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I am Borg - Part 2 - Chapter 3

 
 
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  I am Borg - Part 2 - Chapter 3

By Kudara


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

Stardate: 52681

Rating: PG-13

Feedback: Always welcome, feedback is what encourages me to keep writing. Please let me know what you like and what you dislike about the story.

Summary: Paris gets no sympathy from B'Elanna. Seven reads human relationship studies. Seven dreams.

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B'Elanna had just dressed after her shower and eaten a replicated dinner when the door chime rang, it was Tom. B'Elanna was still feeling guilty over her reaction to Seven so she gave him a warmer greeting than she normally would, however he seemed to be distracted and didn't respond very enthusiastically to her kiss.

Concerned she asked, "What's wrong Tom?"

"I know you don't want me to talk about Seven but I can't believe she went and told the Captain about that silly bet that I made with the Doctor. It's not like it was that big a deal. She overreacted to the whole thing," said Tom with a definite whine in his voice.

B'Elanna said in confusion, "What bet?"

Tom sat down on the couch and explained about the day that Seven had told them she had been observing their relationship. Tom had walked into Sardines that evening and the Doctor had taken it over for one of Seven's social lessons. "I was hard pressed not to laugh at the both of them, she was doing so badly. So I explained to the Doc that it was one thing for him to set up a controlled environment for her and another thing for her to be able to manage in the real world. We made it a bet, one month of freedom from the Sickbay if I won," explained Tom.

"The date with Chapman," said B'Elanna remembering how she had reacted after Harry had sadly confided to her that he had not made Seven's list. She had been angry that Seven was so blind to how she had hurt Harry. She had just added it to the list of things that the arrogant, rude drone had done wrong. Now she wondered why Seven had thought that was the correct way to go about choosing a date. Then remembering who had been giving Seven lessons in humanity, she groaned to herself that had the Doctor written all over it. No telling what he had told Seven.

"No actually I wasn't there for that, though it ended more disastrously than even I had anticipated, poor Chapman. No the date was supposed to be for the Kadi Ambassadors dinner. I guess the Doc took his opportunity and asked her himself. Personally I thought it was cheating, but the evening was going pretty well until I mentioned the bet," said Tom.

"Oh," said B'Elanna keeping her temper under tight reins, she knew how angry Tom had been that day, and didn't put it past him to do something mean to get even.

"Yea, when Seven heard we had made a bet about the date she got rather upset and walked out, threatened to rip off the Kadi Ambassador's arm when he stopped her in the doorway too. It was quite the scene, I hadn't realized that the Doctor had feelings for Seven until then," finished Tom.

"So you humiliated her publicly," said B'Elanna. "Revenge for her doing that study on us?"

"I didn't realize she would get so emotional," Tom tried to defend himself, "And she shouldn't have said that about everyone hearing us, she said that publicly."

"That was my fault Tom, I knew as soon as I asked that I had done something stupid. Seven always answers me with the truth, if I hadn't wanted her to say it I shouldn't have asked. Why do you think I let you lead me away, I had already recognized I should have never asked if I didn't want to hear the answer," said B'Elanna.

"She never intended to hurt either of us with that study Tom. Yet you deliberately set up a situation where you really could hurt her," B'Elanna said to Tom bluntly. "So what did the Captain say to you?"

Tom was still smarting over the last comment; none of this was going like he wanted. B'Elanna was supposed to see his side of the situation, not still be defending Seven. Sulkily he said, "She gave me a direct order not to make bets about anyone's personal life anymore and to make no bets about Seven at all."

"I would follow that suggestion Tom, and by the way don't even think about retaliating against Seven. Because I'm with the Captain on this one Tom, that was uncalled for, and if I hear of you planning anything I'll go right to Janeway. Now get out, I'm so angry right now I want to hit something and if you don't want it to be you I'd leave," growled B'Elanna.

Tom looked at her stunned at her response, not only was she taking Seven's side but she was letting him know that she would take action to protect Seven from him. Seeing her obvious anger he decided that retreat was definitely the wise thing to do and hurriedly left.

