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I am Borg - Part 2 - Chapter 6

 
 
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  I am Borg - Part 2 - Chapter 6

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: 52696

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: Staff meeting. Saga of Annika and her foster mother Kathryn Edwardsdottir.

Note: Information about B'Elanna's father contacting her from Pathways by Jeri Taylor

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Seven and Janeway entered the briefing room together, Tuvok had left the seat nearest the Captain's chair, in which he usually sat, empty apparently for Seven. He had two padds in front of him and when they had sat down he handed a padd to both of them. Janeway raised an eyebrow at him, as the rest of the senior officers especially Chakotay were quite curious as to what was going on. Only B'Elanna had an idea of what was going on and she had adamantly insisted that the Captain be the one to brief everyone.

"I have restricted access to these documents to your command code Captain until you have time to review the information I have found and come to a decision about it," Tuvok stated as he handed the padds over.

Janeway replied, "Good thinking, Seven and I will look these over after the briefing and come to a decision about them. Now, to fill everyone in on the cause of the spatial and temporal distortion that was detected early this morning at 0345 hours. The location of the distortion was Seven's quarters, undoubtedly Mulara was the cause of the distortion which sent Seven to mid ninth century Norway for several hours."

She paused and then continued, "Seven believed she was dreaming as she has experienced very vivid dreams ever since her... death on Mularan." Janeway paused and looked curiously at B'Elanna who had straightened up with a thoughtful look on her face. "You have something to add Lt. Torres?"

"I believe I know why Seven was certain she was dreaming. Mulara sent her there to hear a certain statement. Seven would not have knowingly broken the Temporal Prime Directive, but in order to hear what she did she had to break it. I believe that Mulara influenced her to believe it was a dream so that she would tell her story instead of either remaining silent or making something up," said B'Elanna.

Seven nodded, "The thought had crossed my mind as well Lt. Torres. I do not understand now why it did not occur to me to consider the possibility that it was real given some of the events. I do not remember even once thinking it was anything but a dream at the time."

Janeway nodded, "I suspect you are right." She went on to give a brief explanation of what had occurred during Seven's trip to the past. If anyone thought it curious that the Captain was the one telling the tale instead of Seven they did not mention it during the brief. When Janeway revealed that Seven had told her life story to the gathering at the feast hall eyes widened but still no one dared to interrupt the Captain.

By this time Chakotay was looking back and forth between the two wondering why exactly the Captain was protecting Seven from questioning by giving the brief herself.

Finally Janeway related to them the statement that Seven had apparently been taken to the past to hear. That she was one of the drones designated as a possible Queen and it was not likely that the Borg would quit trying to reclaim her.

"How high a priority would the Collective place on reclaiming you Seven?" asked Chakotay.

Seven frowned slightly, "I cannot say, Commander. No designated drone has ever escaped the Collective. I do not believe it would be a high priority task though. It is likely that the Borg would only attempt to reclaim me if I came into close proximity of a Borg ship."

Janeway broke in, "We can discuss the implications of this later after Seven and I have reviewed the data Lt. Cmdr Tuvok located. Now, lets move on to the departmental briefs."

Chakotay, Paris and Kim stared for a moment at the Captain then looked back to their padds. Thirty minutes later after the departmental briefings were done Janeway dismissed the meeting after requesting Lt. Torres and the Doctor to keep the information they knew about the incident to themselves until further notice.

With that Janeway dismissed everyone but Seven, who accompanied her to the Captain's Ready Room. As they walked through the bridge area Janeway was heard to ask, "Would you be interested in breakfast Seven, I'm starving."

Seven smiled slightly, "Coffee perhaps and some Quara fruit would be nice."

Janeway crowed, "Ah ha, another convert, I knew you would like coffee," as they disappeared into the Ready Room leaving the officers on the bridge staring after them with expressions of surprise.

Seven watched as Kathryn replicated two coffees and the some fruit for the both of them. Before she could start reading her data padd Seven asked a question that had been puzzling her, "Captain why did you give the brief instead of me? I assumed that I would be the one giving the brief since I of course am more familiar with what occurred."

