klingon.
It seemed not only to Miral but to B'Elanna that Seven's embrace of the Klingon culture was a survival instinct as much as it was to honor it. Nine weeks ago, Seven had nearly reverted back to the solid mechanical demeanor of the Borg drone she was when she first arrived on Voyager. The memories of her father's bi-polar abuse had summoned memories Seven had felt better buried than relived. B'Elanna's silent strength ebbed the emotional walls as water erodes stone, Of course it was only then that the chief engineer had started to see that her wife was adapting more and more Klingon traits.
This setback or whatever it was one wished to title it could be traced back to Magnus Hansen. After Seven had fled sickbay those many nights ago, she had started to erect the Borg walls once more. The safe walls the secure place where she thought emotions irrelevant. Her wife would not allow it so. It was not the warrior way, it wasn't B'Elanna's style to allow Seven to shy from the difficult things in life. Seven failed at dating and yet she dated B'Elanna, her tragic and ill-fated tryst with the Holodeck also a massive failure but the relationship with B'Elanna was forever strong. Her childhood was no one's pleasure, abducted, assimilated and mental raped by the Queen, physically emotionally and mentally abused by her father for which memories were only now resurfacing. It was all too easy for Seven to become the Ice Queen once more.
B'Elanna wouldn't allow it. They had come so far in a relatively short amount of time. Within five days after the switch of spirits and bodies the two had found more than a common understanding of the other, they had discovered love. Within three weeks, they were ready to commit. How and why they came to move so rapidly into a cemented relationship was difficult to say; but B'Elanna knew one certainty, she loved her wife and would fight whatever nemesis she had to for her and that included Seven's own inner demons.
B'Elanna smirked deeply to herself as she watched her family eat. It sank in more and more each day. She had a family, a ready made one at that. 'A wife and two point five kids if you count Kellian as a family member or at the very least a pet. Never-mind said pet is sentient.'
Now that the power systems were restored to security, Seven and B'Elanna wanted to tackle the quantum transwarp and slip stream drives. They had also wanted to see what Kellian was capable of. It would be after their meal that B'Elanna and Seven accompanied by Miral and the two girls would venture out on the devil-ray shaped vessel. Icheb was on duty and thus unable to join his family.
B'Elanna sat back in her chair watching her family eating, and enjoying the very idea she had a family.
"What are you smirking at about girl?" Miral said gaining her daughter's attention.
"I had to come to the Delta Quadrant to find everything. My honor, my family even peace with my mother. ... I don't think there is much for us for me to go back to in the Alpha Quadrant."
"The Empire is in the Beta quadrant, that's your home B'Elanna. You have a place there, serve with the Defense Force. Captain, Kellian for Empire. The Federation...Starfleet isn't a place for your wife and children. We both know this. They will face challenges but the Empire isn't interested in dissecting your family."
The table grew silent, five sets of eyes looked to Miral, and she looked back her own gray eyes, "I defy you to say differently B'Elanna, you know Starfleet. You said it yourself on that damn Diamond, your wife didn't receive a warm welcome aboard Voyager. What do you think they will do to her and the kids once Starfleet gets a hold of her. You're better off in the Empire, even if you're running your own merchant line rather than apart of the Defense Force. Even the Maquis retreated to the Empire, knowing they had place amongst true warriors."
B'Elanna wanted to defy her mother's words, but somehow she knew the older Klingon was right, The Federation would interrogate and quite possibly perform experiment after experiment on her wife.
"Captain Janeway won't let that happen." Mizoti commented. Nine weeks ago the child had been furiously angry with the captain, now however the bold captain was once again a revered woman of strength. Of course to Mizoti no one not even her Mor could take the pedestal her SoS'oy had been placed upon. "And my mothers will never allow the Federation to dissect us. They defeated the Queen, the Federation's attempt to capture my family will be futile."
There would be no refuting that belief.
B'Elanna Torres wanted to know just what Kellian could do now that she was more mature. She had already seen her in a mini-battle and she was astonished at the Jelly-torpedo deployment that completely dismantled its targets. The young Klingon slipped Kellian into a loose combat speed.
Captain Janeway was just was excited to see what the living ship was truly capable of, which was why she gave the go-ahead on the test runs. A good captain always knew what she had in her arsenal and under her command. She watched the whole event from astrometrics knowing it would give her the best viewing of the flight. Beside her was her love Amanda Rothery and cadet Icheb. Officially both ladies were off duty, but they wouldn't miss this chance for all the marsupial surprise in the mess hall. Icheb himself was he had to admit a bit excited over what Species 342 was capable and still being truthful he had wished his duties had allowed for him to be aboard the living ship.
'You have a go, Kellian let's see what she is capable of.' Janeway's voice came over the Kellian's intercom.
"Copy that, Captain," B'Elanna answered. Turning she winked at her wife then turned back to the helm controls. She loved the interface between her and the living vessel. It wasn't as clumsy or awkward as the 'joy stick' of the Delta Flyer and it wasn't as smooth as the com-panels of Federation vessels, instead it was more akin to the keyboard of a piano. A single touch indicated what B'Elanna wanted to do and Kellian responded instantly.
B'Elanna climbed twenty-eight thousand kilometers above Voyager's port nacelle. From the tactical station, Seven told her wife to come left twenty degrees. This was the start of a long slow circle that would position them behind the Federation vessel. Then Voyager changed course heading directly for Kellian. Seven told B'Elanna to come forty degrees right. Voyager once more changed course. It was still closing on Kellian. B'Elanna knew just how sensitive Voyager's sensors were. Having established the control test, it was now time to open up the full potential.
First the cloaking device.
"Kellian now cloaked." Tuvok's voice came over the captain's combadge.
"Increasing sensors." Janeway answered as her hands tapped in a few commands upon the kiosk panel before her. She could see the rippling effect of a cloaking ship. At first Voyagers scopes could detect nothing. Then....a small distortion in the starfield.
Kellian's reaction time to events was excellent. B'Elanna banked Kellian hard right starting to make a tight turn that would position her behind Voyager once more. The saucer section was 1,000 feet in front of Kellian. The large ship spun into a sharp left turn at 500 feet proximity. She had 'seen' them, and was letting them know it.
Kellian maneuvered under Voyager practically skimming hulls. Kellian zoomed into a right-hand turn as she climbed .into a barrel-roll so she was now parallel with the saucer section. Like a dolphin playing with the much larger orca Kellian continued to dip, roll and spin as close as she could to the larger Federation ship, all while cloaked.
Voyager's Borg enhanced sensors were too sensitive to let a little thing like a cloaking device to get in the way of detecting the 'enemy' vessel. Once more Voyager let the smaller ship know she had been 'seen' by hitting her with a pulse from the tractor-beam. For a moment Kellian's responses were sluggish as they were caught up in the field like a fly on an antique flytrap. Voyager let go of the sleek devil-ray shaped ship who zinged away quickly as if to lick its wounds, or rather her pride.
Kellian spun back around and Voyager lost her off their sensors. Janeway expanded the limits of the sensor array and still nothing more than cosmic dust, typical gamma radiation off of the stars, she even picked up a few L-class planets but no other ships. Nothing.
B'Elanna opened up full throttle, spinning and twisting Kellian into a series of banks rolls and loops. The stealth capacity had gone on beyond her cloaking device she was now mirroring Voyager's own signatures.
"Kellian, lets see how well we fair, de-cloak but keep the mirror in place." the Klingon ordered.
"I will comply." Kellian answered the order.
To the outside eye, the devil ray phased into existence, but she would not appear on the sensors of Voyager, only those looking out the portholes would see her, she didn't even register in astrometrics. The test proved more than successful the last test on Kellian's abilities was to see if she could cloak and utilize the sensor mirror. Once more the living ship proved to be undetectable. And once she dropped the cloaks, Voyager automatically went on Red Alert for the sheer proximity of Kellian.
'An effective demonstration ladies,' Captain Janeway complimented over Kellian's communication systems. 'Kellian is more than capable of defensive protection against hostile elements. And her maneuverability and size make her more than advantageous for exploration just like the delta flyer.'
"Captain, we'd like to experiment with Kellian's more scientific and technical abilities on a longer range scouting mission." Seven informally requested
'Granted.' The Captain gave her approval. 'Investigate the sector ahead of us. With our harvesting of the Borg vessel we have reserves of dilithium but that isn't to say we can't use more and of course there are several other consumable stores we need replenish, report back in seventy-two hours.'
"Hunting and Gathering," B'Elanna translated. "Will do Captain. See you in three days, Voyager, Kellian out."
B'Elanna turned to Seven sitting near her in the semi-circular bridge of the living vessel, she saw her mother and the girls near by and smirked. "Kellian I know what I can do at the helm, I want to see what your capable of. Take over helm-control."
"I will comply." Kellian answered in her 'Borgish' monotone voice. The mothership had a more warm inflection in her voice, whereas Kellian seemed to mimic Seven. Considering that she was partially assimilated though explained much in the vessel's 'mannerisms'
Aboard Voyager Commander Chakotay watched as the vessel Kellian disappeared, she was once again cloaked. "Cloaking must be a natural running maneuver for her." The large man said, "Why else slip into stealth mode?"
"Could explain why we have never encountered them and they eluded the Borg and Hirgoen so effectively." Janeway added. "Kellian has developed into a very interesting vessel. You know with her presence we just added to our chances of survival out here in the Delta Quadrant. She can accommodate passengers, assist in reserves, and as she is now go on extended scouting missions for consumables."