B'Elanna sat down on the couch after Tom left, she knew the only reason she hadn't told him it was over was because the betting incident had happened a week before Seven died. It would not be fair for her to end the relationship over something that had occurred when she was still treating Seven dishonorably. However if he pulled something like that again then the relationship was over. She had been furious when he had left but now that all seemed to be gone, now she only felt saddened that Seven's two attempts at romance had both went so disastrously.

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Seven spent the remainder of the evening reading various studies on human sexual behavior. Much of it was confusing to her, it seemed as thought there were no definite ways of efficiently choosing a mate, she corrected herself, partner. She had been surprised to learn that she perhaps should not have left out the female crew members, apparently though it was comparatively rare a significant percentage of humans preferred to choose partners that were of the same sex.

To further complicate matters; apparently one had to figure out whether or not you were interested in males or females essentially by empirical observation of your own reactions. There was no scientific test that would quickly and decisively answer the question for you.

No wonder Kathryn had told her that the method she had chosen would not work, thought Seven. There were multiple methods for suitably choosing potential partner. Most of the methods stressed that the person should be a friend first, only then should a mutual attraction be acted upon. Some of the studies suggested that the approach she had taken might help to weed out obvious mismatches, but other papers gave case studies where successful couples had not had many common interests to begin with but had developed common interests after they started dating.

Also not all relationships progressed linearly to a long term monogamous relationships as the Doctor had insinuated. That might be the ideal relationship but the studies made it obvious that humans expected to have several sexual partners over the course of their lifetime. Only settling down with one preferred partner when they found someone they felt they wanted to spend the rest of their life with.

Interestingly enough it was a book written for non-human species dating of humans that was of the most help to her, all the books written by humans made certain assumptions about the knowledge level of their reader. The book written to help aliens understand human sexual practices made no such assumptions and went into detail about almost every aspect of human sexual behavior, cultural expectations, polite behavior as it pertained to mentioning sexual topics, and even a linguistics section.

It was in the linguistics section that Seven learned that humans usually used the term copulate when referring to intercourse between animals and rarely in scientific papers. The Borg referred to all sexual acts as copulation so Seven had naturally used the term, now she knew why she had gotten generally negative reactions whenever she used it. Seven wondered why the Doctor had not corrected her earlier. Others had tried to correct her usage but had not explained why the term copulate was unacceptable, she had thought they were merely adding euphemisms which were inefficient and so she had ignored them.

However, this book made it clear that the different terms, though all referring to the same act, differed in their usage depending on the level of emotional commitment. Seven quickly found out that she should have been using the term intercourse instead of copulate. Having sex was intercourse with minimal emotional connotations, whereas making love implied that the two people involved cared for one another, though it did not necessarily imply they were in love.

After reading the book Seven understood why her study of Tom Paris and B'Elanna had angered the two of them so. Even though she technically had not invaded their privacy she had studied them without their permission which was an implied invasion of their privacy. Further she had not informed them that their assumption of privacy in B'Elanna's quarters was compromised by inadequate soundproofing.

Seven was uncertain how she was supposed to have responded to B'Elanna's question about how she knew when they were having intimate relations, but apparently her answer in the mess hall had been inappropriate. Perhaps she should have insisted that she answer the question in a less public place, Seven mused glancing at the field notes which indicated that all discussions involving a sexual topic were generally discussed privately among humans.

It was getting very late and Seven realized she needed to go to sleep; she would have to think of a way to apologize to B'Elanna, hopefully one that would not make the engineer angry with her again. Seven undressed and slipped into her bed, as tired as she was it was not long before she slipped into slumber.

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She stood on a rocky hilltop looking out over a dirt track that wound through the valley below her, the cold wind chilled the metal of her chain mail and helm, and she held her Bat'leth under her right arm. Seven was aware that she must be dreaming, but where was this place? Why was she here?