Kathryn said, "I wanted to make sure that certain questions were not asked until I had a chance to go over things with you. I know your briefs are very through and there are some things you told me about that I didn't want certain officers there to hear about. Your personal life does not need to be part of the ship's gossip."

Seven considered her words and realized that she had not informed Kathryn of the extensive research she had conducted into the topic of human sexual behavior and cultural expectations about that behavior. "I have conducted research as you suggested, including a through work by Uahae Aayhea, an Andorian researcher on human-nonhuman relationships written to assist the non-human with understanding human cultural beliefs and mannerisms relating to human sexual behavior. I believe I have a better understanding of what is considered private knowledge and what is considered public knowledge now. I would not have included any information about what Jorunn and I shared at the briefing. I understand it is considered part of my ‘personal life'."

Kathryn looked at her oddly for a moment then with a snort laughed quietly for a moment. Seven straightened wondering if she was laughing at her but Kathryn quickly explained, "I'm not laughing at you Annika, I'm laughing at myself. I used to hate it when my mother was overprotective of me, and yet here I am doing the exact same thing to you. I felt so helpless and angry when you were on Mularan knowing that I had failed you, I guess I've been overcompensating since you got back."

"You should not blame yourself Kathryn for what happened on Mulara, you did not have time to rescue me," said Seven.

Kathryn responded pensively, "Intellectually I know that Annika, I still feel as though I failed you."

Seven felt at a loss as to how to respond to Kathryn, finally getting up and moving to sit next to her and then taking one of the older woman's hands in her own. As Kathryn looked at her in surprise and smiled, Seven said, "I do not feel that you have failed me Kathryn.

"Thank you, Annika," said Kathryn.

The two were silent a moment then Kathryn gently pulled her hand free and picked up her padd and began to read. "Oh my," she immediately said.

"The title," commented Seven.

"Yes," responded Kathryn, "I guess I am your foster mother aren't I?"

"Do you mind?" asked Seven hesitantly.

"Everyone knowing that I think of you as my daughter? No, and it's better than some of the other rumors floating around," commented Kathryn.

"You are speaking of those that think we have an intimate relationship," Seven said calmly.

Kathryn looked at her in surprise, "I didn't know you had heard those, but yes. At least this will lay that fallacy to rest."

Seven finished reading the ‘Saga of Annika and her foster mother Kathryn Edwardsdottir' far quicker than Kathryn. The Vikings had obviously been much impressed with her description of Kathryn's actions. Seven waited patiently for Kathryn watching her intently to see what her reactions would be to some of the more heroically phased passages.

Seven was surprised when Kathryn didn't comment on any of the phrasing but looked up at her with sorrow in her eyes. "Oh Annika why didn't you tell me your father was on the Queen's ship," said Kathryn.

Seven flinched and looked away for a moment then said, "There was no time, and there was no other sound tactical choice but to destroy the Queen's ship."

"And afterwards? Why not tell me then Annika. We must have seemed so insensitive. Is that why you were still working that night?" asked Kathryn.

"I... I did not want to tell anyone," Seven said, "I am not certain he was present on the Queens ship when it exploded."

Kathryn looked at her penetratingly, "But you are almost certain, aren't you."

Seven glanced at her and nodded.

"What are you feeling Annika?" asked Kathryn. Seven stood up at the question and looked out the window at the stars streaking by with her arms crossed. Kathryn thought for a few moments that she would not answer her but finally she started speaking.

"He... they should have left after they had a year's worth of data. They knew what would happen if our vessel was detected, yet they stayed. Because of them I was... am Borg, I remember all those I assimilated... remember killing... men, women, children... because they were deemed unfit for assimilation. Seven had started pacing as the first few words and was now making angry passes across the Ready Room floor, her voice rising as she spoke. Then she stopped and turned and looked at Kathryn. "All because of their curiosity," said Seven in a low angry tone.

She paused and then started speaking again, "I do not know what I feel about his death. I am relieved he is no longer a drone that he is not assimilating others. I... I do not know what I would say to him if you had saved him from the Borg. He was my Papa... I... loved him... and yet... I was... I am still angry at him."

