21

Chapter five

I own know thing and I don't care.

Observation room deck five

The observation room was large but mostly empty. The only furniture was a large coach in the centre of the room and few chairs and small tables' doted around the room and a replicator built into the wall. The furniture faced a large window giving any visitor a spectacular view of space.

Kes looked wistful out the widow and into the void of space. She could just make out the realm beyond, realty. The one she had first sensed in her own quarters and again more clearly while in mediation with Tuvok. She could see how energy, matter, memory, thought, time, space, realty and so many other things all flowed in and out each other like the waters of some great river. She saw how they moved, she was being to understand how they flowed and weaved in around life to grow and flourish. A single planet or species didn't matter in the slightest, whole galaxies danced around each other, the whole of this realty as well as countless others were nothing but cells in the body compared to what she saw, to what she felt.

Kathryn looked to young friend she had grown so much in the three years she had been on Voyager. From that naive slave girl who wanted to leave her home behind to a loving friend a gild. Kes had always represented the best in the human spirit; even know she was not human. Now she looked at her young friend she couldn't help be see a stranger stand before her looking out into the void of space with a look of wonder and fulfilment filling her face, looking enraptured. "Kes" she said softly putting a hand on her friends shoulder to draw her addition away from the window screen "I won't you to know that the Doctor and I haven't giving up, we are going to find a way to help you just…" she tried of when Kes looked at her with knowing eyes as if she already knew where this conversation was going.

Kes smiled a sad smile and hugged her friend and captain. "Hold on?" she said with a sad shake of her head. "Oh Captain don't, waste your time there is nothing either you or the Doctor can do because there is nothing wrong with me." Kes said letting go of her friend and looked into her Captains amber eyes while holding Kathryn Janeway's tightly.

"But Kes you..." Janeway said before Kes put two fingers to her lips silence her protests.

Kes looked away from her friend and mentor and looked back to the stars. "Everyone thinks this is a disease or I'm been controlled by some other force but that's not true…" she said there was the slightest edge to her voice making it sharp for a moment just a moment her aspect became something else, something darker. Then the moment passed. "I'm become something greater than I am right now, this body is just a vessel. I now resize that this…" she said forming a ball of light in her hand. "This is what has been waiting for me my whole life"

Kathryn took an involuntarystep back "Kes you're started to scare me. I know this must be all very exciting for you. I also know how easy it is to loss ours self in our passions. What if whatever this is. Is not what you think it is" Janeway told her firmly but not unkindly. "Remember what happen in sick bay with Tuvok and Seven of Nine. You have to fight this Kes you have to hold on until we can figure it out and help you"

Anger flashed briefly in her glowing eyes "You just don't understand oh how I wish you could see what I see then you have no doubts why I have to go" Kes said her voice suddenly shape. She took a breath and smiled. "I appreciate everything you done for me. I love Voyager and everyone has helped me more times than I can count. Everyone has given me so many gifts. But I have to go…let me go" Kes told Janeway she saw the Captain was about to rebuke her. "Would you stop a caterpillar from turning into a butterfly?" She asked but before the Captain could reposed, her com badge beeped altering her to an income com line.

Kathryn gave Kes pleading look but all she got in return was her trademark smile and a distant look in her glowing light purple eyes. "This had better be good" janeway snapped at whoever was calling her.

"Sorry to intruded you Captain but" the unsure voice of Lieutenant Ayala came though the com link. "It's just that that drone woman is an awake and she's not very happy" he added grimly.

Kathryn pitched the bridge of her nose. "I'll be right down Janeway out" she turned to see that Kes was about to leave. "Kes please!" she pleaded.

She smiled "It's all right Captain, Seven needs you more than me. You should know your right about her… their humanity I've seen it. But she is in so much pain right now. One day she'll thank you for this." Kes told her friend "I'm going to see Neelix to say what needs to be said, good by Captain" she said a left the observation room and the Captain behind. She knew she didn't have long left, she could feel the last of the barrier falling away. Her only regret was she wouldn't be able to say good bay to all her friends and family.