A sound attracted her attention back to the dirt track, a small group of women and children appeared walking along it. They looked behind them frequently with anxious and fearful faces. Seven could tell they appeared to all be humans; they also appeared to be of the same racial group. Without exception all of them were pale, and had various shades of blond hair, rather like her own coloring she realized. Their dress was primitive, layered wool garments covered by fur cloaks. A few of the older women held spears appearing to be guarding the rear of the group from something.

They had not yet looked upward so they did not see her and she quietly watched the group as they drew near a point directly below her. Looking at them more closely she realized several of the older boys and women were injured with coarse bandaging wrapped around the wounds on arms and legs. There were seven women, four boys, three girls, and two infants being carried by their mothers, Seven noted. Seven thought the most likely cause given the groups general attitude was that they had been recently attacked and expected their attackers to be following them.

As they passed by her position one of the women finally looked up and spotted her and called out in surprise. With astonishment Seven recognized the speech; it was Old Norse a language she knew only because the Collective had acquired it from her father. The woman had cried out, "Ware, enemy on the hill above us!"

Seven watched, careful to make no aggressive moves as they paused and looked uncertainly at her. Comments of ‘who is he', ‘is he one of Chieftain Hakan's men', and ‘what type of weapon is that' drifted up to her. Seven realized that between the thigh length chain mail with its undercoat of leather and her helm they could not tell she was a woman.

"I mean you no harm," Seven finally called down to them to reassure them.

The group fell silent as they realized that the person on the hill was no man. Suddenly a band of 10 men carrying spears in their hands, shields across their backs and swords at their sides came jogging into the valley. The group below Seven promptly ignored her and focused their attention on the men who had just come into view.

Seven could tell from their frightened looks that these were the people they had been fleeing. Seven looked from the group of women, children and infants to the group of men approaching and without thinking began to move down the hill. She could hear the men approaching muttering in Norwegian to each other. Their muttered comments made it clear that they planned on making the women and children into slaves. A comment of ‘what about the babes' was met with a short ‘kill them they are of no use to us.'

Seven's jaw tightened and she could feel her anger begin to rise, she decided not to control it with her nanoprobes yet though. This anger felt right, and as she heard comments from the oncoming men of what they planned to do with the women she made the decision that she would not permit any of what they were speaking about take place.

The men had not really noticed Seven moving to put herself between them and their prey but the group of women had noticed her moving to protect them. Incredulous comments of ‘what can she hope to do alone' and ‘who is she' sounded clearly to her ears. She was not surprised when some of the women decided that if she wanted to delay the men they would take the opportunity she was giving them to escape. Others were arguing that they should help her.

Seven turned and faced them for a moment and ordered, "Keep moving, I will stop them."

The men had finally noticed her and they slowed somewhat trying to evaluate what the stranger was doing. Seven heard the women and children move away from her obeying her instruction. The band of men stopped about fifty feet away from her and their leader stepped forward and said, "Step out of our way stranger, this does not concern you. Chieftain Hakan is now the lord of these lands, and these women are now our slaves."

Seven had already instructed her cortical node to activate her enhanced systems. Seven considered his words and replied, "By what right do you call them slaves."

The man straightened and grinned derisively, "A shield maiden hopes to stand against all of us?" He laughed and his men laughed with him, "As soon as we kill you and catch up to them they will be our slaves."

Seven calmly replied, "Then they are not slaves, and I will not let you capture them." Seven paused and then said, "There is no honor in attacking the weak. Let them go and leave, we do not have to fight unless you force me to."

The man stared at her then drew back his arm and threw his spear. Seven did not bother with her Bat'leth, she easily stepped to the right and knocked the spear aside with her left arm. Seeing how easily she dealt with the thrown spear the other men hesitated a moment, but when their leader yelled for them to kill her, they also threw the spears they were holding.

Seven wasn't entirely sure how to defend herself against multiple spears but watching their flight she realized that if she ran forward and engaged them she would avoid most of their spears and possibly surprise several of them. The tactic worked better than she expected, she only had to deflect two spears as she closed with the lead man.

He barely had time to draw his sword before Seven attacked him, managing to block her first blow he was caught by surprise when she shifted her weight to her left foot and continued driving forward. Seven forced his blade to slide past her on the edge or joj of the Bat'leth and impaled him on the tiq.

