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I am Borg - Part 3 - Chapter 4

 
 
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  I am Borg - Part 3 - Chapter 4

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.

Warning: Contains f/f situations between women.

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.

Revision History: 12/02/04

Summary: Second dinner date, discussion of Warhead events.

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When the door opened B'Elanna looked at Seven in appreciation, the simple all white outfit contrasted nicely with the tan she had gotten from the special lights B'Elanna had installed over her bed, and made the blue of her eyes more noticeable. "You look wonderful Annika," B'Elanna said in approval.

Seven smiled, pleased that her choice of clothes had the desired effect, "Thank you, B'Elanna."

"Shall we go?" B'Elanna asked.

Seven nodded and the two of them proceeded to the Holodeck. B'Elanna typed in some commands and indicated that Seven should precede her. When the doors opened they stepped into an arid desert landscape, a small whitewashed and red clay roofed adobe building was located directly in front of them.

"I know it's not as scenic as the place you choose but I programmed this by myself; it's a little place I know of from my time at the Academy." B'Elanna paused for a moment looking around, "It's a place in southern California, a little mom and pop Mexican restaurant called The Good Burrito."

Seven looked at her puzzled by the description of the restaurant, "Mom and pop?"

B'Elanna nodded, "Term for a company run by a family, in the case of restaurants it usually means that the food, while it may not be very fancy, will usually be very good. Which is the case here, lets go in."

The interior of the restaurant was a blend of colorful floor tiles done in a mosaic of blue and green, round tables covered with white table cloths, yellow lacquered chairs and whitewashed walls covered with paintings that were hung close to one another. Seven stopped for a moment in the doorway, taken aback at the cacophony of colors and multitude of paintings that greeted her.

B'Elanna turned to see why she had paused and said defensively, "I know it's... different from what you're used to but you will get accustomed to the colors."

Seven's eyes jerked from their investigation of the multitude of paintings to B'Elanna's face, "I am sure I will. I was just examining the paintings." She indicated the walls around them, "There are a number of them to inspect."

"I couldn't remember much about them, only that there were a lot so I had the computer randomly pick painters of the right style and kept adding in paintings until it looked right," B'Elanna said looking around the room. "I asked one of the owners about them when I came here for the first time when I was at the academy, and she said that she bought them from the students at a local art college and wanted to display them all. She was worried that she would run out of wall space soon and might have to take some of the older one's down."

"Ah Paedro our guests for the evening have arrived!" exclaimed an older woman who had just appeared from the back of the restaurant. "As arranged the entire restaurant has been reserved just for you this evening," she said beaming at B'Elanna.

"Gracias Senora Mantego," replied B'Elanna.

"DeNada," the woman replied dismissively, but Seven could see the pleased look on her face, "And please call me Maria." She indicated the empty restaurant with a wave of her hand, "Please choose where you want to sit and I will get menus for you."

B'Elanna indicated one of the tables in the middle of the restaurant and gave Seven an inquisitive look, "Would this be ok Annika?"

Seven, who had been examining one of the paintings on the wall from a distance as B'Elanna had talked to the woman, quickly glanced at where B'Elanna was pointing and stifling a sense of disappointment that they would not be seated next to a wall nodded. B'Elanna stared at Seven for a moment with her head cocked to the side while Seven fidgeted slightly under the penetrating look.

"I never knew you liked art, well except for the painting of the Omega molecule," said B'Elanna, then turning to Maria she said, "We will sit by one of the walls so Annika can admire the paintings you have collected Maria."

Seven blushed slightly as she felt she should be concentrating on B'Elanna instead of the holo-program but was pleased that B'Elanna was facilitating her curiosity about the paintings the computer had chosen.

"Which one were you looking at Annika?" asked B'Elanna curiously, as she examined the area of the wall she thought Seven had been examining.

Seven walked over to a particular painting and B'Elanna followed, "This one." Seven indicated a painting of a nude woman with her back to the painter kneeling in front of a basket filled with impossibly large white flowers.

"Nude with Calla Lilies by Diego Rivera," B'Elanna leaned in to read the information tucked into a corner of the frame. "I doubt this is actually on the restaurant walls."

"What is the cultural significance of these flowers?" Seven asked B'Elanna looking around her. "They are depicted in several of the paintings."