Brig

The brig was a dark cramped place that no one ever willing entered the cells that lined the walls even more so. That was off course the intense its designers after all. Even among the small crew of Voyager the brig had earned a bad reputation. Even though those who had been imprisoned there were few and far between a smattering of aggrieve aliens and crew members alike. This lonely overlook part of the ship always brought fear and desperation to the, for fount of any one's mind, from those whom were briefly held within the cells to those who guarded them. Now held in the smallest of the cells the half drone woman Seven of Nine paced back and forwarded like a caged animal anger, hate and yes even fear coming of her.

Ayala had been on edge ever sense the drone woman had awakened only a few minutes ago. Since she had awakened she started passed back and forwards the inside of her dark cell like a caged tiger. "Please calm down Miss the Captain will be hear any moment" Ayala said not entirely shore how to calm down the clearly distraught drone woman or even if he should try.

Seven glared at the human her rage must have shone though as he to a stepped back. Her physical pain may have lessened since the Doctor had removed the defective implants and neutralize Nev suppressant that infected her system. None of this matted of Couse; the humans had her impressed in their brig.

The fear she felt ever since her had first awoken to her separation from the Collective. Now dominated her mind, the longer she lingered away from thoughts of the others, the longer she like this… the more afraid she became.

She tried to keep her wayward emotions in check but found her ability to do so partially none existent. She retaliated now that she was truly lost. It was known only a matter of time before she loss all that she was to the silence. That terrifying constant silence, it scratched away at the walls of her mind and would deliver her unto madness.

"Wait out hear Tuvok" come the voice of Captain Janeway followed by the opening of the Brig's doors opened to revel Captain Janeway. Kathryn stepped into the small brig. Lieutenant Ayala snapped to attain at her appearance.

Seven of Nine glared at her with her eyes filled with a cold hate. Kathryn studied the eyes of the other woman. She saw fear, hate and utter soul destroying loneliness reflected in them. She knew most people would have fled at the meeting that hard unshaken gaze, she was not most people. She was not to be detoured, she would get Seven of Nine though this and out other side. "Hello Seven of Nine" Janeway said in greeting as she steeped closer to the force Feld that separated her from her latest crew member. Felling very glade of the protraction it granted. She knew that, Seven of Nine was at the tipping point of her struggle.

Kathryn knew now it had been in the wrong getting her help with engineering. She had asked too much too quickly, she knew now she would have to be percent, like Chakotay had told her. Seven of Nine needed to terms with been human. She had also been wrong to have the Doctor dose the young woman with an untested drug but those were bumps in the road. She had been wrong about, a great many things of late. She would be dammed before she gave up.

Seven approached the edge of her cell. She pressed down her fears for a moment. She allowed anger to fill her. The anger gave her a sense of control. She knew that was a self-deception. She couldn't bring herself to be concerned about such things. "So this is Human Freedom, we would say we were surprised but that would be a deception" Seven all but hissed.

Kathryn breathed a sigh "Actions have consequences Seven of Nine and you actions today have lead, you here. You tried to contact the collectives and in doing so, you endanger this entry crew yourself included. You attacked two of my crew who were just trying to help you. So I have dissuaded to keep you in here until I'm certain you won't try to harm my crew again. It may become necessary for the Doctor to treat you here. It's not ideal but it will have to do" Janeway informed her pointy crossing her arms over her chest.

"I honestly believed you were going to help us but it's partly my fault for asking too much of you to quickly and having the Doctor dossing you with that chemical agent." Janeway said and saw Seven's face change from one of rage and hate to one of confusion. She must have already known about chemical agent somehow. She immediate wonted to change the suspect. "I can understand trying to contact the Collative I do, you think they're going to help you. You think they make all those pesky emotions your feeling go away and they will but at what cost Seven of Nine? My crew life's! " she said, disappointed filling her voice. Seven merely glared back. "What I can't understand is if you were in pain why didn't you let Ensign Kim or anyone else, help you?" Janeway asked she saw something like regret flicked across Seven's face when she mentioned the men. "Instead you turned adjust them"

"It was not my intension to damage your crew" she said softly realizing what she had said. She tried to clear her mind of those confusing thoughts "And you were not wrong in seeking my assistance with your matinée needs. It was my intension to help your crew with repairs to this vessel. The chemical agent you speck of was not reasonable for my actions. Weather it was introduced to my body or not weather you had my aid or not my actions would have been the same. I saw an opportunity to return to the Borg and I took it" Seven said her face and voice impassive. "If it was not for your Ocampan's subspace interference I would not be hear" Seven told the Captain pointy.

