By: Jennica Williams
Disclaimor: Paramount owns the episode, "Drone," which this story directly follows.
*Note: I highly suggest you have seen the ep, or have read a good spoiler. This mainly "ties up" some loose ends I didn't like to see left.
Captain Janeway leaned back in the chair at her console. She was still feeling lonely. Chakotay's forcing her to retake her captainship hadn't done much for her. Sure, she had more work so she wasn't allotted as much time to daydream and feel sorry for herself, but it didn't change the fact that, although her crew wanted her to be captain and join them, she still felt uncomfortable doing it.
Standing, she meandered over to her view port and leaned her forehead against it. Below her, millions of stars streaked past as Voyager flew by at warp seven. They were once again on a course set for home, but the woman in the captain wondered if they'd ever make it. The crew was capable enough, but was the ship?
After the last escapade concerning the Borg and the 29th Borg, Janeway knew that One was right. The Borg would hunt them down until they realized that One had in fact died. And she had her doubts if the crew could survive another attack by the Borg spheres. The cubes hadn't been nearly as advanced as the spheres. They must have assimilated a new species, Janeway deduced in anger.
Her voice was strong. Steady. It gave no hint of the emotions and turmoil coursing through her body. All the long years in Starfleet were paying off. But as Chakotay stepped into the room she wasn't sure she wanted to hide behind her 'captain's mask,' as the crew called it, any more.
"Can I help you?" she asked still facing the window. She knew who it was. His footsteps were muffled against the carpet, but she could still feel the strength as it slightly shook the deck.
"No." Chakotay's voice was low in anger.
"What's wrong?" Kathryn turned to face him fully.
"You." He nearly growled pushing aside a picture of them on New Earth so he could sit on her desk. "Seven hasn't left her cargo bay in twenty hours and you've not even paid her a visit yet. She's depressed, Kathryn."
"I'm sorry." Kathryn sank onto the couch and buried her head in her hands. "I know I haven't done my duty." She moaned, "But I've been upset myself here."
"It's no excuse." Chakotay snapped coldly. "One was Seven's student. Practically her son. You're Seven's mentor. For goodness sakes! The crew calls you her mother!"
Kathryn's eyes grew wide at Chakotay's tone of voice.
He took a deep breath in an attempt to soften his temper, "I'm sorry, Kathryn. I guess the stress is getting to us all. I never thought I'd have to deal with the affects of a Borg drone's death on our crew."
"Are they upset as well?"
A sigh escaped his lips. "Some are. Neelix is. He took a liking to One for a reason. Ensign Mokai refuses to admit he was attached to the drone, but he's been walking around with a distracted look. B'Elanna told me he reported for duty this morning."
"What's strange about that?"
"He's got two days off and usually tries to leave early and arrive late." Chakotay chuckled. "One of our 'misfit' Maquis, I'm afraid. It was all I could do to get him to finish a job before leaving it while we were in the Alpha Quadrant." He picked up the picture of them and turned it over in his hands. "Anyways, the point is that you need to talk to Seven. As her mentor. Maybe even as a parental figure. You're the only one she's ever known."
"Her mother." Janeway chuckled. "Well, if I'm her mother, then who does the crew claim is-" she cut herself off short and stared at her first officer. "Nevermind. Don't even finish that thought."
Chakotay laughed out right at her. "They do." He informed her. "But since I refused to accept her at the beginning, they refer to you in the parental roll more than me."
"Well, is that supposed to be a relief?" Janeway sighed audibly as she stood up to leave the ready room. "I guess I'd better go talk to her."
Chakotay caught her by the arm and turned her to face him. "You're still upset about the Ocampa and the vortex, aren't you?"
She looked away in an effort to evade his keen mind.
Chakotay shook his head with a soft whisper. "It's not your fault, Kathryn. I know that as many times as I or anyone else tells you, you'll still believe it. So, just promise me one thing."
"You'll come to me when you need to talk. When. Not if."
"No. You told me what had caused the depression you sank into." Chakotay leaned a slight bit closer to her. "I want you to tell me exactly what you're feeling. Exactly what's going through your mind and heart."
Kathryn peered up at him. In his eyes, she saw only the caring and love of a dear friend. Nodding once, slowly, she clasped her hand on his sleeve. "I'll talk to you, Chakotay. When I'm ready."
Her heels clicked on the hard surface of Cargo Bay 2 as she stepped through the doors and made her way to the woman standing before a mirror.
The former Borg turned, startled. "I am sorry, Captain. I failed to hear your approach."
"Lost in thought." Janeway smiled taking a step forward.
"Lost in thought?"
"You were thinking about something so hard you were unaware of the world around you."
"Oh." Seven looked down to ponder the new phrase. "Yes, I suppose I was 'lost in thought'."
Janeway leaned against a tote and folded her hands on it. "How are you doing, Seven? How are you really doing?"
"I will adapt."
"That's not what I asked."
"It's what he told me just before....." Seven hesitated and bit her lip. Signs of tears were beginning to shine in her eyes.