B'Elanna looked at the white flower for a moment then had to admit, "I have no idea, they are in quite a few of them though, aren't they." She paused for a moment then turned to Maria who had been patiently waiting and looking pleased that they were admiring the paintings. "Maria do you know what the significance of the white flower in this painting is?"

"Claro, that is the calla lily often used in weddings because it symbolizes both beauty and innocence," Maria said.

B'Elanna glanced at Seven dressed all in white, her hair gleaming golden under the lights of the restaurant. She was still examining the painting and B'Elanna was struck by how much Seven resembled the calla lily she was looking at, ‘and not just physically' she thought to herself.

"Gracias," replied B'Elanna somewhat absently to Maria and then to Seven she said pointing to a table near the wall, "Will this do Annika?"

Seven nodded to B'Elanna and went to sit down at the indicated table. After they were both seated B'Elanna said, "I only remembered the one beverage I had here, a light beer that went well with the food, I think you would like it. And I would suggest having the sampler platter; it's a small serving of several different types of Mexican foods."

Seven eyed her curiously for a moment then nodded, "Acceptable, it seems an efficient manner in which to experience the cuisine."

"It is, I had it the first time I came here and it's been my favorite choice every time since." B'Elanna turned from Seven and directed her attention to Maria, "Maria we will have two of the house beers and two sampler platters."

Maria beamed at them, "I will return with your beers shortly." She left heading towards the bar and bellowed, "Pedro! Two sampler platters for our guests."

Dimly from the back came the reply, "Si, two sampler platters."

B'Elanna, her mind turning to the concerns of the day said "I've been looking at the sensor logs and Doc's readings of the damage to your systems and I believe I know how the sentient bomb created the feedback surge that hurt you Annika," said B'Elanna with an angry flexing of her jaw.

Seven who had turned to watch Maria, turned back to B'Elanna when she said this, "The weapon used a variation of the same method it used to destroy the trader's ship?" She asked curiously.

They had been working, both separately and together, trying to figure out exactly how the sentient weapon had destroyed the trader ship by sending a feedback surge through its transporter system and how it had incapacitated Seven when she attempted to interface with its command circuits. Now B'Elanna confirmed what they had suspected from their initial look at the data, "Yes it looks like basically the same type of response. Now to figure out if we can defend against it." B'Elanna looked soberly at Seven, "I want to develop a way to prevent or mitigate the effects of such an attack for both you and Voyager."

Seven quirked her brow at this and smirked slightly, "Agreed."

B'Elanna chuckled at Seven's comment, then more seriously commented "I don't want to see you helpless like that again." B'Elanna watched as Seven's face softened in response then glanced up and smiled at Maria as she returned with their beers and placed them in front of the two women.

As B'Elanna watched amused, Seven took a cautious sip of the light amber beverage and then with a surprised look said, "It is pleasant tasting."

Maria humphed, "Of course it is I brew it myself from an old family recipe. Amber, Carapilis and Crystal malts and Saaz hops."

B'Elanna and Seven regarded her blankly for a moment then glanced at each other in confusion.

"It tastes just as good as it always does," B'Elanna finally said in reply.

Maria beamed at B'Elanna in response and then bustled off towards the kitchen.

"Anyway," B'Elanna said after a final inquisitive look at her beer. "I don't see how we can really improve on your system's response. I mean we can't make your exoskeleton not conduct the feedback, its metal. Pretty much the only thing you can do to stop feedback once it's started is to install break points, and that's how you responded. We need to figure out a way to prevent the feedback from entering your system in the first place."

They both pondered the issue for a few moments silently, then finally Seven spoke up, "Unless we introduce an intermediary system between my implants and the system generating the feedback I see no way to prevent it."

"Which means we need to develop a system that duplicates the ability of your... well they used to be assimilation tubules but they aren't now... are they?" asked B'Elanna.

"I would have to consciously modify my nanoprobes to assimilate someone," Seven said with an expression of extreme distaste. "Perhaps interface tubules would be a more accurate term."

B'Elanna frowned, "Would any intermediary system have to deliver nanoprobes?"

"Not necessarily. For data gathering and interaction with another system, no, I do not need to deliver nanoprobes to accomplish that task. I use nanoprobes to change or modify existing systems," Seven answered.