"And this entire crew would be drones now! Don't you dare blame Kes for stopping you from making a terrible mistake" Janeway stated clearing her thoughts she was starting to get paranoid.

Seven's glare intensified "As is your attempt to assimilate this drone into your Human Collective will ultimately to be a mistake." Seven spat, her blue eyes flashing dangerously "You can alter my appearance but you cannot change our nature. WE are Borg and we will betray you" Seven said low and threating manner "We are Borg we have always been…" she said training of. She closed her eyes as confusion filled her for a few moments. More memory's had snuck past her failing mantel defences.

It was only a small memory. She remembered been on a grassy field. The air was cold but not so cold as to be disruptive. There was a sweet smell in the air the sun rays were warm. Her younger self was her human self was running away from a tall human.

The man was tall with the same sky blue eyes that she possessed and short blonde hair. The memory played out she didn't fell any fear from the person as he caught up with her and picked her up in his arms holding her tightly "… Ok, ok, Ni fångad mig Papa Jah det ( note I couldn't find the Swedish word for ok: you caught me papa I'm it) " her memory self said lathing, she remembered lather. The memory fell away leaving her shaking.

She felt something she had never felt before. It wasn't fear or anger taken possession of her mind nor was it the logic of the Borg. It was something… else. "…Borg" Seven said quietly at last letting the moment pass. She retreated away from Captain Janeway, deeper into the cell, shadows covering her.

Kathryn saw the confusion on Seven of Nine's face and herd it in her scared voice, if she was a betting woman, she wold guess that what Seven of Nine had just experienced a memory from her human past. "You're starting to remember your life before; you were a drone aren't you?" Janeway asked knowingly keeping her voice calm and gentle.

"WE…. I have no memories…I don't want to have these memory's…" Seven said tearfully.

Kathryn felt sympathy fill her. "I know it must be hard for you, I can't even begin to imagination the pain and confusion you must be going through right know." She said kindly the younger woman still faced the wall refusing to make eye contact. "You were human once, we both know that. You'll have to lessen to your human side again. Because the Collective won't help you! You think they can make all that pain, fear and anger you're felling go away. You think they can make you whole again" Janeway said and saw Seven turned to stare at her knowingly.

She defiantly hit the nail on the head that time, now to capsize on it. "But it's a lie Seven of Nine you know it is, some were deep inside you. You know how much they hurt you! How much they have hurt some many others like you! Before you were Borg you were happy and free and complete human. You were a child for god's sake! They brutalized you, deceived you, they stole your life away from you! That stops now! Now you can have everything they took from back" Kathryn said passionately.

"You believe I can become fully human?" Seven asked quietly turning her gaze back to the Captain. She felt the anger drain from her for a moment and in that moment she almost faulted. Almost!

"Yes" Janeway said without hesitation. "It won't be easy but you strike me as someone who doesn't give up easily"

"I will become automation, independent?" Seven asked her voice hesitate.

"Yes that's what it is to be an individual Seven of Nine. That what it means to be human"

"If at that time I choose to return to the Borg will you allow it?" Seven asked turning away from the wall to look Janeway state in the eye.

Kathryn felt like she was been studied. "I don't think you'll won't to go back. I think you'll stay here with this crew" Janeway told her. "You're new Collective, your new family"

She felt the anger rise again "You would dine us the chose! You have imprisoned me! Separated me from my people! In the name of humanity! Yet you well not grate us you're most, chariest belief. To choose my own fate! You are hypocrisy, manipulative. I do not, won't to become, what you are! Return us to the Collective… NOW …" Seven screamed.

"You lost the ability to make that chose the moment you were assimilated, they took that from you and until I'm convinced you got it back. You're not going any were" Janeway told her pointy crossing her arms over her chest.

"Then you are no better than the Borg" Seven said turning from Janeway to stand in the darkest corner of her cell staring at the wall with her banged back to the Captain, silence filled the brig.