"It's been assimilated Captain, how do we know we can trust it?" Always suspecting, Chakotay wasn't so ready to trust this Borg vessel. "All we have is Seven's word that it won't try to contact the Collective. And on that note Captain, Seven herself was in the Queen's Chamber undergoing 'Royal Protocol'."
"What point are you trying to make, Commander?" Janeway's voice dropped an octave. She leaned closer to the bear of a man, her blue-steel eyes steady and alert. "I would think you are accusing Seven of insurrection. Mutiny?"
"Twice before I told you she was a scorpion..."
"Tuvok take the Bridge, Commander you're with me." Janeway didn't look behind her as she headed for the Ready Room. As soon as she turned around she met the Native American with a 'Force Ten' Glare.
Beneath his tribal tattoo, Chakotay's eyebrow crooked, agreeing with his Captain's decision to talk of Seven and B'Elanna in private. Captain Janeway had never held Seven's ignorance against her, even when others were bent on doing so. The stalwart Captain also never tried to make too big a deal out of Seven's lingering alienness. The girl-woman was human, but had so long been infected by the cyborg horror that she still as acted as much machine as alive. Only her new life as a mother and wife had Seven blossomed in her recaptured humanness even if that humanness was Klingon by nature.
Purpose and protectiveness surged through Janeway such as she hadn't felt since the last time she faced off against the Borg Queen, now she faced off against one of her own. Five years of strife and trouble had made those aboard Voyager hesitant to easily trust, especially the Senior Staff. Apart of the Captain understood the questions asked of her 2IC, but her understanding extended only to Kellian, they still didn't know enough about her yet which was why the tests were so crucial.
"Seven of Nine will not be judged by you Chakotay. There is no reason and in case YOU have forgotten it was YOUR narcotic drugs that allowed for my lieutenants to switch bodies. And it was B'Elanna inside Seven that went into the chamber that initiated Royal Protocol. And it was a MAQUIS program invaded the Central Nexus of the Borg and shut them down." Janeway's fists were balled on her hips, her gaze never lifting its intensity. "The Borg are not defeated but it will take time for them to recover from what B'Elanna, a Maquis I remind you, did to the Hive Mind while 'she' was in the Central Plexus."
Chakotay knew he was treading unsafe ground. The mood had changed between them becoming more and more grim. He knew his protests against Seven, the Borg and her freedom with this living ship to be tenuous at best. The ship responded to both B'Elanna and Seven equally it was a sentient life form and it had a right to exist. Starfleet's Standing Orders was to 'seek out new life forms and new civilizations.' Seven and B'Elanna had done just that. Kellian's presence only benefitted Voyager. But he could not ignore the heavy Borg influence on the young living vessel or the fact that she was tactically superior to Voyager or the fact she only complied with either of the two young women.
"And if Seven and B'Elanna decide to vacate Voyager and remain on Kellian..."
"You're grasping at straws, Commander. I will not second guess my junior officers. Frankly I am surprised you question B'Elanna. And in case you've forgotten what's like to find a new technology perhaps you should review the logs from when we first created the Delta Flyer."
"You're saying the kids want to play with the new toy'?"
"That is exactly what this is Chakotay, and bear in mind B'Elanna is remarkably reunited with her mother whom she believed to be dead. Perhaps B'Elanna and Seven wish to prove their worth as officer in Miral's eyes as well as show off for mom. And spend quality time together for legitimate reasons. Klingons don't do family reunions like we do, Chakotay, this away mission gives both proud ladies an excuse and I for one think its important for Seven to have time with her mother-in-law, as a process of expanding her humanity even if it is Klingon based. Now return your duties."
"Aye, Captain." Chakotay said stiffly, turned on his heels and left the captain's ready room a sour _expression plastered upon his wooden features.
"Now that was a test!" B'Elanna said, pleased with the ships performance.
Miral was impressed herself, with a fleet of ships like this the Empire would be unstoppable. Firing while cloaked, naturally masking ship signature and weapon that tore a ship apart from the hull and totally disabled its systems for easy boarding and conquering. If the Empire had a fleet of species 342 the Dominion war would come to a swift end. Even this one vessel striking in Maquis style would place dent in the hull of the Dominion fleets.
Seven was pleased as well she had found the whole experience exhilarating and she felt something coursing through her she was not quite familiar with. But it was a similar feeling to the one she had experienced when Astrometrics was first created and operational.
"Hey you okay Seven of Mine? You look a little lost?" B'Elanna asked her concern felt through the touch on Seven's lanky arm.
"Lost?' The ex-drone frowned trying to make sense of the metaphor. Her confusion must have shown on her face because B'Elanna took pity on her and explained.
"I mean you were so deep in thought that you focused your attention somewhere else."
"I understand now. Yes I was 'lost in thought.' I do not understand why Kellian's accomplishments have made me feel.....'proud' but I did not contribute to her success."
"Well she is our new baby, and because she's more than a ship maybe its like when Mizoti accomplishes something complicated and you feel proud because she's your little girl."
"I have much of the same feelings with you B'Elanna and you are not my little girl."
"No, but we are mated....and....it's all connected. Kellian is a kinda part of you since your nanoprobes are coursing through her systems and have become a part of her DNA and subroutines."
Seven pondered the words her wife spoke and found herself agreeing with them. She did feel connected to Kellian in the sense she was connected to her children and retained even a vague connection to the Collective. She always would. Nineteen years she spent on a Borg Cube...well that wasn't true there had been twelve cubes in all. The Collective designated drones even prime drones to optimize efficiency. Seven had never felt disorientated, after all, all Cubes were identical and she adapted each time she was transferred. If Seven wanted to be truthful there were times she still missed the unified mind....the Hive Mind, within the Collective there was such order and such driven single goals.
But looking at her wife, indeed her entire family now aboard Kellian, minus her son Seven felt a deep sense of completeness and in a sense she had found perfection in a hybrid Klingon. "I wish to test a theory." Seven said from her station at tactical and moved to the pilot's chair.
"I take it you want control." B'Elanna said with a wiry grin, "Okay she's all yours." She stood and moved past her wife but not before giving the former drone a peck on the cheek. Seven smiled a bit, the tiniest of expressions but to B'Elanna, Seven might have been flashing a wide toothed Cheshire cat grin.
The tall lanky blonde took her station now at the pilot's control interface and instead of placing her hands upon the kiosk she commanded her tubules to connect.
"Annika!" B'Elanna yelped a bit surprised as Seven's unorthodox method of taking command.
"You said it yourself, Kellian is assimilated I am merely extending the control I already have over her." Even as Seven was talking the ship jumped into warp 10, far faster than Voyager, warp 11...warp 12 ...there was felt a slight lurching only an Engineer or a Borg would have noticed but Kellian had launched herself into the slip-stream drive, a faster mode of travel than warp-drive. Kellian's natural abilities allowed her to create a quantum window in hyper-space and jump several light years. The blast would not last long rather like a cheetah going from zero to seventy-five miles an hour in three seconds. As Kellian slowed once more in arresting increments back to the cruising speed of warp seven the had sensors had indicated they had traveled fifteen light years from their previous location!
"The nanoprobes had already begun to restore Kellian's reserves, we will be able to return to Voyager without the twenty-seven hour rest species 342 normally requires after opening the slip-stream drive, nor does she need the extended fuel reserves. She will need to regenerate however if we intend to utilize the transwarp drive or even a trans-warp conduit. If she is able to stabilize a window we might be able to return to the Alpha Quadrant," Seven looked over her shoulder to Miral and again she flashed a small smirk, "The Beta Quadrant, I am sure Chancellor Martok will be anxious to have his mate back." Blue eyes fell on her own wife. "I know I would be so."
Captain Miral seemed to be shaken, she had not expected to survive the encounter with the Borg, nor had she expected to recover her lost daughter who now had a family of her own, and she had not expected to be able to go home so quickly. "Martok no doubt had considered me dead. It is expected a warrior die before they submit to assimilation."
Neither Seven, Miral nor B'Elanna would speak of the Klingon warriors who were indeed drones. In fact the Klingons and Hirgoen made superior tactical drones. "But you're not assimilated." B'Elanna pointed out. "Besides, I know only this general by his reputation, I want to know what sort of male this Martok is that has taken my SoS as a mate."
"He is far different from your father, Lanna." Miral said in a voice that sounded more like a warning than a statement. "He has tremendous respect for the way of the warrior, but he recognizes the power in the female warriors, after all The Order of the Bat'lath was founded by Lakara.
B'Elanna thought of the first woman, and smiled Lakara was actually one of her favored heroines. She had fought along side Kah'less at Qam-Chee, and then there was the heroine Melota who was Aktuh's equal in battle and of course going back generations their own ancestor Azetbur who had taken up her father Gorkon's mantle and carried on his work. It seemed to B'Elanna that Martok wanted a brave commanding wife just as the past heroes of the empire had, Lakara, Melota and Azetbur. Martok wanted to make himself in the image of Kah'less, Gorkon and Aktuh: to do that not only did he need to make an honorable epic heroic path from himself but he needed a mate unto like the heroes he emulated. Miral daughter of Prasba was exactly thus.
"Perhaps in regard to interplanetary peace we should arrive in the Beta Quadrant, so that we present ourselves to the Empire first, Miral who faced down the Borg Queen and aided in her defeat." Seven interrupted. "This would further the reputation of a warrior would it not? Miral who was hunted by the Borg, and she returns triumphantly not only besting the Queen but having recovered the lost Federation vessel Voyager."
