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I am Borg - Part 1 - Chapter 2

 
 
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I am Borg – Part 1 - Chapter 2

 

By Kudara

 

Disclaimer: Star Trek Star Trek Voyager and all who sail in her belong to Paramount/Viacom and no infringement of copyright/trade marks is intended.

 

Stardate: 52672

 

Rating:  PG-13

 

Revision Date: 7/3/04; 3/23/07; 6/5/07

 

Summary: Huiah Mlaer must break the news of Seven’s fate to Voyager’s crew.  B’Elanna Torres must brave the wrath of Captain Janeway for her part in Seven’s death.

 

Klingon words used: Meanings taken from Voragh’s notes on Klingon Cursing http://www.geocities.com/Athens/8853/curse.html

 

Ghuy’cha’ – strong swearword.

 

Ha’DIbaH – abusive insulting word meaning Animal.

 

Peta’Q – abusive insulting word, implies that the thing or person spoken of is useless, garbage, non-functional.

 

*******************************************************************

 

Several hours later, Huiah Mlaer found himself staring at a very angry Captain Janeway.  He had agreed to come aboard Voyager to meet her personally, stating that he had a duty that he must discharge to her and her crew.

 

He was met in the transporter room by the ship’s First Officer, and a stiff and formal Captain Janeway who immediately said, “I demand to know what has happened to Seven of Nine.” 

 

Huiah Mlaer sighed unhappily, “I do not think this is the place for me to discuss this matter Captain Janeway.”

 

The tone of his voice must have made it apparent that the news he had was dire, for the Captain paled and swayed slightly, her First Officer immediately supported her with a firm hand under her elbow.  Chakotay nodded to Mlaer, “Follow us to the Captain’s Ready Room.”

 

Mlaer wracked his brain for the man’s name, “Certainly Commander Chakotay…”  he paused to see if he had pronounced the human’s name correctly, and was rewarded with a nod and a small smile as the First Officer lead the way out of the transporter room.  The Mularan stared as they passed through the ship, wishing that he could ask for a tour, but the nature of his news made it unlikely that it would ever occur.  Too soon for his taste they had passed through the ship and into the Captain’s Ready room.

 

Captain Janeway seemed to have regained her composure and she asked firmly, “What news do you have of Seven of Nine.”

 

The Mularan waited until both of the humans were seated before beginning formally, “Two days ago Seven of Nine was illegally kidnapped from this space station and taken to the Intelligence Base on Mularan.  There she was…” Huiah Mlaer paused uncertainly, trying to think of the kindest way to tell what had been done, and trying to block out of his mind the vision of the interrogation room.  He continued in a shaking voice, “There she was...”  Huiah Mlaer could not continue looking at the woman he was speaking to and instead he dropped his eyes to the carpet in shame and continued, “…brutally beaten by the head of the Intelligence Department, Ahaoe Muahe.  I was informed of his intent but arrived too late to prevent the death of your crewmember.” A stifled gasp drew his attention back to Captain Janeway.

 

The woman looked pale and shocked, he hurriedly continued, “Ahaoe Muahe claimed the right to use the Arch of Judgment.  As required by tradition and law, we took the body of Seven of Nine and Ahaoe Muahe to the temple, where judgment was rendered in favor of your crewmember.  Muahe is due to be beheaded within the hour; all of his lands and titles are forfeit to the government.  The guard who initially attacked her, and the Commander of the guards of this station, have also been sentenced to beheading.  Any guard determined to have been involved in the transportation of Seven of Nine will be confined and sentenced to no less than 10 years.”  He finished the last in a rush, earnestly holding the Captain’s gaze, determined to demonstrate to Captain Janeway that the Mularans took the crime seriously.

 

Captain Janeway focused on the litany of beheadings, trying to remember the law code that had been transmitted to them before their arrival at the space station and said, “Beheading is not the usual punishment for murder, is it?”