Kathryn got up and walked toward her and put an arm about her waist and hugged her, "I can see why you would feel that way. I've never asked if you could remember the things you did while you were a Borg, I guess I wanted to believe that you wouldn't clearly remember them. But I never asked... maybe because I didn't want to know that you did."

"There is a difference in the memories and the one's I have of events since I became an individual. They are... " Seven paused as she tried to find the words to explain, "I feel removed from them... I know that I was the person doing the action but they do not have the... clarity and focus of my memories of my time on Voyager."

The two stared out into space for a few moments silent then Kathryn sighed, "What do you think of releasing the Saga? I'm a bit embarrassed about how they portrayed me, but I'm more concerned about you being comfortable with the crew reading it. I don't know how many have ever considered events from your perspective, and I don't know how you feel about them knowing about your father's death."

Seven said, "I am uncertain, perhaps it would be useful to get the opinion of others, perhaps Lt. Cmdr Tuvok and Lt. Torres."

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Lt. Cmdr Tuvok had stated two main reasons to release the Saga, the first was that the Saga was public information; the second was that he thought it might be beneficial for the crew to know what Seven's view of events had been.

B'Elanna had been honored that Seven had wanted her opinion on whether or not to release what the Norse had written about her tale. Janeway had called her to her Ready Room to read the Saga while Seven took the opportunity to catch up with some work in Astrometics. She had thought it would be interesting to read something from Seven's perspective, and it had been. It had also been disturbing; she had not really considered the fact that Seven had essentially lost 12 years of her life while in the maturation chamber.

With a sense of shame she remembered the day that she had angrily asked Seven if she ever felt guilty about assimilating others, she had thought that Seven's reply of "guilt is irrelevant" indicated that Seven did not care about those she had assimilated. After Seven was found innocent on Mularan she had realized that Seven had been answering her question precisely and honestly. Guilt was irrelevant when you had no free will; it was rather like asking a weapon if it felt guilty over being used to kill someone.

What she hadn't realized until now was that Seven did have strong feelings over being used in such a manner, the Saga made it clear that she felt anger and remorse and B'Elanna suspected a strong sense of helplessness over her past. B'Elanna had never really equated being assimilated with being enslaved, but the Vikings had interpreted what she had said with a sorcery that enslaved both body and mind. After considering it B'Elanna thought that perhaps they had come closer to the truth than her more technical understanding of the process.

B'Elanna had always thought the Borg had broken the alliance just like Chakotay had predicted they would when Seven had tried to assimilate the ship. What she found interesting from the Saga was that from what Seven related, the Borg had not been breaking the alliance at that point. There had been no alliance in the Borg's viewpoint, Chakotay had already broken it and Janeway's actions in helping the Borg while in fluidic space were, she thought, deemed ‘irrelevant.'

B'Elanna had always held it against Seven that she hadn't been more grateful when they had freed her from the collective. That she hadn't made more of an effort to fit into the crew. She had blamed her for trying to contact the Borg right after they had freed her from the Collective. B'Elanna had never considered that Seven had not seen herself as rescued at all, from what B'Elanna had read kidnapped would be more accurately how Seven had seen their actions. Kidnapped and forced to try to fit into what she had obviously seen as a chaotic and confusing group of people who made no effort to understand her except for Captain Janeway... and Harry, B'Elanna added.

"Finally Annika came to cherish herself as an individual and to understand why those around her thought so highly of it. Yet she did not feel welcomed by the crewmates of her ship, though she risked her life no less than they did in battle they would not accept her, not seeing past her mannerisms and way of speaking that were foreign to them.

The room was still as she spoke, her face calm as befitting a warrior but in her voice and eyes everyone could see the pain and loneliness of the beautiful shield maiden. The Earls daughter Jorunn seeing her pain came and sat down beside her and comforted her, as did Altea the Earls cousin. Her pain eased she once again began speaking. ... "

B'Elanna knew something about that passage bothered her, suddenly she realized what it was. Both she and the Captain had been surprised when Seven had told them that she had not been uncomfortable with Jorunn touching her. And the passage made it clear that not only had Jorunn reached out but Altea had as well, and had comforted Seven as she told the gathering about how difficult things had been for her aboard Voyager. Which meant that two women who barely knew Seven had reached out to offer comfort even through Sevens aloof shell, and no one aboard Voyager had ever tried to do the same that B'Elanna knew of.