Kathryn knew she wasn't going to get any more out Seven of Nine for the moment the younger woman was retreating into the Borg mentality that dominate her for eighteen years to try and shield her from the inevitable. That shield would fail her eventually. The pure pain and loneliness that Kathryn had seen in Seven's eyes had given that away. It was only a matter of time.

Kathryn left the young woman to alone. Just before the doors of the Brig opened to allowed her to leave, she heard the tiniest of sops coming from the cell. 'Yes only a matter of time' she thought.

Seven of Nine was once more alone expect for her silent guard. Loneliness came crashing down on her. The walls and force field seemed to close in around her, shadows played at the edges of her vision.

She felt the tears roll down her face into her scars. She was alone and she hated it.

Mess hall

The mess hall had packed to the brim day in and day out for the last few weeks. Now without those noisy crowds a strange quite filled the space as if it was holding its breath. Dining tables and chairs shined in the dimed half lights. The only two occupants were Kes and Neelix.

Kes sat at the table closet to the counter. She watched Neelix potter around his kitchen for the last two minutes. Now and then diving under the counter a befuddled searching expression on his spotted face.

"Neelix do you need any help?" Kes asked kindly seeing his mow hawk pop up from behind his gallery. Remaindering her of the dorsal fin, from that shark in the movie that Tom had choosing for movie night. What was it called again Jaws, he had insisted that it was one of the twentieth century's, scariest movies. To his dismay most of the crew laughed it off for being too cheesy herself shameful included.

"No, no I'm quite all right …. Now where did I put it?" he asked muttering to himself. "I could have sworn you were around hearing some were….. Ah there you are!" Neelix said rising above the counter with a bottle of yellowish wine with two wine gasses. He walked over to their table and pored Kes and himself a glass each. "Talaxian spring sampan, moon ripened your favourite!" Neelix explained.

"Neelix! Where did you get this?" Kes asked in wonder knowing that the wine was very rare and one of his most prized positions. When they had been together, he told her that there were only a few bottles left in existence.

He blush, the fact of it was this was his second last bottle. Most of the others had been bartend away over the years to get Voyage much needed surpluses not that he had told anyone that other than Kes this. He been happy to part with them, his friends needs were gather then his own but with each bottle lost to greedy merchants, he felt more and more of his home drift away like sand though his fingers. "Oh I just put a bottle away but it wasn't easy keeping it out of the crew hands" Neelix told her with a chuckle as a wide smile split his face, he knew the smile didn't reach his eye.

"Neelix's you shouldn't have!" Kes told him shyly before taking the glass of yellow wine that smelt of flowers in bloom just after a sweet and fresh sent. She took a little sip so as to saver this moment. As soon as the wine entered her mouth her taste buds exploded with sensation. The wine was very sweet like pure honey mixed with straw berries with a bubbly robust after taste of dark chocolate.

"Do you remember the first time we drunk this?" Neelix asked after taking a small sip for himself his golden eyes lost in memory.

"Three years ago when we first came on Voyager" Kes said wistfully "it feels like a life time ago" Kes said with a sad smile. "So much has changed"

"Yes it has" he said knowing Kes was been both literal and metaphorical. "And do you remember the toast I made than?" Neelix asked kindly.

Her eyes seemed to shine for a moment as she remembered. "To you and me and to the adventure" Kes said picking up her glass as if to toast but Neelix had stalled for a moment then took his glass and taped it to her making the toast.

"To the adventure" Neelix said sadly, there was a long silence between them.

She looked at his long aged face; she saw both mischief and melancholy in his bright yellow eyes. He had aged a lot in the last few years the spots on his face had stated to grey and his hair in his mow hawk wasn't quite as thick as it was three years ago. "Neelix I want you to know that I never wanted to hurt you and I still love you I just …." Kes trailed of not know what to say. She may have near god like powers not that the powers themselves interested her in the slightest. It was more like all that she had been though in her life had led to this monument, that didn't mean she wasn't sad to leave her friends behind. It didn't mean that it didn't break her heart to say good bye. She would mess Neelix the most of all her friends and co-workers. They may have had their differences and falling out's, he was still and always would be her best friend.

He reached forward and held both her hands with his own "I know" Neelix told her then shaking his head sadly "You could never hurt me not really. I…I was just holding you back. That's clear to me known like you said the caretaker was holding back your people when you left Ocampa" Neelix said restoring.