 

Huiah Mlaer shook his head and said, “Not usually, but in this case the judgment was rendered by Mulara herself.  Ahaoe Muahe claimed that Seven of Nine was guilty for all the Borg assimilations and murders that occurred nine years ago on Mularan.  She was found innocent of all accusations, Mulara said that since she had no individual will she could not be found guilty of any of her actions while she was part of the Collective.  Since Mulara rendered the judgment the sentences are more severe.  Mulara found Ahaoe Muahe guilty of misuse of his powers, kidnapping, torture of a minor and murder of a minor.  Beheading is the traditional punishment when Mulara’s judgment is invoked and the resulting charge is murder.  Forfeiture of all lands and money is an additional punishment since the person involved was a minor.  The 10 year sentence for anyone involved in the kidnapping is, of course, the standard punishment for kidnapping a minor.”

 

Captain Janeway looked at Huiah Mlaer and said, “Minor? Seven of Nine is… was twenty-seven years old.  At what age are Mularan’s considered to be adults?”

 

Huiah Mlaer said, “Mulara said that her emotional and social growth was not that of an adult and that she was to be considered a minor.  The age of adulthood varies in Mularan law; one must prove that they have the emotional and social maturity to be considered an adult.  The average age varies between eighteen and twenty one years of age.”

 

Janeway nodded then asked, “When can we have the body of Seven of Nine for burial?” 

 

Huiah Mlaer looked uncomfortable, hesitantly he admitted, “I’m not sure, as we do not have access to Seven of Nine.  One of the guardians at the Arch of Judgment took her body into the inner temple.  Force fields have been erected around the lower parts of the temple and the inner temple gardens.  We cannot enter the area where the guardian took her body to find out what has happened to her.”

 

Captain Janeway stared at Huiah Mlaer, “Where exactly is this temple located, have you scanned for any signs of Seven of Nine?” she finally asked.

 

“Our equipment cannot penetrate the force field that surrounds the temple, but I will give you the coordinates.  Perhaps your scans will be allowed to penetrate the shield,” Mlaer replied helpfully.

 

Captain Janeway gave Mlaer an odd look at his phrasing, but merely nodded.  She knew the Mularans devoutly believed that their goddess was real.  During Seven’s briefing the former Borg had informed them that the Collective believed Mulara was a highly advanced non-corporal energy being.  Suddenly hopeful despite the odds of any reason to be so, Janeway requested the coordinates from Huiah Mlaer and relayed them to the bridge, instructing them to specifically scan those coordinates for any sign of Seven of Nine. 

 

It was not long before Kim reported, “Captain, there is a human life form at the indicated coordinates, but I am unable to detect any signs of Borg implants.  I am still trying to get a more detailed scan through the force field that surrounds the entire area.”

 

Rising quickly, Captain Janeway stepped from behind her desk, “If you will accompany me to the bridge Mr. Mlaer?”

 

Mlaer, suddenly hopeful that events might not be as dire as he thought, rose and readily followed the Captain from her Ready Room onto the Bridge.  The large central view screen showed a close up of the Mularan Temple, the force field a golden dome covering part of the temple grounds.

 

Ensign Kim nodded to the Captain, “I have confirmed that the human life form DNA matches that of Seven of Nine.  She’s there Captain, but there are a lot of differences in the data I’m seeing compared to the medical information we have for her.  With your permission I would like to forward it to Sickbay for the Doctor to analyze.”

 

Janeway nodded thoughtfully then said, “Let the Doctor know I would like that analysis to be completed as soon as possible, what have you determined about the force field Ensign?”

 

Kim grimaced, “I have not been able to determine the energy source powering it, but whatever it is, it’s putting out a lot of energy to generate a force field of that area and strength.  I can’t get a transport lock on Seven of Nine through it.”  He shook his dark head confused, “Given its strength I’m not sure why our scans are penetrating it at all, we shouldn’t be able to.”

 

Janeway replied thoughtfully, “Remember what Seven said during the briefing about Mulara, the power source of that force field might not be what you would normally expect.  Look for any spatial anomalities or singularities that might be feeding it power.”