Seven continued moving and spun on her left foot, pulling her Bat'leth from the body and twisted around to meet her next attacker. She blocked his blade and then performed a glissade exactly as taught in her katas. Knocking the blade aside to the left she lunged forward and drove the tiq into the man's unprotected neck.

Not letting her forward momentum stop, Seven moved around the dead man's left side and pulled her Bat'leth free of his neck. Seven's attack shifted her from in front of the group around to its left side and the men were struggling to reposition themselves so they could effectively attack her.

Seven felt her lips curl back from her teeth, her anger no less intense because of the deaths of two of her attackers. She considered whether or not to activate her nanoprobes but then decided against it as her anger did not seem to be clouding her judgment. Distantly she wondered if this was what B'Elanna felt when she fought, did her anger sing through her blood, as Seven's did now?

Seven struck the next man, forcefully pushing his sword to the right and leaving his left side unprotected to her attack, lunging forward she thrust the tiq into the man's chest. She did not have time to pull the weapon out when the next man attacked; Seven lifted the Bat'leth's free side upward and caught the descending sword on the Bat'leth's right chevwl, the curved area between the tiq and van.

Using her strength she shoved against the man's sword and freed the other end of the Bat'leth. Seven trapped the sword blade between the right tiq and van and pulled the man to her right and downward as she stepped to his left. Continuing the Bat'leth's motion Seven brought the left side of the Bat'leth slamming down into the man's relatively unprotected back.

The remaining six men were looking at her in shock; she had dispatched four of their group in less than thirty seconds with the strange weapon which seemed not to be slowed by their armor. They had dismissed her as a woman, yet she moved quicker and more powerfully than they. The men now approached her with more caution and two of them attacked at the same time.

Seven stepped forward into the attack and caught the two blades on her Bat'leth, and then she shifted her weight to her left leg and snapped her right leg forward in a kick that broke the right most man's kneecap causing him to fall to the ground. One of the men had been smart enough to grab up one of the spears while the others had been fighting. When the man in front of him fell down screaming and clutching his knee he took the opportunity to thrust with his spear at the shield maiden.

Seven saw the spear too late and bit back a cry of pain when it went through both mail and padding and into her side, desperately the man leaned over his companion before Seven could pull back and Seven felt the spear slide deeper into her until it just exited her back.

Seven knew that the fibers surrounding her lung would constrict around the wound preventing further damage to her lungs. The same would occur with her muscles and skin, so she ignored the spear for the moment but knew she would have to deal with the length of the shaft soon.

Seven stepped aggressively to the right and with a single left handed hold brought the joj of the Bat'leth across the back of the man who had thrust the spear into her with a slashing move that cut through his leather armor and sliced him nearly in half. Seven then continued moving away from the group and grabbed the spear shaft with her right hand and, being careful to not cause fresh damage, withdrew the spear from her torso.

Flipping it she quickly drew back and threw it at one of the men who was closing on her, successfully skewering him through the chest. Seven continued to ignore the wound, counting on the fibers in her lungs and nanoprobes to repair the damage. The three remaining standing men charged her, desperately hoping that they could overwhelm the injured woman.

Seven shifted the Bat'leth to her right hand and stepped widely to her left, allowing the mail and exoskeleton covering her left arm to deflect the sword of the leftmost attacker. Spinning around behind him she brought the Bat'leth around one handed in a graceful sweeping move that ended with it buried in the backs of two of her attackers. Seven finished the move by moving back and to the front of the left most man and freeing her Bat'leth by drawing the blade free in a slicing motion that increased the damage it had done.

The remaining man backed away from her, turned around and started running back the way he had came.

Seven looked around in surprise at the carnage she had wrought; the man with the broken kneecap was still alive. He was covered in the blood of the man she had killed who had speared her and he looked at her terrified as he lay on his side cradling his swelling knee. Suddenly Seven felt slightly sick as she looked around at the blood and smelt the odor of the dead men. She knew intellectually that the dead lost control of their bodily functions but smelling it was another matter.