‘Sometimes', B'Elanna thought to herself, ‘I wonder why Seven helps us as much as she does, why is she willing to risk her life for people who treat her so badly.' A bitter bile taste arose in the back of her mouth as she contemplated this and she closed her eyes for a moment then shook her head and went on reading.

B'Elanna was surprised when she read that the Queen had brought the drone of Seven's father out to try and persuade her to rejoin the Borg. Seven had apparently called him Papa when she recognized him and then upon seeing the lack of reaction or emotion in his face had become even more resolved to keep resisting the Queen's attempts to turn her loyalties back to the Borg. ‘Something even I could have predicted,' thought B'Elanna, ‘Not a particularly smart move Borg Queen.'

Even through the dour mood she was in B'Elanna had to chuckle at the description of Kathryn Edwardsdottir's daring rescue of Annika and her courageous and brave lone confrontation of the Queen. Much was made of Janeway's willingness to risk death rather than let Annika be enslaved again, and also of Annika's acceptance of death being preferable to being made a slave once more.

B'Elanna was almost smiling by the time she read of Voyagers victory over the Queens ship, she remembered the relief when they had successfully collapsed the transwarp conduit and then the elation when the several Borg signatures from the collapsed conduit had turned out to be the fragments of the Queens ship. Suddenly the next sentence wiped the smile from her face as she made a connection that she had missed... Seven's father, they had killed him.

"Shield maiden you seem to never have any blessings that do not come with a great sorrow. Spoke Earl Eric Haroldson... ."

B'Elanna sighed as she realized how true these words were, why hadn't Seven told them that her father had been on the Queen's ship? She had appeared more icily Borg than ever right afterward and B'Elanna had just put it down to her being exposed to the Borg and picking back up old habits. Now she realized that Seven had been dealing in silence with her father's death while they had been celebrating their victory over the Queen.

B'Elanna read the rest of the story as she tried to sort out the thoughts and feelings that had arisen. The remainder of the story she was familiar with, the events on Mularan, and the revelation that Seven was one of the designated drones.

B'Elanna finished reading the Saga and pondered, she was once again angry with herself for how she had treated Seven. Before she felt ashamed because she had failed to realize that Seven was not an adult and that she hadn't responded in a more mature manner. Now she felt ashamed because they had taken a frightened unwilling woman from the Borg and then failed to give her the kindness and understanding she needed to feel accepted and welcome among them.

B'Elanna sighed and then dropped her forehead into her cupped hands as she rested her elbows on her thighs and tried to think of what to say to Seven about whether releasing the Saga was a good idea or not.

"B'Elanna are you in pain?" asked Seven as she walked into the Ready Room and saw the Chief Engineer with her forehead cupped in her hands. B'Elanna jerked upward and looked at her with an expression Seven didn't quite recognize.

"Seven," B'Elanna said, "I... I wanted to tell you how sorry I am for how I treated you. I should have apologized days ago when you first came back on board but I was a coward and didn't want to bring up the past when we seemed to be getting along so well. I should have stopped the gossiping about you, it's my fault that the engineering crew told the Mularans about you." B'Elanna stood and turned staring out the window and wrapped her arms around herself and whispered, "It's my fault they thought they could take you and kill you."

Seven pondered B'Elanna's words and asked, "You told them to share the information with the Mularans?"

B'Elanna turned around and with a spark of anger, "No! Of course not. I meant that I didn't stop the gossiping and the way they treated you. I... I just saw that they were standing up for me; I didn't realize how much it hurt you. Or maybe I just didn't want to see what I was doing... " B'Elanna turned back toward the window at the last statement.

Seven watched the reflection of her face in the window for a moment and asked, "Why did you want to hurt me B'Elanna?" B'Elanna's form jerked and her eyes met Seven's in the reflection. Suddenly Seven thought she recognized what emotion was in them... pain, just before B'Elanna tore her eyes away.