 

********************************************************************

 

Janeway made an effort to persuade Huiah Mlaer that those condemned to death should be spared since Seven was alive, but he was quite adamant that Mulara had stated that she had been murdered.  Nothing could change that pronouncement, not even the fact that Mulara had decided to restore her.  The Captain then sent an official protest of the sentences to the Mularan government, which was taken as a noble gesture, and promptly ignored.  In their viewpoint, Mulara had been very clear about the nature of the crimes committed.  The only thing the Mularan government did agree with her about was that Voyager should be sent copies of everything they had on Seven’s abduction, torture, death and the events at the Arch of Judgment.

 

Commander Chakotay escorted a grateful Huiah Mlaer around the ship while the information was gathered.  Upon being informed that the data requested had been sent to Voyager, Mlaer asked to be transported back to the planet, candidly admitting that he had no desire to view Seven’s death, the memory of the interrogation room was enough to give him nightmares as it was.

 

With his parting words as a warning, Janeway and Chakotay began with the reports of the events leading up to Seven’s disappearance.  They were extremely disappointed to learn that the engineering crew had been the primary source of the negative information Ahaoe Muahe had obtained about Seven of Nine. 

 

The reports from the Mularan intelligence operatives clearly identified the Chief Engineer of Voyager, Lt. B’Elanna Torres, as the greatest critic of the former Borg.  Only a few of them mentioned Commander Chakotay’s continuing lack of trust in the drone.  Fortunately for Lt. Torres, the reports made it clear that the half-Klingon had refused to say anything about the former Borg, and had walked away from the operatives when pressed for information.  The reports glossed over all the times Seven had risked her life for the crew of Voyager, dismissing it as Seven of Nine trying to justify her continuing existence as a member of the crew.  All of the information had been gathered within a few hours at the request of Ahaoe Muahe.  Apparently it had been all the information he needed to decide that Seven of Nine was the perfect target for his vengeance. 

 

Janeway sighed and looked over at her First Officer; there were only two more pieces of information to look at, the recordings of the torture and what had taken place at the Arch of Judgment.

 

Before she could say anything her First Officer commented, “Perhaps a break would be a good idea before we look at these.  I’ve read over the data the medical personnel took when they were called to the interrogation room.  It reminded me of some of the things I saw as a Marquis that the Cardassian’s had done.  Maybe the Doctor has some information for us; I for one would like to know that Seven is alive despite these reports.”

 

Janeway nodded thankfully, the medical reports had sickened her, and she now understood why Huiah Mlaer had been so adamant that he did not want to see any more.  Janeway tapped her combadge, “Doctor, Janeway here, I was wondering if you had finished your analysis of the data Ensign Kim sent you?”

 

The Doctor replied, “Yes I have, would you like me to send it to your console there?  Or come and report to you myself?”

 

Janeway said, “Why don’t you come up here, I have some medical data that I need to show you that was given to us by the Mularans.”

 

The Doctor replied slowly, “I’ve heard that Seven died as a result of being tortured.  Is it the medical data from when the Mularan medical personnel examined her?”

 

Janeway asked sharply, “Where did you hear that Doctor, I haven’t released any of this information yet.”

 

The Doctor replied, “The Mularans announced the death of Ahaoe Muahe twenty minutes ago for the kidnapping, torture, and murder of Seven.  It’s all over the ship by now.  The medical listing of her injuries leading up to her death, and a short segment showing the ruling at the Arch of Judgment was made publicly available Captain, its part of the official record of the execution.”

 

Janeway sighed, “Come to my Ready Room Doctor and give me your report.  It sounds like I need to make an announcement that Seven is alive.  Though honestly after what I’ve read in these reports a little ship wide guilt might do some good.”

 

It was only a few minutes before the Doctor arrived, and with a consenting nod from Janeway began his report.  “The data Ensign Kim sent me is very contradictory.  If it is correct, Seven’s physiology has changed considerably.  There is more human physiology present now than three days ago, but at the same time there appear to be more metallic alloy elements present as a part of her total physiology.”  The Doctor paused, and waved the padd he was holding for emphasis, “Seven used to have approximately 10% metallic alloy elements present in her physiology.  This information indicates that the percentage has increased five fold to 50% metallic alloy elements.” 