"Stick Girl you have a knack for the theatrics!" Miral grinned veraciously. "Do it." She commended in a captain's voice. "The Federation owing the Empire isn't a bad idea. But are you sure you can make it happen?"
"I am Borg." Seven said in a very cocky voice that would rival any proclamation of a Klingon warrior. "I will not fail."
Commander Chakotay felt usurped and undermined by his concerns over Seven's new development and the Captain's continuous deliberate blindness when it came to the drone. He was positive that now that she had such a powerful ship at her disposal that the arrant Borg would go AWOL. It wouldn't be such a problem if it was only the drone but she had B'Elanna with her and Miral as well. Kellian was an impressive ship and if Seven took over the Borg they truly would be unstoppable.
Granted it was B'Elanna's brilliance that lead to the development of the virus the Borg were now plagued with but it would not last, and they would be back in force and in greater numbers to make up for the lost drones. Chakotay couldn't shake the feeling that Seven would be in a very powerful position with the rogue Borg if she chose to, and what person wouldn't given the chance? With that kind of power Seven would be a great danger to the Alpha Quadrant and she would have to be stopped.
Janeway refused to see just how dangerous the Scorpion was, but Chakotay could still be effective. He would contact Starfleet relay to them findings and present the facts as he knew them and his concerns. The wooden commander would recommend cautious and prudent actions concerning Seven and Kellian. He knew that Starfleet had wanted to get their hands on the severed drones to harvest INTEL on the Borg. Section 31 had a special interest in them and would authorize the former Captain of the Maquis to use what ever means were necessary to secure the drones and the living ship. If it worked on Paris the stasis field and synaptic holoprograms would work on Seven and her little spawn. To be safe he might have to go the extra lengths and subdue his long time friend Torres.
Sitting in his tiny office the First Officer of USS Voyager started his report to deliver to Stargate Command. Icheb was gullible and knowing the kid was on shift in Astrometrics lab Chakotay would order the want-to-be cadet to send the communique to Earth with little question. The boy wouldn't dare upset a commanding officer considering the kid wanted so badly become apart of Starfleet. Chakotay assumed Janeway was only humoring the ex-drone because there was no way in hell, the cyborg would ever be allowed to become a part of Starfleet.
Chakotay paled as he thought about Kellian's jellyfish torpedoes and the devastation they would wreak upon the quadrants and right now the one controlling those weapons was mechanized woman who thought she was a maquis because she was fucking one. Chakotay didn't believe in the wedding vows his hybrid Klingon friend had taken with Seven.
B'Elanna looked at her wife her love for the blonde reflecting in her dark eyes with the intensity of a super nova. She was thrilled for so many reasons over what had happened, what Seven had accomplished with Kellian.
Kellian's slip-stream drive which was of course faster than warpdrive had been able to create a quantum window in hyper-space and jump several light years. In fact it was fifteen light years that the vessel had traveled. Add to that the ability to open a transwarp conduit and Torres was in absolute engineers' heaven. Of course her mind wanted to know how it worked, however she simply couldn't take the engines apart and examine them as they were a part of the organs of a living ship.
In a way B'Elanna almost envied her wife in that Annika could directly tap into the ships systems and know all there was to know about them, how they worked and understand it all. It was a link B'Elanna would never possess but of course Annika would never withhold any information but still even that could not compare to first hand knowledge. The more B'Elanna thought about the more the idea of partial assimilation sounded intriguing. If only to have the tubulers to connect to a ship on a molecular level for a moment. But as daydreams went, this too was but a fleeting thought. B'Elanna had a hard enough time fitting in as a hybrid Klingon she truly didn't need the added alienation of being part something else.
Running her hands over the bulkheads B'Elanna knew instinctually that Kellian was working well above acceptable parameters. The vibrations in the deck plating told her that the ship had recovered reserves from its transwarp jump. She smiled realizing she had as much tactile connection to the ship as her wife.
A Search and Gather mission could be dull but it could be thrilling to explore a few worlds and meet new inhabitants hoping they didn't want to use, destroy or take advantage of lost aliens. Seven had commanded Kellian to scan for M - class planets preferably uninhabited and to chart the habited for First Contact.
Miral occupied her time giving history lessons to her new grand-daughter and to Naomi whom she treat as another grand-daughter as long as she was the god-daughter to her own daughters. And while Mizoti had an eidetic memory thanks to the Borg and thus was fluent in Klingonese, Naomi was not and so the history lessen also became a language lesson. B'Elanna herself had to strain to recall the mother-tongue ever since she had been with Seven they had disabled their com badges from translating the Klingon language. It had proved however a useful learning tool for B'Elanna was becoming more and more apt at her native tongue, she could not speak it as nearly as well as her mother and her wife and children, but she was becoming more proficient.
B'Elanna had been unaware of how long she had been staring at her wife or that she was somehow purring low in her throat. She was all too aware of her mate's scent. That was until she found her self so swiftly thrown against a bulk head she let out a small un-Klingon like yelp. Seven burred her mouth under her wife's pageboy mane made and her teeth racked against the soft flesh of her throat. B'Elanna had no idea Seven could move so swiftly and so deftly that even Kah'less himself would have been hard pressed to follow the former drone's movements.
"Mine." Seven growled, her nostrils flaring taking in her wife's sweet musk. Though they had exchanged bites before, Seven had decided to reaffirm her claim on her mate and bit the soft flesh of B'Elanna's cheek.
B'Elanna half whimpered half growled. "Yours." she admitted easily. She was about to bite her own wife's cheek when she heard a soft chuckle behind her. Turning slightly she wanted to see who she had to kill as they were distracting her from reclaiming her wife.
"So this is how you reclaimed your heritage." Miral smiled. "Interesting technique Stick-girl."
B'Elanna's blood was heated from want and need of her wife, her nostrils flared and she saw for a moment only a challenger. A growl deep in her throat erupted . "yIntagh toDSaH petaQ."
Miral only smiled at the curse her daughter slung at her, she had taught her child how to curse well. It was only Seven's enhanced strength that kept the blood-fevered Klingon in check And she could see that her daughter was sinking deep in the red-haze of lust, again something she approved of as B'Elanna was becoming more and more Klingon.
"Ben'el," Seven purred. "Your SoS is not Challenging you."
The compact woman shuddered still viewing the other female as a challenger for the tall blonde at her side. When so deep in rut it was difficult for a Klingon to shake their passions away from anything but what their blood was locked onto in this case B'Elanna had locked on to Seven's scent.
"BangwI!" Seven growled now gaining her wife's undivided attention.
To Miral this was a joyous occasion for only those only to find the purest, honorable and truest of love ever had such a connection. It was said that Kah'less and his beloved mate Lakara had such a connection. Whenever Lakara or Kah'less himself had become libidinous around each other it was a dangerous affaire for any outsider to interrupt as the bond was so deep that once in its grip it took a great deal of effort and personal control to shake the more primal reactions. This was far beyond simple lust for a mate this was the rut of souls it could almost be connected to the Vulcan Pon-farr.. Of course given B'Elanna's past experiences with the Pon-farr this was not far from the truth.
The hybrid Klingon only settled once she felt Seven's arms wrapped around her the scent of her wife filled her senses and the wave of red-haze passed thus B'Elanna was able to come back to herself. Seven continued to stroke the small of her lover's back further calming the vicious competitiveness in the younger Klingon. By such a touch Seven was telling her mate that no other could possibly interest her. Seven herself could not hypothesize why it was this primal part of B'Elanna had awoken after so long dormant unless it was she recognized a possible rival in a strong Klingon female regardless of the fact said female was her own mother. B'Elanna closed her eyes and once she opened them she was more coherent than before.
Miral smiled and once more she thought Stick -girl to be a good mate for her Lanna. This thin human had given her daughter back the passion of her Klingon blood, so much so that B'Elanna's hearts were heated with the blood fever. "I thought you were with the kids." B'Elanna tried to make herself presentable.
"I was. They're not suckling tots Lanna, they don't need a sitter. If I recall correctly those little grishnar kittens tried to steal this ship to rescue their mothers."
That brought a smirk to the engineer's face. She had to admit her newly adopted daughter was a girl after her own heart. "My girl is good what can I say."
"Your girl?" up went the ocular implant.
"Okay our girl. A Maquis in the making." there was no hiding the pride in the woman's voice.
"And yet your son is trying to be Starfleet."
"It is what he knows." Seven came to Icheb's defense. "If he knew of the Defense Force and was familiar with it his opinion might very. He wishes to become an astrophysicist. And I approve of this desire. 'My Son' is a young man of his own mind and I support his scientific endeavors." the former drone was almost growling at the thought she had to defend her son's choice to become a member of Starfleet. "Captain Janeway is an exemplary role-model you would do well SoS not to disparage her."
Miral threw back her head and barked out a laugh. "Defending your captain, a mark of honor." clearly the Klingon captain approved. "And a boy is fortunate to have such mothers." High praise indeed coming from a Klingon warrior. Indeed to B'Elanna this was one of the greatest complements she had ever heard uttered from her mother. She had honored her mother in becoming one that Miral had approved of, she wasn't a disappointment.
Icheb looked up at the commander as the large bear of a man entered the Astrometrics Lab. The man's typical wooden voice held little patience when he addressed the young cadet. "I need to send this to Starfleet via the Pathfinder array. He all but pushed Icheb aside.
"Commander this is highly irregular. Command briefings to Starfleet do not go out until thirty- two hours from now." Icheb said his hands firmly clasped behind his back in a formal military at ease stance.