"I... Damn it Seven don't you ever want to lash out at us?" said B'Elanna as she turned suddenly and looked into Seven's concerned face.

Seven considered the words and came to a realization, "How have I hurt you B'Elanna?" Seven felt a heaviness in her chest and said in a low voice, "I hurt you when I provoked you," Seven answered her own question, "I apologize."

B'Elanna looked into Seven's face and could only see honest regret there and sighed, she could not let Seven continue to believe that it was all her fault. "Seven sometimes you did hurt me when you were rude to me, but mostly I lashed out at you because I was so jealous of you. Of how smart you were, how beautiful, and because I felt you had taken my place with the Captain. None of which is your fault, Seven, I have dishonored myself by how I acted. I can only try and make it up to you."

Something flickered in Seven's eyes before she said, "You are only willing to be around me because you feel guilty."

B'Elanna noticed how she made it a statement and rushed to correct her, "No Seven, well maybe at first, but not now. Seven, you've let me see more of who you are in the past two days than I saw the past... what almost two years now? And I like the person I'm getting to know, I just wish I had known who was behind all that Borg shielding before." B'Elanna made sure that Seven was listening to her before continuing, "I want to get to know who Seven is... I would like to be her friend... if she will let me."

Seven found the third person phrasing odd but understood that B'Elanna was asking her if she would allow her to be her friend, "I will let you." Seven hesitated and then continued, "B'Elanna, I do not understand why you are jealous of me, you are as smart as I am, and as beautiful. And the Captain does care about you."

"You think I'm smart?" asked B'Elanna, looking at Seven wonderingly.

Seven took a few strides through the room closer to her and answered, "Yes, your ability to come to the correct conclusion without going through a linear thought process is... remarkable. I must work through problems logically to reach a conclusion, you often do not. It is an ability I wish I could emulate."

B'Elanna smiled, "It's usually called intuition. You've always impressed me by your ability to make logical sense of data that at first look is bewildering. While I'm trying to make heads or tails out of it, you've already analyzed it and come up with an explanation and answer. You know, now that we are going to be friends, maybe we could work on things together more often. I bet we would make a great team."

Seven smiled, a full happy smile instead of one of the slight ones she usually used, "I would like that."

B'Elanna could swear she felt her hearts pause for a moment then start again at a quicker pace at the openly pleased expression on Seven's face. She only realized that she was staring at Seven in wonder when the smile disappeared and Seven looked at her uncertainly. B'Elanna said, "Sorry for staring Seven, I've never seen you smile like that before it surprised me, you look... different when you smile."

Seven tilted her head to the side and said; "Jorunn said I looked more beautiful when I smiled."

B'Elanna stilled for a moment, "She did? Well... I would have to agree with her. It sounds like you two got along well during your time there." B'Elanna knew she was fishing for information, something was informing her that this Jorunn seemed entirely too flattering and friendly for her liking.

Seven nodded, "I believe we were friends before I left, I know I shall miss her." Seven stared pensively at the window before noticing B'Elanna's slight frown. Seven stared curiously at her wondering what was bothering her new friend.

B'Elanna stared at Seven trying to read the emotions playing across the normally controlled face. The sad expression on Seven's face when she said that she would miss Jorunn triggered a reaction that B'Elanna was ashamed of when she recognized it. Jealousy, she was jealous of this Jorunn woman who had comforted Seven and had won her friendship within a few hours of meeting her. B'Elanna noticed Seven looking at her curiously and weakly offered, "Well, you do have one friend here, remember."

Seven's mouth twitched and she replied, "Yes, but I do not think you will be offering to hold me while I sleep tonight B'Elanna. Or giving me lessons on how to kiss." Seven's eyes twinkled merrily as she watched B'Elanna's jaw drop, her pensiveness gone for right now.

B'Elanna stared at Seven in shock, "She tried to seduce you!" she stated, feeling a building anger. At what she wasn't certain, at Jorunn for taking advantage of Seven's innocence, at Jorunn for doing what B'Elanna wished she was free to, or at Seven for accepting another woman's advances.

Seven frowned at B'Elanna catching the anger in her tone, "Yes, she did. It was quite enjoyable. Why are you angry?"