 

The hologram shook his head, a puzzled look upon his face as he admitted, “I am uncertain as to what this could mean.  It might mean that her Borg armor has been replaced, or it might mean something else entirely.  The metallic alloy elements present include tritanium and poly-deutonic alloy, all of which are in some type of matrix.  Perhaps with better data I, or engineering, could figure out the specifics,” he finished.

 

After the Doctor left, Janeway and Chakotay stared warily at the console on her desk.  Janeway sighed, “Well only two data files left.  Let me know if you want to stop at any point, and I’ll certainly do the same,” she said huskily.

 

With almost identically grim looks, the two began viewing the information the Mularans had discovered detailing the specifics of Seven’s torture.  Thankfully, the video portion of the information was poor, and though they could tell what happened to Seven they were not assaulted with detailed scenes.  Fortunately, or unfortunately, the audio was excellent and they were able to make out every word of the conversation between Seven and Ahaoe Muahe.

 

Janeway watched in horrified disbelief as Ahaoe Muahe coldly amputated Seven’s Borg arm.  As she listened to the former drone telling Muahe that the Borg did not intentionally cause pain, the Captain was surprised and proud of Seven’s continuing defiance of him.  Fleetingly considering the statement, she realized it was entirely accurate, the Borg might cause pain during assimilation, but if so, it was accidental.  They had no sympathy or pity if it did, but Seven was correct the Borg did not cause pain for the sake of causing pain.

 

When it became obvious that there would be no more conversation, only Seven’s screams, she gratefully turned down the audio.  The pain filled cries tore at her, filling her with bitter regret that she had been unable to protect her protégé.  Finally, they watched as Huiah Mlaer and the guards pulled Ahaoe Muahe away from Seven’s mutilated body.  They continued watching until the guards with Seven’s body marched out of the room for the Arch of Judgment and the data disk ended. 

 

Reflecting upon the Mularan’s refusal of her requests for clemency for Huiah Mlaer, Janeway allowed herself to feel a few seconds of savage satisfaction at the man’s fate.  It was barbaric according to the principles she had been raised with, but after hearing the man’s taunting of her helpless crewmember, seeing the brutality with which he had attacked Seven, the thought of his head being separated from the remainder of his body was definitely satisfying.  Shaking herself, she forced down the emotions.  There was still one more piece of information to be reviewed, and she had to remember that despite what she had just seen, Seven was actually alive.

 

Janeway picked up the last data disk and with an inquiring look at Chakotay, who nodded, she inserted it into the console.  They could immediately tell that Arch of Judgment was well monitored, unlike the previous record, this video and audio were of excellent quality.  It was also the first detailed view either of them had of the devastation Ahaoe Muahe had wrought upon Seven’s body, and both of them stared dazed at the blood-drenched form on the diagnostic bed.  Only Seven’s face had been left untouched by his attack except for blood spattering on her throat and jaw.

 

They continued watching in silence, listening to the disembodied voice and Muahe’s arrogant assertion that his savagery against Seven was justified.  The announcement of her innocence and Muahe’s guilt drew deep breaths from both, and they watched, with at least outward impassivity, as Muahe was dragged away after one protesting scream.

 

Chakotay pointed at the screen, “Look at the statue; it’s changed, it’s glowing.  Everyone’s attention is on Muahe but it began glowing a few seconds ago.”

 

Janeway backed up the data to the point Chakotay indicated, and they both focused on the statue as first the eyes and then the entire body glowed.  The two officers were silent as they watched the statue move gracefully over to pick up the body of Seven of Nine and bear it into the depths of the temple.  After the last of the data had finished playing Janeway asked, “What do you make of that,” she indicated the frozen last picture on the console, “Given that we just found signs that Seven is alive again and somewhere inside that force field?”

 

Chakotay steepled his fingers together, looking pensive, “Mulara has obviously taken an interest in her, not surprising given the mythology surrounding her.” 

 

Janeway gave him a curious look, “I don’t know anything about it.”