Seven quickly sent a command to her cortical node to deaden her sense of smell and another one to her nanoprobes to cleanse out the remaining hormones in her system. Seven left the injured man and glanced down the road where the women and children had retreated. She was surprised to see that they had stopped and were standing about 150 feet away from her. The awe and fear on their faces disturbed her and her and she glanced down at her gore covered Bat'leth.

Seven considered how to clean the weapon and her eye fell on the cloak of one of the dead men. Seven stepped over to the body and tugged the cloak off the body and slowly walked toward the group as she began cleaning her blade.

When she got closer to them she stopped and repeated what she had said earlier, "I mean you no harm."

The woman at the front of the group who Seven took to be the leader said, "We thank you for your defense of us shield maiden, you are marvelously skilled with the strange blade you wield. I saw you were grievously injured, yet you walk as if you were not."

Seven replied, "I was injured but the wound was not severe, I will recover from it shortly."

The woman eyed her oddly but did not say anything further about her wound though she could see the slice in the chain mail where the spear had been thrust through it. "We are headed to seek refuge with my cousin the Earl Eric Haroldson. It is but an hour's journey if you are able to walk it shield maiden, if you are hurt we can arrange a litter for you. I am certain my cousin will want to meet such a skilled warrior as yourself." The woman hesitated and then asked, "May we know your name shield maiden?"

Seven looked at her considering and then said, "I am called Annika."

I am "Altea," the woman introduced herself.

Seven finished cleaning her Bat'leth and the group continued up the road with Seven and some of the other women keeping a close eye on the road behind them incase Hakan's men decided to attack again.

By the time they arrived at the village Seven was satisfied that she was mostly healed, a slight soreness remained but the wound had closed over and she felt no pain when she breathed deeply. Seven looked in wonder around her at the people and buildings of the village. Though Seven stood taller than many of the women, most of the men were her height or taller. They had eyes of varying shades, but all were blond and pale skinned. The buildings were all sturdily constructed of thatched steeply pitched roofs and wood and stone walls. Seven noted the lack of doors, the door openings were covered with a wool blanket or fur skin.

They were working their way toward a long low building that stood in the middle of the village, their progress frequently halted as people hailed them and excited conversations were carried on about attack on the other village by Chieftain Hakan and how the shield maiden with them had saved them. Finally they arrived at the hall and paused, and Altea who had been leading them stepped beside Seven and whispered, "Why do you not remove your helm shield maiden?"

Seven looked at her curiously, "Should I have removed it earlier? I know your language but not your customs. I apologize if I have offended."

Altea looked at her and said, "You speak our language perfectly, I thought you were from one of the villages further north. How can you not know it is the custom to remove your helm so that all can see your face?"

Seven replied, "I know the language from my father but I have never been to these lands before now." Seven removed her helm and was not surprised at the woman's gasp of astonishment as the exoskeleton around her eye was revealed; she pushed back the chain and leather cowl from her head as well and shook loose her hair. Raising her ocular exoskeleton at Altea she waited to see what the woman would say.

Altea quickly got over the shock of seeing what appeared to be silver jewelry embedded into the skin of the shield maiden and noticed her awkwardly juggling her helm and strange weapon. "May I take your helm?" Altea asked politely.

Seven replied, "Thank you" and handed her the helm. Seven didn't know how to take the fact that the woman seemed to have accepted her exoskeleton so quickly. Perhaps she assumed it was some type of jewelry, Seven thought.

Now that Annika had removed her helm the villagers stared at her curiously, several of them had heard the low voiced conversation and speculation started up about the stranger who spoke their language but did not know their customs. Altea lead the way into the hall and Seven looked around curiously. The walls of the building were rough smoothed boards covered with animal skins and decorative shields. Benches and tables were placed against the wall and a row of open hearths ran along the center of the building.