B'Elanna frowned absently as she stared off into space, "So really what we need is a direct data connection that can interface with your exoskeleton." B'Elanna paused for a small while then continued, "Since we are talking about making something that would fit over your hand why not add it into the modifications we are planning for the ATIA." B'Elanna grinned as she spelled out the acronym.

Seven raised a questioning eyebrow.

"If we are completely redesigning the Stealth Combat Suit it deserves a new name," said B'Elanna.

"Advanced Tactical Infiltrator Armor?" guessed Seven after a few moments.

B'Elanna looked at Seven surprised, "How did you guess?"

"After running through some of the possible permutations that seemed the likely choice," answered Seven with a smile. "It is a suitable choice for a name."

"Does that translate into, ‘I like it?'"

"Yes B'Elanna, I like it," said Seven.

Maria walked out of the kitchen just then bearing a tray with two large platters heaped with an assortment of enchiladas, burritos, tacos, flautas, and taquitos. Beans and rice and sweet soft corn cake were placed in bowls on the side. After she had served the food Maria inquired if there was anything else they needed, and after being assured that there was not she left them alone again.

Seven stared wide eyed at the platter of food in front of her and then with curiosity at B'Elanna who had started chuckling.

"I'm sorry Annika, it's just the look on your face... you don't have to eat everything, just try one of every type and eat seconds of what you like. I'm certainly not planning on finishing everything on this plate!" B'Elanna waved her hand at the heaping platter for emphasis.

"I will proceed as you have suggested," said Seven with relief apparent in her voice. She picked up a taquito and gingerly bit into one end as B'Elanna watched. Regarding it curiously as she chewed, Seven waited until she had finished to comment, "Intriguing combination of flavors and textures between the crispness of the corn shell and the finely ground and spiced meat."

"I told you the food was good here," B'Elanna said smugly as she dug into her own food with enjoyment. B'Elanna found herself fascinated with watching the looks of surprise and pleasure that crossed Seven's face as she tried the various types of food on her plate, and congratulated herself with her choice of dinner locations.

Once her initial hunger had been sated, Seven started up the earlier conversation again. "You wish to design interrupt points in certain systems to prevent a feedback cascade failure of Voyager's systems?"

B'Elanna nodded thoughtfully, "At least for critical areas where it could severely damage or destroy the ship. We need to look at the transporter and tractor beam systems to see how we can prevent that specific type of attack. Then maybe consider what other systems might be vulnerable."

"The existing feedback control system diverts feedback into an energy absorbing device, however, it can be easily overwhelmed," said Seven. "The Borg had recently assimilated information about a superior energy absorbing material when I was last in contact with them. I believe we can synthesize this material and use it in our own systems, it should have four times the energy absorbing capacity of the current composite material being used."

"Four times?" said B'Elanna in surprise, "How did they manage that?"

"We will have to first duplicate the replication system species 2678 used to make the material. It requires a specific molecular matrix which was achieved by the use of a specialized replicator using that specific matrix instead of a standard general use molecular matrix," answered Seven.

B'Elanna absorbed the information then replied, "This molecular matrix pattern duplicates specific molecular energy states?"

Seven nodded, "Specific molecular energy states are required for maximum energy absorption."

"That's definitely not obtainable with a standard replicator," said B'Elanna. "I'd be surprised if the Captain says no to this when we submit a proposal since the energy absorption gain is so high."

They continued their engineering discussion through the rest of the meal, hammering out specifics and coming to an agreement about the engineering proposal they would present to Captain Janeway. Both of them looked up surprised when the computer announced the standard five-minute warning.

"Already?" B'Elanna asked in surprise. Then to Seven, "We still need to decide a few things, my quarter's or yours?"

"Mine," said Seven. "Captain Janeway sent over a reading list this afternoon, I believe we are supposed to study the first two chapters of ‘An Introduction to Command Philosophy' this evening as well."

B'Elanna's eyes glazed over, "Sounds like a good way to send myself to sleep. Where are we supposed to come up with the time to do all this?" she said in frustration.

Seven's face fell a little at this and she said stiffly, "You do not have to do the command training B'Elanna; I understand it is more difficult for you with your duties as Chief Engineer."

B'Elanna looked at Seven confused for a moment, then her face cleared, "Annika you have to learn to not take my complaining so seriously. I'll find the time to study because M'ara said it would help you... help us to succeed." B'Elanna paused then musingly said, "That's one thing that would probably be solved by you knowing my thoughts."