"On Neelix you could never be like the caretaker" Kes told him pointy "I could never have come all this way without you Neelix and I…."Kes said tearfully "I'm going to miss you more than you know" Kes told him feeling tears fill her eyes and run down her checks.

"Kes!"...Neelix said in slight shock but Kes for her part just put her fingers of her to his lips to silence him. Then she took them away. "So you're leavening?" Neelix asked sadly handing her a hanky from his breast pocket.

"Yes" Kes said simply taking the hanky and wiping her face "Very soon" she said regret felling her voice then she looking down to the table.

He saw the confect on her pretty face "Kes you don't have to go if you don't what to I'm shore whatever this is the crew can help you with it" Neelix told her but she only shock her head.

"Oh Neelix it's not that simple" she said wistful "it not just I have to go but I won't to…. I can't really explain it" Kes said but as she looked up she knew that Neelix didn't understand.

"Maybe you could tell me what's happening to you? Neelix suggested.

Kes nodded "Every ware I look, I'm see beyond this reality. For example I look at an object I see into the space between the atomies is been filled with something else… Were the dissection between space of time of matter and thought doesn't exist, that's only the begging" Kes told him closing her eyes as if to concentrate.

"Well that sounds…..I don't know that sounds Kes but if your sure about this" he's said trailing off "I know this crew will never be the same without you" Neelix told her.

"I know Neelix…..thank you" Kes said then she opened her eye's suddenly and they were a glow with blue energy and the table started to change colure and tester the matter of the table melted together as a unearthly surged from it. "It's time"

"Ah Kes maybe you should relax for a moment" Neelix told her fleeing fear pass though him. She started to flicker like a candle. "Kes stop this"

"I don't ….won't to stop… I can't….. I have to…." Kes said in a voice was not holey her own as her body started to shimmer and loss its form as did the table and chair she sat on. They warped and melted into each other. She more sensed then saw Neelix jump away from the table. She couldn't hold back anymore the bonds that held her to this realty were falling away.

Neelix then pressed his com. "Neelix to Captain Janeway" he said not knowing whether to move closer or away from his ex-love.

"Neelix what's going on down there we just picked up strange reading from the mess hall" Janeway said as she was about call the mess hall but the Crew on the Bridge worked furiously around her trying to stabilize that area of the ship.

"Captain Please hurry its Kes… she's….she I don't know what's happen to her but she looks like she is disappearing. I don't know what to do….." Neelix said trailing of in shock.

"I'm on my way" Janeway said.

Tuvok and Kathryn soon reached the mess hall. They find Neelix unconscious on the floor and Kes hovering mid-air emitting a bright golden light as her body warped. The tables, chairs and floor around her were warping, having lost their original shape.

Tuvok went to check on Neelix scanning the Talaxian with a tricorder haven seen a large bloody mark across his forehead. He tried to read the data but it made no sense so he had to use a more traditional method to check Neelix vitals. Putting his fingers to Neelix's neck and measuring his breaths. He came to the concussion that Neelix must have stumbled back in shock and hit his head. He looked to the Captain who was transfixed by Kes. "Captain Mr. Neelix has a head injury but my tricorder is failing to operate this close to Kes's transformation. I believe he requires emendate treatment."

Kathryn nodded in agreement as she slowly approached Kes "Kes you must stop this now do you hear me?" Janeway order her friend who looked little more than a beam of ever-changing light. Only the vague shape of her body remained attached to reality like a burn shadow of an atomic blast.

She longer had a mouth to speck with so she reached out with her mind to commutate "I sorry Captain. I have to go" Kes mind spoke "Captain I can't stay on Voyager everyone is in danger …. Please Captain you have to let me go"

"Kes" Janeway said with a sob as Kes's voice started fading.

"Captain! That section Deck two your in is destabilizing whatever you're doing down there you better fix it fast" Chakotay's said static voice filling the com line.

"Chakotay get a shuttle ready…." She ordered softy "Kes is leaving us" Janeway said sadly she had to thing of the bigger picture she may not want Kes to go but it seemed to be what the younger woman wonted and the rest of the crew would be in danger if she stayed. 'The needs of the many and all that' she thought bitterly.