Kathryn moved from her position to slip an arm around the blonde's shoulders. "It's okay to cry. That's part of what makes us human, our feelings and emotions."
Seven shook her head furiously. "I am borg." She stammered.
"You were borg." Janeway placed her hands on Seven's shoulders and eyed her sternly. "He was your student. Your son. You must allow yourself to grieve for him. You need to cry and allow your emotions to flow out."
Seven took a deep breath and lifted her chin slightly. "I am borg. I am not required to grieve at the loss of one drone."
Janeway took a step back, unsure of how to deal with this young woman. "Give me your hand." She instructed, knowing what she was about to do would get her court marshaled in the Alpha Quadrant. Seven's emotional state was more important right now-- Starfleet could take a long walk out of a short airlock for all she cared.
Seven, a curious frown crossing her features extended her hand which was still laced with Borg implants.
"The other one." Taking the hand in her own, Janeway turned it palm down and carefully pinched the skin on the back of her hand.
The small action, combined with the emotions whirling through Seven were enough to provoke a torrent of tears to spring forth.
"What was that for?!" Seven exclaimed yanking her hand away.
"That." Janeway slid an arm around Seven and led her to the steps as she cried.
For what seemed like hours Seven sat with her head in her arms which were propped on her knees and for the first time in her life allowed real tears to flow from her eyes. Taking in huge gulps of air, she raised her red rimmed eyes several times and made an effort to speak. Each time, she returned to her arms again.
In reality, it was only about twenty minutes or so, Janeway calculated, before Seven rose her face and was finally able to speak coherently.
"I....he's....he was like....--"
"Your son?" Janeway asked carefully.
"Yes." Seven whispered staring across the cargo bay. "In essence, he was my son. He was created with my nanoprobes."
"You're who taught him." Kathryn added. "You're the one he considered a mother."
"Yes." Seven continued to stare across the room as though she could see something Janeway couldn't. "He was one of my own kind. He was Borg. But,...he wasn't. He was..."
"Precisely. An individual."
For a long moment, Seven was quiet.
Janeway took that time to look around Seven's 'quarters'. They really needed to do something about them. She had been living in cargo bay 2 for over a year now. Her body was adjusting, and soon, Janeway thought she may be able to sleep instead of regenerate.
"Why wouldn't you terminate the drone when he was still in the fetal stage? It would have been safer for the crew and ship, as well as have spared me from an....emotional response."
Janeway turned sharply. Taking a deep breath, she plunged forward with both eyes closed. "It is the belief of Starfleet, and myself, that someone is not to hurt a person who is defenseless. The child in the maturation chamber was quite defenseless. Also, I thought that perhaps this one could be raised as a human. With human standards and a bit of compassion thrown in he would have the chance to form a life of his own." Kathryn touched Seven's arm briefly. "As you did when you were pulled from the Collective."
Seven nodded. "I see the logic in your decision. But, it was a great risk to Voyager."
"Yes, it was." Janeway folded her hands together. "But, I believed it was a risk worth taking. I still believe it was. Even now, other cultures hate each other and try to fight them. Look at the Romulans and Vulcans. They fought for hundreds of years."
"I have assimilated that knowledge from the database, but I fail to see how it relates."
"Sometimes Seven, people hate what they can't understand. They lash out and kill the innocent because they don't understand them. Sometimes though, the innocent can be a bridge. As was the case with One. If the Borg had given us the opportunity, he could have been a bridge. Maybe..." Janeway eyes took on a far away look for a moment. "Maybe the Borg now know that we allowed him to live and didn't kill him."
"It will not deter them from assimilating us if they so choose."
"Maybe not." Janeway turned back to Seven. "But, it has given us insight to them- shown us that a drone raised outside the collective is malleable just as we are."
Seven stared straight ahead again. "I would still prefer that you had terminated the child as opposed to allowing him to live."
"You'll feel like that for a little bit." Kathryn said giving Seven a sideways hug. "But, you'll change your mind as you begin to remember all the good things you did get the opportunity to share."
Seven didn't say anything for a long moment. "I wish to be alone now."
Janeway nodded slowly. Standing up, she cast a glance back at Seven. "If you need to talk to me, you know where to find me."
Seven nodded briefly as Janeway left her alone in Cargo Bay 2. Alone, Seven thought to herself. Truly alone again.
She had to admit, she had enjoyed having a Borg drone on board to teach, to nurture. Something inside of her had screamed to be let out and to allow her to....what was the word? Love? No. That was what a man felt towards a woman. Something akin to love, just as strong, but not a romance. She had not wanted a romance with the child. She simply had wanted to nurture it and be his.....mother.
Seven let a small sigh escape from her lips. She would not have that chance. Standing, she returned to the tote where Janeway had found her. Pulling the piece of glass towards her, she attempted to smile at it again.
If she didn't' learn how to socialize, she would be alone for the rest of her life. And she, even after resisting the crew for almost a year, didn't see how anyone could deal with that. She was beginning to observe that people needed people. In this case, resistance was most certainly futile.
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