"This is a priority."
The boy tried in vain to get a look at what the commander held in his hand but the former Maquis Captain kept the PADD from prying eyes. "All priority messages are authorized by the Captain barring that it must have the signature of the Head of Security." The boy recited. He made a move to hit his Comm Badge when Chakotay reached into his pocket and withdrew a hypo. Faster than Icheb could follow the commander struck the boy in the neck.
Had Icheb his Borg enhanced cerebral node he might have been able to stop the first officer, but his actions were slowed to that of the reflex of a Vulcan. Falling to his knees the last thing Icheb saw was the commander opening up the communications array. He had mere seconds before he blacked out entirely.
"Cadet Icheb to Captain Janeway... " the boy whispered. "Priority.....help........."
Amanda's lithe naked form was straddled upon her lover as her hands were exploring the older woman loving the fact she could send her "Katie" to the stars more than once and in rapid succession. With her lips firmly attached to her lover's breast the lanky blonde could have killed the comm-badge that bleeped the single of a priority communique. Janeway was currently logged inactive and only a priority message would be transmitted.
Half moaning in her own lust and groaning in disappointment the Captain pushed her beloved from her long enough to reach for the combadge that was setting upon an end table. " .Icheb.... Captain.....help......." the combadge went dead. All lust drained to dread, Janeway sat up so abruptly that she nearly threw Amanda to the floor. "Icheb! Icheb!"
Amanda's dark eyes glowed in her own fear for the boy. The kid would have never dreamed of disrupting his beloved captain unless something was terribly wrong. Having grown up in the New Hope Colony the former street urchin knew fear and pain when she heard it. The boy had been attacked. The 2IC of security was nearly dressed as she slapped her own combadge "Computer location of Icheb Hansen."
"Cadet Hansen is in Astrometrics."
"Janeway to Tuvok."
"Something happened to Icheb I need you down there now, Secure whoever is in there."
"Aye Captain." the stoic Vulcan responded.
"I am on it Kath." Amanda said now fully dressed. "I need authorization for phaser fire."
Of course since Voyager wasn't under yellow or red alert phaser fires was strictly prohibited ( barring the holodeck simulations) Rothery could no more fire a phaser without sounding off a klaxon than any other member of security unless the order came from the captain or chief of security.
Janeway nodded. "Computer Authorization Phaser use : alpha omega theta Janeway."
"Authorization of phaser use in progress of the Captain and security personal only." The synthesized computer voice answered.
Janeway watched as her lanky lover unlocked the locker containing three phasers, Amanda took one for herself and tossed a second to her. By the time Janeway was now out of bed and dressing Rothery was out of the quarters and sprinting down the corridors presumably for Astrometrics.
The Captain was now dressed hit her combadge once more. "Janeway to EMH, possible medical emergency in Astrometrics. Its Icheb."
"Understood Captain." the holographic doctor answered. He would waist no time asking the nature of the medical emergency if Janeway hadn't given him details, than it was logical to assume she didn't know.
Kathryn Janeway almost prayed for whoever it was that had dared attack the boy was smart enough not to do any lasting damage. They would not only have to deal with Janeway herself but two seriously pissed off mothers and a full Klingon grandmother should the lad be in any serious danger.
First on the scene was Amanda: she had taken the incentive and beamed in, her phaser set on the highest setting of stun possible her finger flagging the trigger. Years running and fighting for life on New Hope had honed the warrior in Rothery. Shoot first ask questions later.
Seeing Chakotay as the only other occupant in the lab, and Icheb down the officer didn't question, didn't hesitate she shot the Commander. Chakotay held the expression of shock as he landed hard upon his knees before toppling over on to the floor. Just as he fell both the Doc via the transporters and Tuvok with a three person security stormed the Astrometrics lab. As first officer on the scene, Amanda put her arms up indicating she wasn't the threat.
"Lieutenant Commander area secure." Rothery said.
"Report." Tuvok said his dark eyes studying his second in command.
"I responded to the distress call, I was currently in the Captain's quarters concerning a personal matter. The call came in, the captain authorized use of secure force and I was dispatched. I left her quarters and transported into the Astrometrics lab. I saw Commander Chakotay at the kiosk and fired a level five stun. Chakotay was down and that is when you arrived on the scene sir."
The EMH was currently using a med-tricorder over the prone boy, a look of photon relief spread across his face. "He's unconscious due to a high dosage of Morphine-sulphate – a sedative." he said. Such things of course were standard painkillers in first-aid kits. Each lab, several duty stations and all shuttles were equipped with first-aid kits, gaining access to the drug wasn't completely impossible. Or course removable of the injectors from the first-aid kits would be recorded by the med-tricorder in said kits as a way to record all emergency medical procedures. It was a failsafe device for the attending medic or giver of treatment so that when a physician took over they could immediately reference the sensors as well as the testament of the medic.
Whatever kit Chakotay removed the injector from it would have recorded it, and by whom as it was taken as it recorded the com-badges of the medic. Once more it was a medical protocol for such precautions.
"The problem is that Brunali are highly allergic to the compound," there was little time left in the window that would allow the photonic doctor to reverse the effects of anaphylactic shock. He could not allow yet another one of Seven's sons to perish.
Security-cams in the Astrometrics Lab would of course have recorded the altercation between Icheb and his assailant. Computer scanners which would be doubled checked to see if there were any other bodies other than Chakotay and Icheb during the call for assistance.
"Sir," A small framed red headed man called Tuvok's attention. "There is unauthorized use of the Midas array, a message from Voyager to Starfleet Command attention Admiral Nechayev concerning.... Sir! It concerns Lieutenants Torres and Seven....are they mutinying sir?"
Tuvok rose an eyebrow. "Highly unlikely ensign, there is no proof to indicate this will be their agenda. Stay with the evidence ensign it never lies."
"We have motive for the attack." Rothery commented. "Icheb would follow regulations to the letter without deviating. This is an unauthorized transmission, according to protocol the cadet would have attempted to notify you sir, you are both Second Officer and Head of Security."
"But the call went to the Captain." The redhead said.
"Yes, because he was attacked, the Captain one of his mentors is more familiar. My guess he would have contacted Seven or B'Elanna as they are his mothers, they're not here. The Captain is the next best idea of safe for Icheb." Rothery explained fairly accurately. Hell she knew from her own experience that Kathryn Janeway had a quality about her that made others trust her. It didn't surprise Amanda that the kid contacted the woman who was essentially now his grandmother.
Chakotay better pray the other grandmother didn't get a hold of him considering he wouldn't have much of a chance to explain himself. Miral would slam her kut'luch into the surface of a table before him thus challenging him, or kill him outright.
The same conclusion must have occurred to the others, though Rothery herself wanted to throttle the man for harming a child, and given a different setting (minus one Vulcan security Officer) she just might have. They all knew according to the law one all security officers vowed to uphold Chakotay had a right to be held and questioned by a impartial ear. Rothery herself wanted to administer New Hope Justice. He hurt one she considered a friend, a child of close friends, he deserved to die. Of course she could always leave the force field down when the Torres family faced their attacker.
"Lieutenant Commander Tuvok, computer two to transport to the brig security protocol theta delta nine omega- Tuvok Chief Security Officer."
They had to move quickly before the effects of the stun wore off, and lock the perp in the brig. It was just as well that Rothery herself couldn't give the man the type of justice she grew up with it was better left to the Klingons and that included Seven of Nine.
Rothery smiled thinking of an old Klingon saying 'Be proud of your enemy and be glad of their success, for in conquering such an enemy brings great glory.' Chakotay could be very proud of his enemies, but he would never defeat them.
Captain Janeway didn't want to work on supposition, the facts the recordings were damning enough. However recordings could be manipulated, evidence planted, testaments rehearsed. She might have given Chakotay the benefit of the doubt concerning his intentions. There was just so much of the damaging evidence that pointed out clearly it was Chakotay had premeditated his attack on the boy that nearly resulted in Icheb's death, used unauthorized access to the Midas array via the Pathfinder project and had intended to falsely file information on the Borg incident.
With Nechayev's loathing and fear for the Borg there was no doubt as to what her answer would be. Seven and her family would be ordered to be neutralized. No explanations, no arguments, would ever penetrate that woman's loathing for the cybernetic beings. And she was not alone. But Seven wasn't fully Borg nor were her children, they were free of the Hive mind, the Collective no longer had a hold on them. Nechayev, from her past experience with the one called Hugh verified the Admiral's course of action, she wouldn't care that they were free she would order their destruction.
The still steaming cup of black coffee sat untasted in her hands, she was alone and staring through the windows at the stars beyond her Ready Room. Paris and Chakotay had made Janeway feel uncomfortable on her own ship. She hated the idea she couldn't trust her own crew. How many others felt the same way as those two men?
The thought had occurred to her the reasons for both men attacking as they had was they were jealous and unable to cope with the idea they were not the object of affection from two of the most brilliant, talented and beautiful women on Voyager. Chakotay had approached Seven and was quickly shot down for his advances. And B'Elanna had during the space race severed her ties with Tom because she no longer wished to be ignored or shoved aside because of some new toy. She was right in thinking she need not adjust her life to fit the whims of an immature childish man. No self respecting woman would, let alone a Klingon.
Another thought occurred to her. One she would not wish to think of, but had to. She had felt a bit claustrophobic about the thoughts now running through her mind. There was a certain covert operation working within Starfleet, with a small number of members that 'officially' belonged to Starfleet Intelligence. They were autonomous and operated well outside the law or conscience.