"What?" Chakotay asked in shocked puzzlement as he looked around the bridge to see the confused and shocked faces of the crew around him.

"Just do it" Janeway Ordered hotly there was no time for discussion.

"Understood Captain" Chakotay said levelly.

"Kes you must regain control if only for a moment" Tuvok told Kes walking to toward her changing form.

"I can't…. it's…. too much… I don't what to hurt anyone….." Kes mind spoke. She barely managed to halt the change she was able to pull herself back, just enough to regain her solid mass.

Tuvok raced over and perform a mind meld, he griped both sides of her head and his mind was filled with unbelievable beauty, he resisted it, purging the images. "My mind to your mind…..My Mind to….your mind …" Tuvok said grunted with effect. His face wreathed in pained concentration "Kes, you must hold one only for a moment….. Grasp this moment allow it to fill you … hold you mind in the now." Tuvok said and Kes seemed to stabiles for a moment "We must hurry Captain" Tuvok said wiping green blood that ran from his nose.

"Chakotay, beam Kes over to the shuttle" Janeway ordered. Tears ran down her face as she watched Kes disappear.

Shuttle Bitter traveller

In the Shuttle "Bitter traveller" Kes appeared in an flash of transporter light. She staged to the control panel and punched in a departed course away from Voyager. Every moment felt like her body might jive up as her power consumed her.

She knew this was it, she would miss all her friends with all her heart but she knew this was right. She just had gotten far enough away when her body started to loss its shape once more. She breathed in as the universe filled her soul almost too braking point. She took one last look though view screen to see Voyager floating in space. Realty fell away as one last vision entered her mind.

The vision showed of each of the crew in turn some would die on their joinery home and that left great sadness in her heart. Many others would live to see Earth and their loved ones again. She saw love and heartbreak joy and sorrow in equal messier. She saw Tom and B'Elanna in the sickbay, a baby girl asleep in B'Elanna's arms, the Doctor looking on with pride.

She could see Harry being promoted by Captain Janeway to full Lieutenant and reunited with his friend Libby.

She saw Tuvok and his wife looking over the green, blue sphere of Earth holding each other close.

She could see Neelix whit a beautiful Talaxian woman and a young Talaxian boy about Naomi Wildman's age. She could tell he was no longer on Voyager, it looked like he had final found someplace to call home. She saw Samantha and her daughter reunited with husband and father.

Lastly she saw the former drone Seven of Nine who was as she had seen her in her vision in sickbay a few days ago. This time however she was wearing elegant yet simple strapless red dress. Her long golden hair flowed from her head to reach down and cover her shoulders. She was dancing with Chakotay of all people. The Commander was wearing a simple Wight mussel shirt, black jacket and long black pants. Their dance was strong and passionate, full of confident and grace. They were dancing in a lager caverns room that Kes recognized as Cargo bay two though it was no longer a haunted place of nightmare. The overhead lights made the room gleam like sliver, Chakotay pulled Seven to him, she blushed a wide smile filling her face.

With that her vision ended, she knew she had made the right chose. With a ghostly hand she managed to Contact Voyager over the com.

"I give you my final Gift. I know you will all make the most of it" Kes said then was lost to golden light as she and her shuttle warped sending out a wave of power she use her last thoughts to pick Voyager up like a child's toy and tossed them as far as she could. With that final act she despaired.

Voyager

The whole of Voyager shock like it was a toy thrown into a storm. The crew stumbled and held on to each outer and the nearest equipment, wall or rail whatever they could hold on to.

"Torres to Bridge, I Don't know what the hell is going on but the warp core has just come on line" B'Elanna said having managed to hale the Bridge disputer feeling like her stomachs were in her throat as she fought to keep her lunch down. "Matter to anit-matter reaction is 102%! 110%, 135%! , This is impossible" she said reading the very growing numbers as the reacted reached higher and higher.

Voyager was catapulted at speeds what would be concerned impossible by any sane person. The crew held on for dear life only barely able to keep the ship in one peace but as soon as it had come. The speed bleed away and Voyager came to a stop.

Bridge

Kathryn had made it onto the bridge just before Kes's good by "Report" Janeway ordered.

