RHYTHM COLLECTIVE

by Joseph Anderson
jander5988@aol.com

All characters and situations from the TV show Star Trek: Voyager belong to Paramount. No copyright infringement is intended with this fan fiction which may not be sold, may be copied for personal use only, and must contain all notices of copyright.

There are references to the song, Rhythm Nation and its video by Janet Jackson. No copyright infringement is intended.


Tom Paris and B'Elanna Torres caught sight of Harry Kim.

"Harry, we haven't seen you in a while. Still holing up (excuse the pun) with Seven of Nine?" Tom asked, and then said "OWW!" as B'Elanna hit his arm, hard.

Harry smiled, "Hey, Tom, B'Elanna...actually, no. I haven't seen much of her lately. She's been working on a program in the holodeck. That's where I was going right now, in fact, for the big unveiling. Why don't you come along?"

B'Elanna and Tom looked at each other. "I dunno if that's such a good idea, Harry," B'Elanna said. "It might be something personal between you two."

Tom nodded. "I second that. You go and enjoy yourself, Harry."

Harry shook his head smiling. "It's not some wild sex holoprogram.r="+'s already told me that. And she also said she wanted you two to see it. She likes you. You might not see it, but I do."

"Okay, Harry. You talked us into it" Tom said, then added, "or me anyway," when he saw the look on B'Elanna's face.

"I'm in," the half-Klingon said. "There better not be any green Orion slave girls is all I can say though."

They reached the holodeck where Harry punched a code in and they entered. Seven of Nine was standing in the center of the room. There was nothing running yet and it was simply a large room with grid lines on the floor, walls and ceiling.

"I am glad you brought your friends, Harry," she said unemotionally.

"We're your friends, too," Tom said smiling. The Borg looked at him without expression. Since she had had most of her Borg implants removed and was made to look more human, Tom and almost every other male on the ship had a hard time not staring at her. She was spectacular.

B'Elanna smiled at the Borg and wanted to punch Tom again. Human males never realized how obvious they were. She thought Seven of Nine was lucky she'd gotten to know Harry before her appearance changed. He wasn't just with her for her looks and she might never have that again. B'Elanna said, "Can we see this program, Seven of Nine?"

"Certainly, B'Elanna Torres," she said.

"Just B'Elanna."

"All right...B'Elanna."

The lights suddenly went out and Harry, Tom and B'Elanna all felt as if they were floating freely in space, though the constellations did not seem familiar to them. That wasn't what they were really looking at though. There was a Borg cube in front of them and they were being pulled toward it as if by a mild tractor beam. They were all glad they knew this was just a holodeck program. It wasn't clear to any of them which was scarier; just finding yourself in space without a suit or seeing a Borg cube without warning.

A door opened in the cube and they floated inside and felt gravity again as the door shut behind them. All their instincts said to grab weapons, start firing and try to get back to Voyager. This was some program so far; not fun exactly but exciting, that was for sure. Inside it looked like they knew it should; dark and menacing, with cables running everywhere, banks of technology, soft instrument lights, and a wide open space surrounded on all sides by several levels of catwalks with Borg regenerating in their alcoves. They had all studied the Federation's encounters with the Borg and it was as lethal a scene as a Starfleet officer could imagine.

They heard a gonglike bell begin ringing--odd---and echoing sounds they couldn't identify, then the familiar frightening sound of the collective, many voices intoning together.

We are a nation with no geographic boundaries, bound together through our collective mind. We are the Borg, like-minded drones sharing a common vision, pushing towards a universe rid of species-lines. Resistance is futile.

Then deep individual voices called from various positions, five, four, three, two, one.

B'Elanna, Tom and Harry all jumped as the cavernous ship suddenly exploded in sound and the Borg regenerating in their alcoves all stepped out onto the catwalks. Loud complex rhythmic music was playing over a steady bass beat. They saw a catwalk emerge from a back wall into the center of the open interior. On it were several Borg on either side of Seven of Nine, who wore a small hat of some sort--black with a visor extending in front. She and all of the other Borg were moving to the music, dancing energetically. They were all wearing kneepads.

"This isn't something you see everyday," Tom said. B'Elanna just nodded, speechless. They could barely keep from moving themselves, the music was so infectious. Seven of Nine was singing, but with someone else's voice; they couldn't catch all the lyrics, but those they heard raised some interesting issues.

With music by our side
To break the species lines
Let's work together
To improve our way of life...
A generation full of courage
Come forth with me

B'Elanna realized the image the Borg had of themselves might be far different than anyone in the Federation thought.

Species of the cosmos unite
Strength in numbers we can get it right

Seven of Nine and the rest of the Borg were moving in a lockstepped fashion that was graceful and mechanical at the same time. B'Ellana caught the anthem-like chorus several times:

We are a part of the rhythm nation

Following the chorus the music would reach a climax and the dancing become more complex. Seven of Nine had led her backup dancers and singers off the center catwalk and was moving down the levels. All of the Borg were dancing, their synchronization as perfect as when they assimiliated species or destroyed star systems.

"Janet Jackson," Harry said.

"What?" Tom said.

Harry explained. "She's taken a Janet Jackson song from 20th century Earth and modified it. That's whose voice she's using. She's been studying Earth culture in all its phases. When she reached late 20th century Western popular dance music she practically blew what remaining Borg implants she has." The music was so loud he wasn't really interfering with it by talking. He continued, "She also likes Donna Summer and Kraftwerk, but she's mixed on Devo even though she sorta likes 'em. Seven of Nine says they're Toms."

"What about David Bowie?" B'Elanna asked. Tom looked at her, surprised. He had never heard of anyone they were talking about.

"She likes the Berlin stuff he did with Brian Eno," Harry answered. B'Elanna nodded.

This is the test
No struggle no progress
Lend a hand to help
Your brother do his best
Things are getting worse
We have to make them better
Let's work together come on

The music and dancing ended with a flourish and Seven of Nine walked over to them. She was still wearing the black baseball cap which they saw had a metallic emblem on it that might be a Borg cube. She also wore some kind of earpiece which extended around in front of her mouth. All of her dancers and backup singers had apparently returned to their regeneration alcoves or were just going about normal Borg tasks.

"Wonderful, Seven!" Harry said and kissed her. Her face was expressionless but Tom thought he saw something around her eyes like pleasure.

"I'll say, that was fantastic!" Tom enthused.

"You do not recognize the music or stylistic references. That does not ruin it for you?" Seven of Nine said.

"Absolutely not," Tom answered. He loved it; thought it was peculiar but genuinely loved it.

B'Elanna said, "I did recognize it. A fine piece of work, Seven of Nine."

The Borg looked calmly at her. "Thank you, B'Elanna. I am considering another project using Snoop Doggy Dog and the Dogg Pound. Would you consent to portraying a crack ho go-go dancer?"

The half-Klingon engineer stared at her. "Lemme think about that one."

The End

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