Centuries ago a rogue branch of the United States government called the NID broke off and became known as the Trust. The Trust had evolved into Section 31.
They were as unstoppable as the Borg. They functioned without the Federation's knowledge; in fact the majority of Starfleet wasn't even aware of its existence. The only reason Janeway knew of it was because she happened to be in the presence of Seven when her cortical node was failing and the blonde had taken the personality of a Section 31 member. It was a personality more demonic in demeanor than the Queen of the Borg herself. Because it was human.
The personality had been on a mission to subvert the Maquis and gain Intel on the Dominion factions that worked with the Cardassian's Obsidian Order. The personality had further implicated that Admiral Nechayev was a member of Section 31 and ordered a "Cardassian" plotted massacre of the Maquis. The Cardassians would be implicated, the rest of the Maquis given a pardon according to public eyes. However Section 31 would assassinate the remaining members as the opportunity arose. Until now Janeway had kept this information secret because it would damage the already precarious alliance of her crew. They feared the Borg, she couldn't have them fearing the Federation just because of a minuscule fraction of it was subversive.
They are an army unlike any other, crusading across the stars for absolute Perfection.
Their promised lands is a constellations of dark new stars they call Omega. If they cannot assimilate you, they kill you. This was par for the course with the Borg, their presence brought terror, a dread fear that lent power to irrational and desperate measures. This was the only justification Section 31 and in truth many others needed to hate Seven and her children.
Chakotay, was he a subvert, or did he just give Nechayev the report about his perceptions of the former Borg because of her disdain for the cybernetic beings? It was a disquieting revelation to say the least. Section 31 would most certainly deem Seven a threat, not only was she Borg but she was a Prime, destined to be the Queen. With all the knowledge of the Borg Queen and independent, Section 31 would either wish to destroy her or harvest her knowledge until they had what they wanted and then kill her.
The thought that Starfleet Command could be and mostly likely was compromised by Section 31 made Janeway furious. She didn't dare reveal what she knew. She had always thought Starfleet's idealism was trust, open minded truth, and honor. Section 31 seemed to be able to exist as it did by exploiting those qualities as weakness. They thought themselves to act for the good of the Federation but without care for what the Federation stood for.
Kathryn hated feeling what she was feeling and she wanted to lash out at something, anything. Chakotay's communication had gotten through to Nechayev and it was only a matter of time before Starfleet Command would send a communique back with orders to ... Janeway rubbed the bridge of her nose she didn't even want to contemplate what their orders would be. She would never allow Seven or her children to be hunted even if that meant Janeway herself had to become Maquis.
Chakotay was finding himself locked in the ten force glare. He tried to act defiant, resolved and confident, the man he once was five years ago when he was captain of his own ship. He failed miserably.
"Apparently Crewmen Paris's mistake in attacking a minor wasn't a good enough example. Of swift justice." Were Janeway's first words to the thickly muscled man. "I have always respected you, counted on you, relied on your counsel. Which is why is difficult for me to fathom why you would even contemplate harming a child."
"Icheb is seventeen."
"Still a minor according to the law." Janeway snapped. "I don't even think you are in a position to justify EVER harming a child, Chakotay! Insubordination, mutiny only add to your crimes. I have seen the logs, read security reports and seen the transmission you sent to Admiral Nechayev.'
"How's the boy?" Chakotay tried in vain to reroute the heat of the interrogation.
"Stabilized now, considering the Morphine-phosphate sent him into anaphylactic-shock. The Brunali are highly allergic to the drug. You're fortunate you're being charged with only child endangerment and not homicide. I in truth can't court-martial you since you're Maquis and not Starfleet. I can however bring civilian charges against you and I will. Because of the evidence so clearly present against you and Icheb's testimony and his near death, you are here by stripped of rank to crewman, further more your replicator rations are reduced to food rations only, you will have no holodeck privileges for a year and you are to be incarcerated for 30 days pending the matter if Seven and B'Elanna Torres the parents of Icheb wish to file charges you will be incarcerated for a longer period of time."
"Plan to put me in stasis like Paris, Kathryn?" The comment was snide.
"That's Captain Janeway to you. And I might. That is of course if Klingon justice isn't carried out. Chakotay this might be a Federation vessel but we are NOT in Federation space, the House of Prasba are well within their rights to carry out Klingon tradition." Kathryn had no intention of allowing B'Elanna, Seven or Miral to take a vendetta against her former First Officer, but there was no need to allow him to know that. Let him stew a bit. He deserved no less.
"You're not even going to ask why?" Chakotay once again tried to establish a dialog.
"Would there be an answer or an excuse?" the hurt of the betrayal was now thick in Kathryn's voice that even a Captain's bravado could not disguise.
"I didn't see that I was left with a choice. The Borg are dangerous. You continued to ignore my protests about the Borg. And now matters are worse. The rogue Borg are more impetuous and unpredictable than their predecessors. This new weaponry they have at their disposal is more devastating than we could ever have imagined. There will be no stopping them now. And their Queen whether you want to acknowledge or not is your pet Borg."
"She is less a pet, Chakotay than a daughter. And yes I give Seven the benefit of the doubt, much like I'm doing now with you. If you hadn't endangered a 'child's' life Chakotay you would have more validity in your arguments. As it stands I see you only as a child abuser. That is one slip I will never abide. It is unthinkable that you had even crossed that line. Amiel."
It was once a year that Kathryn Janeway might have used Chakotay's true name. And when she did it was with great reserve. The fact she used it now was like a dagger into the man's soul. His disdain for the moment dropped as he saw the severity of what he had done. A child would have died by his hands. Even his spirits would forsake him now.
"I once called you friend. In fact next to Tuvok you were the closest to me, and my dearest friend. Now you've shown your true colors, you are no better than the Kazon or the Cardassians the Maquis battled to save the innocent children of Bajor. You betrayed me and yourself Chakotay."
Miral now had chance to pilot the living ship Kellian, she had been more than impressed with its maneuverability and its finesse within a battle but she wanted to make sure this little ship was more than just the superior battle tactics of her daughters. After all with their skills they could pilot that furry Talaxian's unwieldy barge into a heated battle and come out the victor.
Not that a living ship could be retro-engineered but if the species produced completely asexually it might be worth the Empire' time to implement a small fleet of the ships, with Kellian of course being the flagship of the squadron. Miral imagined her daughter and her new daughter-in-law dressed like true warriors. None of the flimsy Federation cotton rags, but leather and trinium armor. An image one could be proud of.
Miral fancied her daughter wearing a silver bandolier with the chevrons of the house of Martok, the House of Presba. Perhaps one day even the emblem of the Order of the Bat'lath. Surly B'Elanna deserved to become a commander. Starfleet had a way to slow their officers from ascending into rank. By now that low-browed troglodyte Chakotay would have been killed for his severe lack of command fortitude. Had B'Elanna been in the Defenses Forces she would have taken the man's place. Of course if B'Elanna had still been in an active cell of the Maquis Resistance and the Caretaker hadn't interfered, the aging Klingon Captain would wager her daughter would be indeed Captain by now. Perhaps not by besting the painted-human but surely of her own vessel.
For her Housemate, Worf it had been a matter of honor that lead him to serve Starfleet. He owned them a life-debt for it had been officers of Starfleet that saved his life as a mere toddler. And as any proud warrior he maintained his Klingon heart, honored the debt and served the humans. B'Elanna owed no such debt and Miral had been angered beyond reason when she heard her child had joined Starfleet. Of course the Federation with all its pragmatic preaching of tolerance of diversity, when it comes to other races that do not re-mold themselves into perfect little human wannabes and act like humans they shout that said person is unbecoming of an officer. "Not Starfleet material." Miral was proud when her daughter quit the human factory and joined the Maquis.
Miral almost glowered at the self-righteous Starfleet Heads of State. What did they know of honor and glory, of cunning and the fortitude of the heart? They didn't even have any operas sung about them. No poems, no songs. There were exceptions however to the human factory.
Miral could see why B'Elanna followed Janeway, she behaved very much like a Klingon woman. And for that matter so did Stick-Girl. But her daughter-in-law had fought the adversity of the Borg to be free. Despite her birth in the Alpha Quadrant, Stick-girl was very much a girl of the Delta Quadrant, and she had proven she had a heart of a Klingon. She would do well in the Empire.
The Federation had long lost its hospitality to her child and the mate she had taken, Miral knew there would be no true rest for the Maquis in the reaches of Starfleet. Yes since the Cardassian massacre the Federation had given the remaining Maquis pardons but they were still being tracked down and killed. Accidents, 'killed by Cardasian agents' or fellow Maquis or any other excuses like the Dominion. Or so would say Starfleet.
What true reprieve would a proven warrior have in the Federation. Starfleet would seize Seven and after interrogating her they would dissect her all in the trusting name of science and preserving the 'good people' of the Federation as a means to destroy the Borg. The children wouldn't stand a chance. Of course life might be rough in the Empire but your enemies faced you, you knew where you stood Klingons didn't fuck around either you were tolerated, liked or you were hated. No guessing. And the only elite organization was the Order of the Bat'lath. Of which she was a member as well as the Lady of the House of Martok which bought her a certain amount of prestige. Miral was a damn good captain even had a few songs composed in her honor, Stick girl and the Sochlings would be protected. Miral decided she'd have them on her ship when she got back, B'Elanna as her chief engineer, Seven would keep her position as astrophysics officer but on a Klingon battle cruiser.
"You done joy-riding in my ship, Mother?" B'Elanna asked as she plopped down at the tactical station next to the pilot / captain's chair.