 

“I looked it up when we first arrived out of curiosity.”  He replied, “Were you aware that the first time she showed up on Mularan was 500 years ago?  The Mularan’s were split into several opposing kingdoms, and violence between them was very common.  One of these kings kidnapped the teenager daughter of another, and had her raped and tortured.  When she died a golden light formed around her and she disappeared, at the same time the king and all the men who had participated in the kidnapping and rape died as well… by decapitation as a matter of fact, probably where the traditional punishment began.  The daughter showed up almost two weeks later with a tale of a goddess who had gathered up her body and healed her.”

 

Janeway looked intently at Chakotay, “Sounds a lot like what happened to Seven.  Do you think this will mean that we will have to wait two weeks for her?”

 

Chakotay shrugged, “The story said almost two weeks so I would guess that it was around 10 or so days.  She died yesterday, if it’s correct, we have somewhere between seven to twelve days before she will be returned to us.  The story also describes the daughter’s time with the goddess as healing and peaceful, if we are lucky Seven will be treated the same.”

 

Janeway nodded, “I hope so because I don’t know what Seven’s emotional state will be after going through that.  That story, if it’s accurate, indicates that she will remember everything that happened to her.”  Janeway paced for a moment, she picked up the PADD with the Intelligence reports, “Is the situation between Seven and the crew as bad as this makes it out to be?  Does she really have no friends beside the Doctor and I on Voyager?”

 

Chakotay paused, choosing his words carefully, “I know she is friends with Naomi Wildman, but Seven’s mannerisms have not made her many friends, especially in engineering.  I’m certain they don’t realize that neither you nor I consider her to be as mature as her physical age would suggest, so they don’t understand why we let her continue to behave the way she does.  They just see her getting away with behavior that wouldn’t be tolerated in them.”

 

Janeway nodded thoughtfully, “I guess I haven’t done her any favors by doing so, but she didn’t exactly want to join Voyager, so I’ve tried to be easy on her.  Did you know that less than six months ago, when we found Artruis’s ship she didn’t want to go to the Alpha Quadrant?  I told her that she had no other place to go but Voyager.  I thought at the time she was merely afraid of the unknown, now I wonder if she wasn’t more afraid of meeting more people that might react to her the same way.”

 

Chakotay gently replied, “Kathryn you can’t blame yourself for wanting her to experience her humanity.  She’s grown so much this last year, we just have to figure out how to fix the situation that exists between her and the crew, and how to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”

 

Kathryn Janeway nodded, “Any suggestions?” she asked.

 

Chakotay smiled, “As a matter of fact, yes.  Given that the Doctor said that the medical record and pictures of the Arch of Judgment were posted publicly I’m betting that the entire ship has seen them by now.  B’Elanna is stubborn, but she’s also honorable, and I bet she’s feeling pretty bad about how Seven was treated about right now.  If we can get her to change how she treats Seven, the engineering crew should follow her example.”

 

*******************************************************************

 

In engineering the mood was anything but jovial, there had been a guilty pall hanging over the engineers ever since Seven’s disappearance, and especially after Tuvok found out that several of them had been gossiping about Seven of Nine to Mularan Intelligence agents.  The fact that they had not known the identity of the friendly Mularans who had wanted to know more about the ex-Borg had not diminished the decidedly disapproving look the Security Chief had given each of them. 

 

None of them was looking forward to the inevitable note that would be placed in their records about their indiscretion.  Torres had already dressed several of them down for falling for the tactic, she had been instantly suspicious of the Mularans curiosity and her Marquis experiences had kept her from sharing any information about Seven of Nine.  She might dislike the arrogant Borg, but she would never betray a shipmate like that.

 

The transmission from the Mularans of the execution of Ahaoe Muahe for the death of Seven of Nine upset everyone.  The images of Seven of Nine’s body had been graphically shocking evidence of her abuse, and the news that she was declared a minor under Mularan law, just piled one shock after another in the minds of the engineering crew.

 

Torres had disappeared into her office, shaken by the sight of the dismembered and bloody body.  She had read the dispassionate medical report, and had looked up the Mularan law to find out what was considered the age of adult hood.  Now finished with her research, she sat with her head in her hands thinking of how Seven of Nine had acted and comparing it to her own teenage years and seeing entirely too many similarities.