Several people were seated inside the building, either talking in groups or working on various tasks. Altea lead her to the other end of the building where she smiled at a tall older man with white streaked hair and beard. "Altea!" roared the man and he embraced her, "I had thought the entire village lost, a rider from another village told us that Chieftain Hakan had everyone slain or taken into slavery."

Altea freed herself and said, "Eric Haroldson this is Annika the shield maiden who defeated ten of Chieftain Hakan's men. If it were not for her we would have been captured."

Eric turned toward the shield maiden and looked at her, she was tall and slender, and the strange ornament around her eye only added to her beauty. She returned his gaze calmly as if her feat was no deed of note to her. He took note also of the strange weapon she carried; it was a thing of beauty and the surface of the metal had the look of rippled water.

Altea continued, "Though she knows our language from her father she is not from this area and is unfamiliar with our customs, Eric."

Eric nodded, "We shall have to teach you our customs then. Tonight there will be a great feast for my warriors, I would like for you to join us Annika and tell us your tale. Tomorrow we go to fight Chieftain Hakan; he kills my people and takes my village. He will learn of the folly of angering me. Perhaps you would join us in the battle tomorrow shield maiden?"

Seven tilted her head and considered, "I do not know how long I will be allowed to stay, if I am still here tomorrow I will join you." Seven was amazed at how detailed the dream was, she recognized the general time period. She appeared to be dreaming of ninth century Norway, which made these people Vikings. Though why she would be dreaming of Vikings she had no idea, perhaps this was more of Mulara's training.

Eric looked at her curiously, "Who would cause you to leave?"

Seven replied, "You would term her a goddess. I believe I am here to learn a lesson. When she feels the lesson is learned I believe she will return me to where I came from."

Eric stepped back and said, "Are you a Valkyrie?" Suddenly fearful that seeing the woman meant his death tomorrow.

"Valkyrie," said Seven searching her memory, "A handmaiden of Odin whose task was to bring worthy warriors slain on the battlefield to Valhalla the Viking afterlife. No I am not a Valkyrie." Seven remembered that the Vikings believed that seeing a Valkyrie meant that one would die the next time they were in battle and added, "You do not have to fear that seeing me is a warning that you will die tomorrow Eric Haroldson."

"You sound as though you have an interesting tale to tell us shield maiden, I look forward to hearing it tonight. But you probably want to clean your armor and wash yourself before this evenings feast," said Eric turning and motioning to a younger woman behind him. "This is my daughter Jorunn; she will show you to your room and assist you."

Altea added, "She should have her wound tended as well. She was pierced by a spear; you can see where her armor was broken by it."

Eric looked at the woman in surprise, noting now the jagged tear in the chain mail underneath her breast. He looked at her again, the wound should have been disabling if not a mortal one, yet she stood relaxed with no sign of injury. Who was this woman who casually spoke of a goddess sending her here to learn some lesson?

Seven smiled slightly at Altea, "I have already healed, though I thank you for your concern."

Jorunn had come up to them and Seven looked at the younger woman, she was slightly shorter than she and had a delicate heart shaped face and emerald green eyes. As with all the Vikings Seven had met she had blond hair. Seven noted that Jorunn was staring rather intently at the exoskeleton around her eye, which made Seven slightly uncomfortable until the young woman noticed it and gave her a warm smile saying, "It is beautiful, I'm sorry I shouldn't stare."

Seven nodded and then when Jorunn reached out for her hand allowed her to take it. Seven paused and asked Altea, "You will be at the feast as well?"

Altea looked toward Eric who nodded, understanding that Annika wanted a familiar face present at the feast. "I will be happy to sit with you Annika," said Altea who then directed a warning look at Jorunn saying, "I will stop by later and see how you are doing as well."

Jorunn just smirked at Altea and tugged on Seven's hand and Seven let her pull her out of the feast hall and into one of the smaller buildings nearby. Seven wondered at the interaction between the two women, they did not appear to be friends, and Altea appeared to have reservations about Seven being sent off with Jorunn. Yet Seven could detect no sign of hostility from Jorunn toward her at all. The young woman appeared to be fascinated by her exoskeleton and seemed to be very friendly.
 
 
 

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