The older Klingon smirked. "I wanted to see if it was you or this vessal that made those moves." In her musings Miral had continued to make Kellian do several loops, hairpin turns entering her into several evasive and combat maneuvers. She was once more impressed with the living ship's capabilities. "She's good."
B'Elanna smiled, she had to say she was proud of Kellian even if her engineering skills hadn't come into play. Kellian was still her ship. If the Maquis had a fleet of Species 342 they might have had a better chance against the Cardassian onslaught.
"I brought this up before and with good reason. Think about joining the Defense Force, under my command as my Chief Engineer."
"What?" B'Elanna starred at her mother. "You want me on your ship?"
"Yes. B'Elanna you've always had a talent for the science. I couldn't keep you away from schematics or tearing apart an engine or any other technology to improve it when you were a kid. You've always had talent. I want it on my ship. I need someone with your skills B'Elanna. Think of the glory. A battle cruiser. Stick Girl will be my Astrometrics Officer, the boy can keep his position as her aide. It's a better future I'm offering you than you'll ever find in the Federation."
"Mother, I don't know.... I don't think I am Klingon enough...they'll see me as a mongrel child and too small...."
"Baaa!" Miral spat. "You battle the Queen of the Borg for your mate! What greater honor can one mate give the other but to battle against insurmountable odds and conquer your enemies. The Defense Force will know of your triumph and they will sing of it!"
B'Elanna was still frowning. "Joining the Defense Force wasn't what I had in mind once I returned back home."
"And joining Starfleet was?"
"Not only no but hell no." B'Elanna shook her head. "I thought of going independent. Seven and I as independent contractors on Kellian. With the Sochlings we have a full crew. Setting up shop in the Beta Quadrant isn't out of the question, in fact its probably a bit better than the Alpha Quadrant," B'Elanna said evenly.
"Then it has crossed your mind what might happen to Seven and your kids."
Again B'Elanna nodded. When they had traversed the nebula she had made a joke about the fact if the Voyager crew had a hard time with Seven as an ex-Borg imagine what they will think once she got back to the Alpha Quadrant. It wasn't something Seven was looking forward to. In fact Seven seemed to want nothing more to do with the Alpha Quadrant other than seeing Indiana where the Captain grew up. B'Elanna knew that Janeway had promised to take Seven there to once they all returned.
"I'll think about it Mother." That was all B'Elanna was going to promise. "But I am nearly certain we are going Independent or joining the Maquis." the younger woman held up a hand. "Yeah I know it's rumored they are all wiped out or gone. I know that's not true. I know a few cells would have survived. I know in my gut Ro Larren lives. If we join anyone it will be them. My honor demands no less."
Miral could without protest lose her daughter to the resistance force, even tolerate her as Independent Contractor. What she would loath to have was if B'Elanna joined or rejoined Starfleet, even if they 'did' let her. "Join Ro Larren's Maquis, Lanna. You bring great honor and glory to the House." for a Klingon this was heavily sentimental and endearing. No child could receive a higher praise than to have their parent tell them they brought honor and glory to the House.
So as not to get too sentimental the older warrior clapped her daughter on the back with a wide grin. "Why serve a captain when you can be your own captain? My daughter a Maquis Captain." The smile grew wider revealing the deadly sharp incisors. "Qupla!"
Kellian had picked up the address of Captain given from Miral to B'Elanna, her Borg enhanced memory core also caught on to the use of Maquis. If she was going to be a Maquis ship the young ship though it logical to start modifying her behavioral patterns in the CPU to respond like a Maquis ship. Her hull colors changed from blue-gray to a mottled blue-deep green and gray of Klingon ships. Her pectoral fins would bare no markings not even the Borg-Klingon triskillion as she had been sporting earlier.
Seven or Soch as B'Elanna had called her was recognized as her Queen, B'Elanna her captain. As for ranking, B'Elanna would be recognized as in charge of the crew, her Queen Kellian would obey. She would of course go as far as to belay all orders if they conflicted with the Queen's desirers, if they were not she had no qualms about following her captain. Being a Maquis ship also meant Kellian was going to be a warship. A warrior like her Queen and her Captain. Again behavioral patterns in the ICU upgraded. She would delve into her own Borg-enhanced memory core and glean the countless battle tactics from billions of species. By the time they rejoined Voyager, Kellian would be a fully operational battleship.
Kellian divided a bit of her attention elsewhere, a warship needed allies if a conflict were to be victorious. Kellian would face her enemies, enemies of the Maquis and the Empire, enemies of her Queen and her Captain without fear. If she were to engage into theater with the odds against her she would have a fleet to cover her crew's six. Her self-imposed prime directive protect her crew
In the Alpha Quadrant hundreds of Maquis-Borg cubes flared to life was the Hive Mind became aware of the directive from the Queen's vessel. Protect the crew of the Kellian at all costs, fight for the Maquis, conquer the enemy which included Section 31. Because of Seven's knowledge of the hidden organization and its members from assimilated participants Kellian and thus the Maquis-Borg had such knowledge.
The crew Voyager had somehow lost the great fear of the Borg, the old enemy had been encountered on a regular basis and several confrontations with the Queen herself the trepidation had simply waned. Those aboard Voyager who knew Seven of Nine, Icheb and Mizoti no longer saw the implants when they looked at them they saw crewmates. The inhabitants of the Alpha Quadrant did not have this luxury, when a Borg Cube showed itself terror was a foot.
Captain Jean-Luc Picard watched in fascinated horror as three cubes off his port bow vanished, wavering in what he knew to be a cloaking device. That astonished him as well. The Marquis -Borg had cloaking devices, more importantly they could attack while cloaked. He waited for an attack, something. Perhaps a volley of the spider-like torpedoes that could disassemble a ship in seconds. It never came. The aging captain wasn't about to loiter about waiting to be picked off. He ordered Data to locking a course and hit Warp Nine. It puzzled him why they suddenly broke off an impending attack and ran. Borg do not run they destroy, they assimilate but they never retreat. Why now?
It was the same question on General Martok's as they watched from the main viewer aboard 'The Sword of Kah'less' six Borg cubes engaged their cloaking devices and vanished. The Maquis Borg were not at all predictable, not like their cousins. Once again when the Klingon Battle Cruiser encounter the fleet of Borg vessels, the ships would not engage in battle even when 'The Sword of Kah'less took the first shot. Then they had merely vanished.
Commander Worf however had a different encounter. He had been on his way to Pathfinder as ordered by Chancellor Martok when his fleet had been thrust under heavy attack from Jem'hadar ships. Death was immanent.
Worf had plunged his ship into battle losing all but fifteen per cent of the Defiant's shields, depleted all phaser banks and they only had five torpedo's left. . Today was going to be a good day to die! How glorious a battle Jem'hadar and Borg! Worf sneered at his immanent death and welcomed it.
"Worf we've got incoming!" Jadzia Dax yelled out. "Several ships unknown origin."
Worf stared wide eyed as the cubes abruptly wavered into view left the Defiant unscathed and engaged the Jem'hadar. Seven cubes, three Dominion war-cruisers the math wasn't that difficult. The Dominion ships didn't stand a chance. Defiant watched as the seven ships opened up their torpedo bays deploying thousands of the jelly-fish / spider torpedoes. The Swarm zinged its way in a metallic cloud for the Jem'hadar.
'Let the Maquis Borg crush the Cardassians into ashes, let them wipe out the Romulans, Breen and Changelings, its like using a Quantum Torpedo we will use them as a weapons resource. You must be ever vigilant, let us go to glory.' These had been Martok words. Worf had even had supported the renegade Borg if they engaged the enemy leaving the allies alone.
"Orders?" Chief Miles O'Brian asked
"Cloak." Worf ordered.
"Sir?" the Irishman quirked a red eyebrow. He had never known the Klingon to cut and run. It wasn't the man's style. It definitely wasn't Klingon.
"We are winning the war with the Dominion but our greatest resources are nearly depleted, we have lost many fine warriors and, we must use this opportunity that has been given to us. The Borg engage the Jem'hadar. Let them destroy each other. Only a fool battles in a burning house."
Jadzia had to smile at her mates ease in taking the usurping of the Borg against the Dominion warriors. A lesser warrior might have felt his honor threatened by the Borg simply taking over the battle. Worf on the other hand simply saw the cyber menace as means to use yet another weapon. And why not let them battle and destroy each other, it was a wise move.
"Cloaked they may not yet scan for us. Take us three light years away, I want to study their tactics." Worf commented. "I choose my battles."
"Aye, sir." Jadzia answered in full warrior mode. She deftly piloted the Defiant away giving her commander enough berth from the skirmish between the two enemy forces.
Defiant's crew watched the Swarm, black, quiet, quick, deadly, focused, moving with one thought one goal. As they, as he Worf, needed to be. In sheer moments the Swarm had dismantled the Jem'hadar vessels to little more than scrap iron. This new Borg held great power, ferocity, and cunning. They seemed to be questing. Hunting, destroying only the enemies of the Maquis. Not all Starfleet ships had been targeted. Those that had, had been known to go up against the Maquis themselves. Why then did the new-Borg not hunt Defiant?
"They strike without warning, dealing out death to those deserving, not flinching from a task. They kill swiftly and fairly." Jadzia uttered with a fain of reverence in her voice. They scanned us, but didn't strike. The Swarm could have easily taken us."
"Perhaps they don't think we're worthy." O'Brien offered, his red eyebrows met in the center as a deep frown. Of course he didn't mind the fact the Borg didn't think them a threat. But Worf would take it personally.