 

Why hadn’t Janeway made it clearer that Seven wasn’t as mentally mature as she was physically?  Memories of Janeway and Chakotay telling her that she was expected to be above reacting to Seven’s behavior intruded, and in the light of this new information, B’Elanna saw their admonitions with deeper insight.  If the Captain and Chakotay considered Seven to be socially and emotionally around the age of eighteen or so, then of course they would tell her that she was expected to be above reacting to Seven’s actions.  Why hadn’t they made it clearer to her?  Had the Captain and Chakotay expected her to see it for herself?

 

Now she would never have the chance to apologize for all the hateful things she had said to the Borg.  Never have the chance to show the Captain that she was capable of dealing with Seven in a mature manner.  She accepted that the antagonism between Seven and most of the engineering crew had been in part her fault; she had not bothered to discourage it, and by doing so had indicated to her crew that the hostile behavior was acceptable.  If she had stopped the behavior instead of tacitly encouraging it, Seven might not be dead.

 

Her summons to the Bridge to speak to the Captain and First Officer came as no surprise.  She stepped out of her office, and met the eyes of her engineering crew that immediately turned toward her, “I must apologize to all of you,” she announced, “I should have said something sooner about the gossip and behavior you displayed towards Seven.  I should have stopped it, but I didn’t, instead I said nothing and by that I pretty much encouraged all of you to continue.  I’ll accept the responsibility for the information that was given to Mularan Intelligence; if I had behaved more like a senior officer I’m certain the security lapse would have never occurred.”

 

With that, she turned and left engineering, heading for the Bridge with a decidedly grim look on her face that had everyone in the hallways moving to the side to stay out of her way.

 

Torres strode through the Bridge, ignoring Ensign Kim’s attempt to catch her attention, and asked for permission to enter the Captain’s Ready Room.  When the door opened, she marched in and stood stiffly at attention in front of the Captain and Commander Chakotay.

 

Captain Janeway raised an eyebrow and said, “Lt. Torres I think you know why you are here.  Would you like to explain to me why engineering had the need to share their opinions of Seven of Nine with Mularan Intelligence?”

 

B’Elanna took in a deep breath, “That’s my fault Captain, I should’ve stopped the gossip and their behavior toward Seven months ago, but I didn’t.  I realize that by doing so I was encouraging the behavior because of my dislike of Seven.  I accept full responsibility for my crew’s actions on the space station.”

 

Captain Janeway said, “Well this is a change; we’ve been trying to get you to realize how much influence you had over your engineering crew for months.  Too bad Seven had to die before you realized it.”  Janeway was not going to pull any punches, she was irate that the situation in engineering had been allowed to continue as long as it had.

 

Lt. Torres flinched, “Yes Captain.”

 

Commander Chakotay asked, “Why did you let the situation in engineering continue Lt.?”

 

B’Elanna paused, giving the matter some serious thought then answered, “From the first she was rude to me; she always behaved as if she had the right to do anything in engineering she wanted, and I resented that both of you allowed her to.  I guess I was also jealous that she got as much of the Captain’s attention as she did.”  B’Elanna hadn’t wanted to be that honest, but with what little honor she had left she figured complete honesty was the only way of regaining any of it.

 

Janeway blinked, “You were jealous of the time I spent with her?  Did you not realize that she needed it?  I made the choice for her against her will that she would become human; I decided that she was unable to make her own decision about the matter and overrode her wishes.  I took on the role of her guardian B’Elanna, I thought you realized that.”

 

B’Elanna shook her head and said, “I’m sorry Captain, I only realized that you and Chakotay weren’t treating her as an adult a few minutes ago.  The news that the Mularans had declared Seven a minor caused me to think about it.  I was too wrapped up in my own reactions to see I guess.”