"We just dropped out of whatever the hell that was" Tom said breathless as his tried to make sense of the reading the Nav was feeding him.

"Our systems are coming back on line" Chakotay told her relief filling his voice as he tipped into the command console near his chair although he couldn't make much sense of the info that clawed up the screen.

"On screen" Janeway ordered expectedly.

The main view scene came to live with a flash. The crew looked out the view screen to see millions of new stars and vast space unexplored space.

"Where are we?" Janeway asked as awe filled her voice and she slow sat down in her captain's chair.

"About….. 9500 light years from where we were" Tom said checking the facts on his helm console.

"Kes throw us safely beyond Borg space" Janeway said as tears flowed from her eyes. She looked to Chakotay who seemed to be having a similar reaction just but managed to hold himself together. He reached into a pocked and taking a hanky out, handing it to her. She took it giving him a gratefully smile "And ten years closer to home" she said solemnly wiping her face.

The Brig

Days had past slowly for Seven of Nine as she slowly paced her dark cell. It had not been an uneventfully few days. If indeed it had been days at all. She had lost track of time when her internal clock had stopped functioning correctly blocked by pain. She did know that later the same 'day' after her last conversation with Captain Janeway, the ship had shock as if under attack, for a briefest of moments she allowed herself to feel the emotion humans called hope.

Perhaps the Collative had come for her and she would not be alone anymore. It was not to be there was no sign of the Borg and loneliness crashing down on her again.

Ever sense then she walked back and forward in her tiny cell like a caged predator as her energy and will slowly drained away as they did so, memories clawed at her frying mind.

They would show themselves from time to time when she closest to braking point then flee like carrion birds consuming a corpse disturbed by her presence. They returned time and again, to peck at her. Her own company had been the holo-graphic Doctor who had come to remove yet more of her failing implants. Every time he arrived she tried to fight him off, been a hologram he was immune to her assaults.

She still resisted she needed to, even if it was pointless, if this was to be her fate for the remainder of her life. She would have her tormentors feel the weight of her suffering. She would not go quietly.

She would endure.

She would resist.

She would yell, scream and pled to be sent back the Borg. It all had failed.

It was approaching what she believed to be her fourth day or was it her fifth day in this cell?

Again she couldn't be sure. As all her Borg stammer had left her. She had started muttering to herself, trying and failing to keep the memories away from her degrading mind. The cell itself seemed to be closing in around her, the shadows that had taunted her for days now had become ticker.

Just like her attempts in resisting the Doctor and her captivity had all proven futile. So had her attempts to resist 'her' memories, proved futile. In this dark cell that stank of her fear, loneliness and pain. Those were her only companions as her mind swayed from one agony to another.

It went when beyond physical pain.

She was scared. She was small.

She was alone. She was Lost.

She was irrelevant. She was imperfect.

She was one. Just one voice, one….one…..ONE!

She could not stand it anymore, it was all too much the silence, she hated the silence more than anything. Whatever barrier held the memories at bay cracked then. Her mind felt like it had been split open and everything came gushing out. Memories ran screaming into her mind.

They came like a waterfall over a cliff. The teasing thoughts only lasted mere moments; all of them were vague half remembered thoughts and felling. The latest one was where she was on a ship but not a Borg craft. In the memory she was alone in the dark hiding under the blankets, the small ship moaned around her. The darkness was absolute her eyes could not peace it. Gust like now, she was scared and alone.

She pulled away from that memory. Though sheer force of will she pulled away from the madness that beckoned her. She knew now what she had to do to, she had to get out. She had to get OUT! NOW!

Using what little strange was left, she lunched herself at the shields of her cell. She rammed it again and again; her skin bustled and started to bleed. She screamed out her pain, loss and fury until it became a wordless shirk of noise.

Lieutenant Ayala was shocked to core by the shear anger, hate and pain that the drone woman screamed as she seemed to final loss her mind. "Pease Miss stop you're going to kill yourself!" Ayala told the rampart drone woman who terrified him beyond belief.

"Irreverent!" Seven screamed as loud as she could as she rammed the shield again. The shield replied her again and adain, she did not stop if anything she only grew more desperate.