"No." Worf shook his head.
The Irishman started, 'What - is he Betazed now?'
"There's something else." Worf was puzzled, he couldn't quite pin down why the Borg hadn't sent a Swarm of the spider/ jellyfish torpedoes after them but in his gut he knew it had to do than they were simply a non-threat.
"You're Klingon." Jadzeia said. "They scanned us. Worf you said it yourself. If this woman Seven of Nine is ....who is as Intelligence reports indicate their new Queen and this same woman 'controlled' by B'Elanna Torres, the Maquis-Borg would not attack anyone in their own House. After all Chancellor Martok did adopt B'Elanna as his daughter after taking Miral of House Prasba as his mate."
"You're reaching Jadzia." Worf dismissed his mate's theory. After all he had been judging this new cell of Borg against what he already knew of the cybernetic race. What the Trill was suggesting was highly unlikely and less than plausible.
"You got a better reason, I'd like to hear it." The voice was Jadzia's but the words belonged to Dax. The symbiote would wager nearly anything that it had to do with Worf, the Klingons and B'Elanna Torres.
"I'm still betting we're not a threat, the Jem'hadar were better prey." Miles said. "We're meat to be wasted, and why bother when you have a whole mass of ready-made warriors."
"The Jem'hadar do not make viable drones." Worf commented. "Their dependence on the drug makes them worthless to the Borg."
"So the Borg killed Jem'hadar for the hell of it. So what! I say better for us." Young Nog, spoke up for the first time. The small Ferengi didn't care why the Borg did what they did. Their actions didn't cut into his profits why should it matter if they wanted to kill Jem'hadar for sport? The Ferengi Starfleet ensign saw this as a means to gain profit and that was always a good thing.
To Worf it was imperative he contact B'Elanna Torres ASAP. If anyone had the answers it would be the mongrel child. And if she had such control over her mate, and the Borg that pledged some bizarre oath to this Seven of Nine, Jadzia might be right on the reasons for the attack.
"Best speed to Pathfinder," Worf ordered. Not looking back on his enemy as the seven ships wavered back into the blackness of space behind their own cloaking device.
Quark could only watch as three Borg Drones beamed into his tavern. The small Ferengi yelped before ducking behind his bar vainly trying to get the Jefferies tube access open while keeping his small eyes on the drones. Try as the small man might he couldn't pry the hatch open. His fear far too loud in his great ears and heart.
The bar went into panic mode, red alert was sounded when Julian Bashir hit his combadge almost shouting "Borg! Sisko oh my god DS9 been invaded by Borg! Say again BORG! Three drones!" The doc ducked behind a dabo table.
Odo had been in the bar as was his nature harassing his favorite Ferengi because he could as Constable of joint Bajoran / Federation space station, when the Borg made their appearance. He drew his phaser knowing he could get off one maybe two shots before the cybernetic race adapted. The Changeling didn't hesitate. Twice he fired his weapon on the highest setting.
The drone he targeted fell back once, rose and fell again as the second beam of energy slammed into his chest, flinging the black armored drone into Bashir's dabo table. The table and drone toppled to the floor on top of the doctor pinning the small framed man to the floor. The pale dead flesh reminding the doctor this had once been a living willful creature. He didn't know if he shuddered from the sudden impact of several hundred pounds ramming into his body or the fact the thing pinning him had once had a soul. At first Julian shivered under the intense stare of the drone as it looked at him, it took moment to notice the lifeless doll's eyes stared out at nothing. The thing had been deactivated.
Brenna Covington Director of Covert Operations and Deep Cover assignments, Earth Division, had gone to DS9 to speak to one of her agents on a need to know basis. A part of Starfleet Intelligence the Director had information concerning Changeling operatives that had tried to pass them selves off as members of Starfleet HQ. Her eyes never wavered far from Odo that was until the sudden shocking appearance of the drones.
What the hell?
Covington dove for cover seeking the nearest exit that wouldn't get her trampled. The stampede cut her off. There was no way out. Her next shot at freedom was one of the Holo-suites. Jean-Luc Picard had in his briefing from his encounter with the Borg revealed that he had escaped them by running a holo-program. Covington thought she might be able to do the same.
Even as Odo was firing his weapon the Director of Starfleet Intelligence darted for one of the suites. From somewhere behind her a shrill voice called out. "Where do you think you're going!"
It was the barkeep.
"Open the holo-suite, Ferengi." Covington ordered over the screaming voices of terror.
"You want to book a suite? Now?" the small eyes widened to massive saucers of disbelief.
"To take cover you imbecile, now open that god damn suite." Covington snatched Quark's large ear and yanked. Hard.
Quark wailed. "Okay. Okay. But I am coming with you."
Twin beams of red light fixated first on Quark, who let out a high pitched squeal and tried in vain to brush the lights from his body as if they were glob fly larva. The light swung around his body to Covington.
"We are Maquis-Borg, you will be assimilated, your biological distinctiveness will be added to our own." The remaining drones spoke as one.
"On second thought human, you're on your own!" Quark yelped and he sprinted away. Or rather tumbled and crawled away under several legs broken bits of glass, spilled drinks and tables.
The former Bolian and the other Klingon ignoring anything else but their targeted pray moved together as if one body heading for Covington. Quark once more caterwauled his deep fear of the drones and ran as fast as his thin legs could carry him to the shattered dabo table the dead drone and Bashier. Seeing the felled Borg, Quark rolled off thinking better of his hiding place and made for Odo's security teams, determined to stay behind them and out of range. He didn't care one bit others would think him a cowardly troll. Better a coward than Borg. Besides no one would blame him. The Borg were seriously freaky and very deadly.
The Borg bodies slammed forward from the phaser fire, all of it ineffective. They kept coming for Brenna. Her pale eyes darkened in fear, her pale skin became more blanched, from somewhere over her shoulder she heard the sounds of the security force.
"They've adapted!" it was the changeling, his voice betraying his own desperation.
'Of course they adapted you golden bodied slug! They're Borg!' Covington wanted to scream. She crab-walked back behind the bar trying even as Quark had before to pry open the Jeffries tube hatch. But as before it simply would not budge.
"Concentrate all phaser fire on the blue one." Kira Nerys barked as she fired her weapon again and again. Behind her a massive Klingon cook raised his disputer fully intent on disintegrating the Klingon-drone.
The Bolian-Borg reached for Covington, one enhanced hand snatched her around the neck, her weight nothing to him as he lifted her a full meter off the tile floor. The director futilely struggled, kicking even biting trying to wrench herself free to no avail. The drone's left hand formed a fist causing assimilation tubules to slid out, wriggling like snakes just before they plunged deep into the Director's neck. A sickening crack of bones, and slap of meat hitting tile ricocheted off the floor as the Borg dropped its quarry.
Even as the Bolian-drone assimilated his catch the Klingon-Borg stood by his fallen comrade, punched a code in the armor encasing his right forearm and in the next instant he had beamed off the station taking the downed drone with him. A moment latter both the Bolian-drone and the Director had vanished leaving beyond the bar a shambled mess, several panicked patrons and stymied security officers. No one knew quite what to think. Never before had the Borg gone after a single target. Never before had they simply retreated.
This might have been the first incident.
It would not be the last.
Kellian which was now as large as Voyager's saucer section and had as many decks most of which had yet to be fully developed contained many labs. In one such lab, Seven had had found a home in an astrophysics setup that rivaled the one on Voyager, if not slightly more powerful as Kellian didn't have to divide her resources as badly as Voyager.
Seven frowned as she read the terra quads of information streaming past her monitors faster than a human eye could possibly read. The frown so deeply etched, B'Elanna thought it might have been carved into the Borg's flesh. She had come in hunt for her wife after leaving her mother alone on the bridge. The kids had gone off exploring the vessel staking claim to their own large quarters simply because they could.
"BangwI, what is it?" the Klingon said stepping around her wife, wrapping her arms around the woman she loved. For a moment she tried to read the quick flowing text but her dark eyes blinked there was no way she could possibly keep up. The engineer knew better than to question if Seven was actually reading the information. She had seen the former drone do such things several times in the past when their relationship wasn't so amicable. She had been amazed then as she was now.
"The minds of the Collective are powerful, able to send images, messages information and intelligence to one another and the Queen faster than the speed of light, the speed of thought. It is how the Hive Mind works so effectively, efficiently. Example. Drones in the Delta Quadrant know exactly what is happening to a cube in the Gamma Quadrant."
"Yeah I know, makes them a bitch of an enemy to go against. But Borg tend to ignore things that are not relevant to them at the time. Sure Gamma Quadrant Borg can be fighting off Jem'hadar, Those in the Beta Quadrant can be fighting off a Bird of Prey and in the Alpha Quadrant fighting off a starship while here in the Delta Quadrant they can be assimilating a planet. Linked but not preoccupied. So...what?"
"My mind's brief interment with Royal Protocol had given me enough touch with algorithms of the Hive Mind to be more than aware of their activities. When I had to link with Kellian apparently she too had been connected." Seven reported in her typical monotone.
"I thought you said this girl was free from the Hive Mind." the frown like a virus transferred to the Klingon.
"There is a new Collective, B'Elanna." Seven turned to her wife.
"The virus we slipped them changed them?" B'Elanna offered.
"Not them. Us."
B'Elanna opened her mouth then closed it. "Say again."