Seven's face had cleared at B'Elanna's first two sentences and B'Elanna's last comment drew an amused look and a raised brow from her but she did not choose to comment on the statement.

The computer chimed a one-minute warning at them, B'Elanna exited the program, and the two women left the Holodeck for Seven's quarters.

They went to Seven's quarters and spent another hour hammering out and writing the engineering proposal they would present at the morning's briefing. Once that was completed, they went over and discussed the Captain's reading assignment.

"As goes the Captain, so goes the ship," commented B'Elanna thoughtfully when she finished.

Seven looked at her inquiringly.

"The results of lead by example," said B'Elanna. "It's an old statement that expresses that the ship will reflect the ethics, personality and leadership style of its Captain."

"Though I have disagreed with her decisions occasionally, overall her decisions follow Starfleet guidelines and values." Seven paused thoughtfully, "There have been notable exceptions, her decision to ally with the Borg being one of them."

"Yea, I don't know what Starfleet will think of that. However, Species 8472 was threatening to kill all life forms in our galaxy. And besides it had its upside," said B'Elanna with a warm look at Seven.

Seven's cheeks picked up the slightest bit of color at this statement and a brief smile crossed her lips. "I am thankful she made that decision as well." Seven glanced at the chronometer and realized with regret how late it was getting. "We should stop studying and begin sleeping if we are to be prepared for tomorrow," Seven said with a sharp pang at the thought she would be sleeping alone once again instead of with the woman sitting across from her.

B'Elanna frowned, and then sighed deeply looking resigned, "Yea I should get back to my quarters." Her eyes flickered up to meet Seven's who could see her clench her fists for a moment when their eyes met. Seven was not certain what this meant until B'Elanna admitted, "It gets harder every time to leave you and go sleep alone. But I don't think we should be intimate until we are absolutely sure it's what we want." B'Elanna paused for a moment, "I'm not sure why M'ara would make me like you, but I trust her, there has to be a good reason for it."

Seven nodded her face serious. "Can I kiss you ‘good night' B'Elanna?" she said after a moment, looking wistfully at the other woman.

"I'd be unhappy if you didn't," replied B'Elanna with a relieved sounding sigh.

Seven crossed the room with three quick strides and cupped B'Elanna's face with her hands, bent and captured B'Elanna's lips with her own. Almost immediately the kiss deepened, mouths opening to let tongues touch, and both women groaned nearly in unison at the sensation. They kissed for several moments, then almost without thought, Seven slid her lips across to B'Elanna's cheek and opening her mouth gently raked her teeth across the other woman's cheek where months before the son of K'vok had bit her.

"Annika," growled B'Elanna, reacting to the almost mating bite.

Seven suddenly realizing what she was doing, jerked back from B'Elanna. "I... I...," Seven stammered, "I am sorry B'Elanna, I should not have done that."

"Don't apologize for wanting me, unless you didn't mean it," B'Elanna said in a voice that still held overtones of a growl.

"Then I don't apologize," said Seven in a low voice, looking directly at B'Elanna out of eyes that had darkened to stormy blue.

"You're not afraid to lose the privacy of your own mind anymore?" asked B'Elanna with what appeared to be a nervous moistening of her lips.

"Not to you," replied Seven with a grave, yet tender look.

"Annika," said B'Elanna in an obviously distressed tone, then she stopped apparently unable to say the rest of her sentence.

"You are still uncertain," Seven said gently and trailed a reassuring hand down the side of B'Elanna's face, trying to reassure B'Elanna that she was not upset.

B'Elanna leaned into the caress and sighed, "My actions still bother me, Annika. I know you've forgiven me for how I treated you in the past, but as we get closer it bothers me more that I ever did some of those things." B'Elanna pulled away from Seven and began pacing, "I mean I was called names when I was a kid, I can't believe I turned around and did the same thing to you. I always thought I was an honorable person, but now I wonder."

"B'Elanna," Seven said then stopped. Seven looked briefly frustrated then followed the pacing half-Klingon woman and snagged her in an embrace from behind. "I do not hold the past against you, but you must let it go as well. If you do not think you acted honorably in the past then decide to not repeat those actions."