 

Janeway stared at her, “Despite what the Mularan’s decided, I don’t know that I would classify Seven as a minor.  Younger than her biological age certainly, but I wouldn’t judge her maturity level as being below the age of adulthood.  Given the time she lost as a Borg, the formative years we spend learning how to be individuals, how to interact with others, it’s not surprising that she wasn’t very skilled in those areas.  I don’t see how anyone expected her to be, after all the rest of this crew had twelve years  or more to learn what she was trying to learn since being separated from the Collective.”

 

Janeway paused, a severe look upon her face, “As Federation citizens I expected this crew to be tolerant and understanding of her difficulties, as Starfeet officers, I expected that even more so.  It seems in many instances I was wrong on both accounts.”

 

The half-Klingon flinched, understanding only too well the Captain’s point.  She herself had been afforded that understanding and tolerance, the displays of temper and anger that had gone unremarked in her would have undoubtedly landed a full human on report.

 

“And now,” Janeway continued, “How would you treat her now B’Elanna?”

 

Still recovering from the Captain’s earlier words, B’Elanna laughed bitterly, “If she were still alive you mean?  She would still get on my nerves and infuriate me, but I hope I would react differently.  I would try to tell her what she was doing wrong and if she continued, I would tell her to leave engineering until she could behave in an acceptable manner.  I guess I’d be more inclined to report to you and Chakotay when she really did something out of line, instead of just yelling at her.  But I’ll never have the chance now to make things right, will I?”

 

Janeway tilted her head to the side when B’Elanna had started speaking, but had let her finish.  Now she asked, “B’Elanna you don’t know that Seven may be alive do you?  We can’t get a transporter lock on her but we have detected her life signs in the main temple complex where the Arch of Judgment is located.  I’m sorry, I thought that you knew.”

 

B’Elanna stared at her, “That’s what Harry was trying to get my attention about, and I just walked past him.  No I didn’t know.”  B’Elanna closed her eyes and a feeling of relief swept through her, she would have the opportunity to regain her honor.  B’Elanna opened her eyes and looked at the Captain and said, “I do have one request of you Captain.”

 

Janeway looked at her searchingly, she nodded and B’Elanna continued, “Don’t let her get away with the way she treats people.  If nothing changes I can ask my people not to be actively hostile to her, but I can’t make them like her, and she still won’t have any friends.”  B’Elanna thought, but didn’t say, just as I didn’t have any friends when I was a teenager.  “When I’m right, and she’s out of line, back me up please.”  

 

Janeway rubbed her forehead, “What is it that she does that annoys people the most?”

 

B’Elanna shifted her weight, considering the question and tried to respond to it as diplomatically as possible.  “She treats people as if they were inferior to her.  She constantly tells people they are inefficient, and their feelings are irrelevant.  The way she corrects mistakes makes it clear that she believes that she would not have made them.  Even though she doesn’t want to rejoin the Collective, she makes it obvious that she compares us to the Borg and finds us lacking.  Being told that you are inefficient and your thoughts and feelings are irrelevant…well no one reacts well to that.”

 

Janeway looked at her understandingly, “I don’t want to immediately make radical changes when she comes back, chances are she will remember everything that happened to her and she will need our support.  I’m afraid she would take that type of change to mean that Ahaoe Muahe told her the truth, that she’s not welcome here.  Can you be patient for a while longer, and try and treat her gently for a few weeks.  Let’s ease into the change instead of springing it on her all at once.  I don’t want to hurt her more than she’s already been hurt.”

 

B’Elanna was puzzled, “What did Ahaoe Muahe say to her?”

 

Janeway reached over to her console and typed in a few commands, she turned the screen around so that B’Elanna could watch the first few minutes of Seven’s ‘interrogation’.  Janeway stopped it before Muahe moved back over to cut off Seven’s arm.

 

B’Elanna rubbed her forehead ridges absently and sighed, the petaQ had taunted Seven with the things her engineering crew had told his people.  Suddenly she straightened and said furiously, “That Ha'DibaH!  He told Seven that I had told him those things!”  B’Elanna got up and started to pace angrily. 

 

Janeway watched her agitated movements for a few seconds, “Tuvok’s reports and the information we got from the Mularan’s make it clear that you did no such thing Lieutenant.  I’ll make sure that Seven understands that you never told Mularan Intelligence anything.”