B'Elanna sputtered, "Because she took advantage of you Seven, she ... "

"Did not do anything to me that I objected to," interrupted Seven.

B'Elanna realized belatedly that she was standing there opening and closing her mouth trying to find a way to respond to Seven's statement without betraying herself and snapped her mouth shut angrily. ‘It's not as if you have a right to say anything B'Elanna' whispered her conscious ‘you're the one who decided to ignore your attraction to her and stay with Tom, what right do you have to object just because someone else didn't?' B'Elanna ruefully acknowledged the truth of her thoughts; she didn't have any right to get angry with Seven for accepting the advances of another at all.

"I have had several members of Voyagers crew attempt to initiate physical intimacy with me, B'Elanna, and I had no difficulty refusing them. I made the decision to allow Jorunn to continue, indeed it would be difficult for anyone to ‘take advantage of me' as you stated, if I did not allow it," stated Seven.

B'Elanna held up her hands in a gesture of surrender, "Ok, ok... I get the message. Your perfectly capable of taking care of yourself." B'Elanna decided it was time for a tactical change of subject, "So I guess you want my opinion about releasing this Saga."

Seven was confused by B'Elanna's reaction to her words; she had intended to amuse the other woman but instead had apparently upset her. Perhaps B'Elanna like Kathryn was in an overprotective mode, Seven thought. "Yes," said Seven simply.

B'Elanna looked directly at Seven for a moment, "I think you should. I think it would help a lot of people see who you actually are, and I'm sorry about your father. Why didn't you let us know?" B'Elanna was stunned by the emotions that ran across Seven's face when she mentioned her father, anger, sadness and then a look of weariness.

"I do not want to discuss my father," said Seven stiffly, shifting and fighting to not slip into her old Borg stance.

B'Elanna noted how Seven started to stand with her hands behind her back and caught herself, instead choosing to cross them over her chest. She hadn't really considered what Seven thought of her parents, even though she had heard through the grapevine that Seven had made some harsh comments when she had read their journals awhile back. B'Elanna hadn't really thought about it then, but now after reading the Saga she stared at Seven and considered how the other woman felt about her parents. Parents that, as the Saga put it, took their young daughter along with them on a spying mission.

B'Elanna smiled without any humor and said, "I've always been mad at my father for leaving me when I was a child; I guess you wish yours had left you."

Seven looked at B'Elanna somewhat perplexed by her statement.

"My father left my mother and I because he could no longer stand living with two Klingons when I was a child. Your father took you with him to study the Borg and got you assimilated," said B'Elanna.

"You are asking whether I wish that my parents had left me behind instead of taking me with them," said Seven. She was quiet for awhile, her face both pensive and bitter before she finally said, "I do not know, three weeks ago perhaps I would have said yes. Now though I am unsure if I would trade my life for a different one."

"My father sent me messages while I was at the Academy," said B'Elanna. "I never responded, I didn't know what I would say to him so I just didn't." B'Elanna was aware of Seven's sharp gaze on her as she continued, "Some days I think that if I were to meet him I would want to beat him, other days... I don't know ask him why he couldn't love me I guess." B'Elanna felt tears threatening but she continued, "Now of course I probably won't ever have to worry what I would do if I meet him, because he's likely to be dead by the time we get back. And sometimes I'm relieved that I won't have to figure it out." B'Elanna looked into Seven's eyes and saw understanding there.

Seven nodded not trusting her voice and breathed deeply a few times before saying, "When what remained of the Queen's ship exited from the transwarp conduit, I did not feel anything though I was certain he was dead. Since then I have experienced feelings of anger, sorrow, remorse... love. Sometimes I am also relieved that I will never have to face my father and ask him why."

The two women looked at each other, both knowing that this was something that they could safely share with each other that few others on the ship would be able to understand. B'Elanna noticed that Seven had lost her fight to hold in her tears and impulsively she walked over and wrapped her arms around Seven who after a startled second returned the embrace. B'Elanna felt Seven rest her head against her shoulder and closed her eyes, feeling her own tears slip down her face.
 
 
 

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