"Look here at these algorithms." Seven pulled up what almost looked like EKG, and MRI readings from a medical record. "There are two distinct wave patterns. One the Borg as we knew it. By now there is a new Queen. There are always several Primes waiting to be inaugurated into Royal Protocol should the chosen one become unviable. Such was the instance with me.
"The second evolution of the Borg......is not logical. B'Elanna. The Borg have many advantages, but one thing they can not escape and that is almost a disadvantage is the nearly flawless logic by which they operate. Vulcan masters strive for the precise logic of the Borg. Organic beings can bluff, as we've seen with Captain Janeway, they can go off on tangents, have inspired insights as you are known to do. But the Borg are ruthless in their functioning and structure as they are in their decimation of worlds."
"That makes a frightening amount of sense." B'Elanna admitted. "So this second Borg...they're not logical? I don't get it. What did this virus do?"
"B'Elanna, organic beings had created machines. But it was the machines that made organic beings Borg. Everything Drones do are in response to the orders of their Queen, her instructions to the Hive Mind. Damage the Queen and the Collective begins to fall apart."
"Until a new Queen pops up."
"Indeed. I have survived three incarnations of Queens. One was destroyed at Wolf 359. One fell to Captain Jean-Luc Picard." Seven couldn't help but wince for it had been her hand that had assimilated the Federation Captain. "And she who....you had slain, the one I was meant to replace."
B'Elanna mutely nodded. She knew that the Queen was almost a super-Borg. The Queen was the complete operating system for the entire mammoth structure. She was more than a single being—she was the Borg. She was the program made flesh and machine. She was Goddess from Machine. The Borg had made their god in their own image by giving their super Borg access to Royal Protocol. Seven had had that access.
"Annika, you said you weren't in there long enough to become reintegrated into the Borg. What are you saying. What's up with this second Borg Collective?"
Seven pointed to the second wave graph. "They have rebelled. They have formed a new collective. In fact The Borg proclaim those they are about to conquer jeghpu'wI."
"Jeghpu'wI?" B'Elanna frowned. "Are you sure?"
Seven only raised her silver ocular implant.
"Okay so you're sure." B'Elanna placed a reassuring hand on her wife's long back. "But how can you be sure? Nic what's going on?"
"I am not completely certain. I am only vaguely aware of them as if they are some half remembered conversation one would have as a child or a dream. They call themselves the Maquis-Borg."
Had anyone else said that B'Elanna Torres would have said they had made it up out of some bad holonovel or trade paperback. But this was Seven of Nine, whose sense of humor though in its infancy was dry and even witty neither sophomoric nor fanciful. "Okay so...they are Maquis Borg... independent of our old pals. So why are they speaking Klingonese?"
"Good question." Seven answered.
"Okay here's a better one." B'Elanna was now leaning against the computers her dark eyes resting on Seven's ivory skin. "I understand how you can be somewhat aware of these 'Maquis-Borg.' but Kellian how? I know she's partially assimilated but she was never linked to the Hive mind like you and the Sochlings."
"Perhaps it is vicarious through my connection. When the Queen was near I was always aware as are all Primes. Those who have ever been assimilated by me carry a single nanoprobe that directly connects them to me. Should I ever become the Queen, they would be recalled and given new designations within Unimatrix Zero One."
"A bit like your own royal guard."
"Yes. Kellian is connected to me the virus which spread through the collective would have carried Royal Protocol Nanoprobes since it was released through the central plexus."
"So the virus worked to sever the Borg well some of them...and make them independent...well independent enough that now they call themselves Maquis-Borg?" B'Elanna frowned trying to ascertain everything she had heard.
All Seven had to do was to point to the screens showing the conflicting algorithms. "Yes."
"Babe, look I don't understand why are you concerned? This is a good thing this is what we wanted." B'Elanna took both of Seven's hands into her own. "You're not fully connected. Baby you're not going to lose yourself to becoming Queen of the 'good Borg.' if that is what you're worried about."
"What concerns me is that I might be indirectly influencing them, regardless if I am their Queen or not."
B'Elanna had nothing to say to that. How could she? She wanted to reassure her wife. Deny it, tell Seven that she was mistaken. Only B'Elanna couldn't. Had she herself not been in Seven's body, not been inside the Central Plexus during Royal Protocol she had felt exactly what Seven was describing. Seven had the endemic memory to relive it, but B'Elanna had felt it first hand. She knew what it had been like to be linked to trillions of minds. One hundredth of them had seceded from the Hive Mind and formed their own Collective. The Maquis-Borg.
Torres was still assimilating this when she herd her mother hail from the bridge. "You two, we've got something on the sensors. Take a look."
"Kellian activate and augment main sensor array, what is it?" B'Elanna ordered. It must have not been hostile as the proximity klaxon hadn't sounded. However what ever it was, it had been enough to raise an alarm in Miral. She was a Captain of a Battle cruiser, she didn't start easily.
Kellian facing wall slide open revealing a large screen. The viewer flickered once as the living ship complied with her captain.
Ahead of them a black-green hub something akin to a mechanical spider's web, hovering tantalizingly in sight, . Borg technology. "Nic is that what I think it is?" B'Elanna couldn't help but stare. And all to familiar design.
"If you think it is a Borg transwarp hub, then you would be correct." Seven answered.
"Isn't this a bit covenant?" B'Elanna turned to her wife. "We're talking about what is happening in the other quadrants and we just happen to cross paths with a transwarp hub?"
It was Kellian that answered. "Confirmed. Borg Transwarp hub, it is operation. It is a construct of the Collective, outside the Hive mind thus not afflicted with the liberation virus. The hub can be used to return to the Beta Quadrant."
Seven paled. "If we intend to use it, we must act quickly before the Borg are alerted."
"I will cloak." Kellian said. "We will not be detected."
Hope resurfaced as did the memory that Kellian could mask her signature. "Kellian assume the signature of the Transwarp hub." Seven ordered.
"I will comply." the ship responded. If her Queen was concerned over discovery, Kellian would insure protection just as she had in the other Quadrants by ordering the hunt of members of Section 31 and those who sought to bring harm to the Maquis. The living ship used the Queen's algorithm ordering all Delta Quadrant Maquis-Borg to naturalize and assimilate any enemy Borg that came within fifteen light-years of their position.
Seven shook her head for a meant hearing the slight background buzz within her mind. For a moment it felt as if some had been starring at her from afar and when she turned to see who had being watching her their was no one to be found.
'I am becoming more human. A Borg is not paranoid.' she chastised herself for her bout of weakness. Chalking it up to her previous conversation, Seven ignored the feeling, besides she had far too much work ahead of her if they were going utilize the hub.
"Kellian, messenger Voyager, relay our findings." Seven commanded.
"I will comply." The ship almost sounded pleased with herself.
"Kellian you said Beta Quadrant..."B'Elanna hinted clearly wanting more information.
"Yes, near grid 339.779, respectively territory of the Klingons; species..."
"I don't need to hear my species designation, thanks." B'Elanna held up a hand forestalling the ship. "But the Romulan's are closer to the boarders between the Delta Quadrant and that of the Beta."
"As an engineer you would know transwarp travel and traversing wormhole proximity is irrelevant and relative." Seven seemed almost amused.
"I know, I know." B'Elanna shook her head. "It's a lot to take in, and we've had close calls for home to often to get ones hopes up."
"As your mother pointed out BangwI, the Alpha Quadrant is not my home."Seven said, keeping her tone as even as possible.
"Well neither is Unimatrix Zero-One. But the Beta Quadrant can be. I am not found of the Alpha Quadrant myself and considering what's been going on with he Maquis being disbanded, I wasn't so sure I wanted to go back. But now that we have a real chance to make a difference, I saw we snatch it."
"And what of the new generation of Borg?" Seven asked.
"We'll cross that bridge when we come to it."
"There are no bridges in space B'Elanna." Seven pointed out.
"I mean...." The young Klingon started with a heavy sign then stopped recalling months ago Seven of Nine admitted understanding more allusions and analogies than she had let on to. "Good one Ben'el, you almost had me going. I am saying right now that cell of rebelling Borg are the lest of our concerns. Let's hit the bridge and brake the news to Mother. We're back to the Empire. Back home."
"Home..." Seven echoed the word. Before the word held no meaning for her. She had her Collective. She had her Unimatrix in her family, including a new mother-in-law and a sentient
starship. "I have in truth never had a home. I merely lived in many different places. The Raven, three different cubes and Voyager now Kellian."
"You okay with this?" B'Elanna looked deep into her wife's eyes. "Look ....I....we can stay here, my mother can catch a ride on Voyager once she goes through the transwarp hub."
"No, B'Elanna. Although I have no desire to go to the Alpha Quadrant, I would like to see the Empire. I wish to see the homeworld of my wife."
"Its been a long time since I've seen Q'ronos, Nic. I grew up on Kessik IV, but....yeah it would bee good to see it. Ever since you've come into my life, the Barge of the Dead and Mother...well I've got a better appreciation for things Klingon. Besides I want to see the man who married my mother. Kah'less she had to go and take the Great Oath with the Chancellor of the Empire!" The smaller woman shook her head. 'She's terrified that Starfleet will rip her apart, I can't help but wonder what will the Empire do with us. What will happen to us now that our journey in the Delta Quadrant is nearly finished. Kah'less we've got a long way yet to go. Walk a mile in someone else's boots, find yourself on a hell of a journey and ....to where some far shore?' B'elanna closed her eyes waiting for her hearts to give her an answer.
They were silent.
'Some far shore it is.' the Klingon said as she and Seven headed back to the bridge and the threshold of their future.
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