 

B’Elanna turned, responding passionately, “But she’s going to know where the information came from, and that’s engineering, which means me.”  B’Elanna’s shoulders slumped, and she said in a quiet tone, “How can I make this right?”

 

“Try to be patient with her, figure out whether or not she means to be rude or not.  B’Elanna, she hides behind that Borg mask when she feels uncertain or threatened.  You react with anger to situations you don’t like; she reacts by acting like the perfect Borg.  Try to remember that when you are dealing with her.  Try and look for what’s behind the behavior, instead of reacting to it,” Janeway suggested.

 

B’Elanna bristled at the comparison, but then frowned and nodded her acknowledgement to the Captain.  “If that is all Captain, I need to go back to engineering.  Let me know if there is any more news about Seven?”

 

Janeway nodded, “I’ll forward the sensor readings to you.  The Doctor said he might need your help to figure out some of the changes in Seven’s physiology.  She has a lot more metallic alloy in her physiology than she used to, and the Doctor isn’t at all certain why.  Maybe you can tell something from the data, if we get better sensor readings I’ll send them to you.”

 

B’Elanna frowned, “The Mularans are holding Seven somewhere?  The way they reacted to her death I wouldn’t have expected that.”

 

Janeway gave her a grim smile, “No the Mularan’s aren’t, but it appears that Mulara is.  There is a force field around parts of the temple, if the Mularan mythology is correct we won’t be allowed to retrieve Seven for several more days.”

 

B’Elanna nodded thoughtfully, “That’s why we diverted all available power to the sensors.  We still can’t punch through the force field?  Could you send me the information on the force field as well?  Maybe I can figure out some way to get through it.”

 

Janeway nodded, “Thank you for offering to help B’Elanna.”

 

B’Elanna nodded sourly, not feeling at all as if she should be thanked for helping get Seven out of a situation she had contributed toward.  After her dismissal, she left the Ready Room and walked over to Harry Kim, “What do you have on this force field?”

 

Harry briefly smiled at her, and then indicated a readout on his console, “Look at this, see that power reading.  I’ve never seen a force field this strong, but I’ve finally found what’s powering it.  I think,” He added.  “I’m getting readings indicating some type of quantum singularity inside the force field, and I believe that is where the force field is getting its power.  The interesting thing is that before we diverted power to the sensors we were picking up readings on Seven from inside the force field, and we shouldn’t have been able to, not with that strong of a force field.  Even now we shouldn’t be able to get the type of detailed readings that we are.”

 

Tom, who was at the helm, commented lightly, “I don’t see why everyone is so worried about Seven, she always turns up ok.  I’m sure we will get her back and she will be her charming Borg self.”

 

B’Elanna rounded on him angrily, “Ghuy'cha,’ I’d hardly call being tortured to death ok Tom, it’s not like she’s just going to be able to forget that.  Nor will she forget that it was engineering that was so eager to talk to her torturer’s intelligence people and that’s my fault.”

 

Tom gaped for a second, then his face darkened, “Hey, what are you talking about?  I thought she was detained by Mularan Intelligence?  I mean she is alive, I know Harry’s been scanning for her this past hour or so.”

 

Both B’Elanna and Harry stared at him incredulously, “Haven’t you been paying any attention to the reports?” Harry finally asked the helmsman.

 

Paris flushed, “No,” he admitted, “At least not any after the initial report that she had been taken by Mularan Intelligence.”

 

Torres rolled her eyes, she could guess at what other things Tom had been doing while the ship was at station keeping orbiting the planet.  Helm had nothing to do besides make sure the ship didn’t deviate from its orbit, so Tom had probably been engrossed with working on his latest Captain Proton holonovel and completely ignoring everything else happening around him.

 

B’Elanna growled at Tom, “You need to read the reports before making any comments about Seven.  No one deserves to be tortured to death!  And certainly not Seven...  Not after all the times she’s risked her life for us.”  With that, B’Elanna strode angrily from the Bridge leaving a confused Tom Paris staring after her.


 
 
 

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