B'Elanna snorted, "That would seem to be the logical answer wouldn't it." Her voice was hard but she leaned into Seven's embrace instead of struggling against it. After a few moments she said in a more normal tone, "I just can't seem to stop thinking about the things I said to you, the fact that I assumed you had gone back to the Borg willingly when the Queen threatened to assimilate Voyager if you didn't permit yourself to be taken on that away mission. I broke into your personal logs did Janeway tell you that? And when she confronted me about it all I said was that you were obviously never a part of this crew. How could I have been so blind about you?"

"Kathryn informed me a week after I had returned, I am glad that the designs in them helped you adapt Voyager so you could use the transwarp coils. If you had not done that I might be a drone now," replied Seven thoughtfully.

B'Elanna pulled away from Seven far enough to turn around in her arms and look up at her confused, "I thought she wanted you to keep your individuality?"

Seven nodded, "However, I was not cooperating as she wished and refused to assist her willingly with programming the nanovirus to assimilate humanity, the price of my refusal was to help her as a drone. If Captain Janeway had not contacted me at that time, I am certain I would have been re-assimilated."

Seven's voice was level but B'Elanna had grown sensitive to the minute expressions that told volumes about Seven's emotions. Now she recognized from the tenseness around Seven's mouth and eyes how disturbed she was just from relating the experience. It wasn't necessary to say that Janeway would have probably failed in the attempt to rescue Seven if she had been assimilated.

"I'm glad Janeway decided to go after you," said B'Elanna. "If it hadn't been for her instincts about you, the rest of us would have never realized what you did for us."

Seven sighed at this comment, then with a wry smile said, "Perhaps you knowing my thoughts would help you realize that you do not need to continue punishing yourself over past events."

A short bark of laughter greeted this effort, "You would learn to not take me so seriously and I would quit feeling so guilty. Perhaps that's why M'ara is enabling us to hear each other's thoughts."

"Perhaps," agreed Seven softly. Seven pulled B'Elanna closer and sighed in pleasure at the full body contact. "Stay tonight, I believe I will sleep better when you are next to me than I will wishing you were. And I will not kiss you in the morning," Seven said referring to the previous time they had slept together.

B'Elanna wavered uncertainly, though she had to smile at the comment, and the pleading look in Seven's eyes persuaded her, "Ok."

Seven replicated sleeping clothes in red and blue, just as they had slept in before. "I will go and change in the bathing room," Seven said to B'Elanna.

"I'll change in here," said B'Elanna with a slight smile, remembering when she had changed in front of Seven the time before.

After B'Elanna changed she slipped into Seven's bed and stared up at the lights on the ceiling noting that Seven was giving her plenty of time to change. Finally the lanky blonde entered the bedroom and slipped into the other side of the bed. Seven turned onto her side and looked uncertainly at B'Elanna, not sure if she should try and hold her. B'Elanna settled the issue by turning over and scooting backward until she rested in Seven's arms.

With a satisfied sigh, Seven wrapped her arms around B'Elanna and nuzzled her hair, breathing the scent of B'Elanna deeply. Within moments Seven's eyelashes fluttered and with her face buried in B'Elanna's hair she fell asleep.

B'Elanna did not fare so well, wrestling with both her desire and fear for another hour or so before she finally fell into an exhausted sleep.

***

B'Elanna looked around herself in confusion; she was no longer sleeping in Seven's bed but seemed to be in some type of chamber aboard a Borg cube. Drones in regeneration alcoves stood peacefully around her. Looking out the chamber, she saw Seven kneeling in front of some type of access panel.

B'Elanna breathed a sigh of relief and stepped forward only to wince back from a force field at the entrance. "Seven," she said loudly. Seven did not turn or even seem to hear her. "Annika!" B'Elanna said more loudly. Still Seven did not seem to hear her. A drone walking by the open door paused for a moment then turned and looked directly at Seven.

It started walking toward her obviously noticing what she was doing, "Seven!" B'Elanna shouted now not caring if the drones in the room noticed she was there or not. Still Seven did not turn, nor did she notice the drone approaching her. "Seven!" B'Elanna screamed and threw herself against the force field, frantic now to warn the other woman.

"No!" B'Elanna howled in despair as the drone pulled Seven up from where she was crouched; and in one smooth motion drove its assimilation tubules into her throat. Finally, Seven seemed to notice B'Elanna and her eyes stared despairingly into B'Elanna's seeming to ask why she hadn't warned her before they blanked over and her skin mottled.

 

 
 

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