Ayala hit his com badge "Lieutenant Ayala to Captain Janeway!" Ayala said trying to be herd over the former drones screaming. "We need you right away; Seven of Nine is attacking the shield in the brig…." Ayala said training of.

"I'm on my way" came the voice of the Captain and a few moments later the Kathryn arrived but by that time Seven had stopped her attacks on the shield instead going back deeper into her cell as she seemed to be wimping like a lost child. Kathryn could see the burn marking on Seven's skin and the burnt implants on her body and broken bandages. It was up to her to save Seven of Nine from her own personal hell.

Kathryn had brought a pad filled with all information she managed to dig up on Seven of Nine's human past. She approached the lip of the shield careful and saw that Seven of Nine was little more than a muttering wreck of a woman, stumbling around her cell.

Seven of Nine, sensed the Captain's presence she turned and regarded her coldly. "The others are gone. I….am…..One" Seven stated stiffing back tears of pain and loss.

"Yes you are, you were always met be an individual" Janeway confirmed evenly her word full of Sympathy.

She griped her head as if it might explode "I cannot fun…sun this way" she strutted her eye still defiant "So Alone, So Small…. Imperfect" Seven said swaying on her feet looking like she was about to collapse.

"You're not alone, I'm will help you and this crew will help you. All you have to do is ask" Janeway told the damaged younger woman honestly.

"If that is true then you won't do this to me send me back to my own kind" Seven commenced her voice pleading and desperate.

"You're among your own kind humans" Janeway told her earnestly.

"I don't remember what it is to be human…..I don't know what it is to be human … I have always been Borg" Seven cried. Hot tears ran down her face, her body swayed as if battling a heavy wind.

Kathryn taped to key pad for the shield matrix for the Seven's cell. "What are you doing?" Seven asked scared steeping deeper into her dark cell.

"I'm coming in" Janeway told her as the shield diapered.

"I'll kill you" Seven treated weakly even as she said this, she backed away from Captain Janeway. Feeling a mix of hate rage and fear fill her fail mind.

"I don't think you will" Janeway said locking eyes with the sickly woman as the shield deactivated. She slowly walked up to the younger woman as if she was some kind of wounded animal. She activated a large data pad in her hand and showed to the distraught woman. "Do you remember her?" Janeway asked showing the picker of a wide eyed and smiling Annika Hansen. Her name was Ann…"

"Ann…Annika Hansen" Seven said slowly having trouble with the words as yet a small memory played at the edge of her mind.

"That's right" Janeway beamed before calming herself she knew she had to take this slowly. "This is you at three years old taken on our aunt's home in Stockholm, Sweden, Earth. Seven of Nine, Your as human I am" Janeway said closing the distance between them but Seven backed away.

"No you… are wrong that is … impossible" Seven splatted brokenly backing away but Kathryn just closed the distance again. "No…I am Seven of Nine I have always been…" she said trailing of, feeling tears roll down her face.

Kathryn knew it was time for this poor broken woman to know the truth "Ok…"she said calmly. "How about I tell you about her then?" she asked kind. "She was born star date 25479, Eslöv general hospital we still don't know much about her to be honesty, who where her friends, what did she like to do, what was her favourite colour?" Janeway sated giving seven a kindly smile. "Maybe you fill us in Annika"

Seven was then hit be a more recent memory of when she and Commander Chakotay had briefly been connected "What do you remember? What did you like? What did you hate?" he asked. "Who did you love? What food did you like? What was your favourite colour?" Chakotay had asked.

Seven almost reached out to the pad. "Irrelevant" she screamed, smashing the pad out of Janeway hands it hit the floor with a bang. "Take me back to now!" Seven yelled feebly. Janeway backed off and put up a hand to prevent Lieutenant Ayala from interfering.

"I won't do that you belong hear" Janeway told her. "You won't be alone again I promise. You have a chance hear on Voyage. A Chance to be your own person with your own thoughts and desires you can have all the things Collective ever denied you" Janeway told her.

"So quite" Seven nearly bulked over grabbing her head in pain "I need the others please don't do this to ME. I can't I won't lose… them… I am…." Seven said more to herself then Janeway but Kathryn knew it was now or never.

"You have to lesson to your human side from now on. I know you hear it….don't run from it. In brace it. It's who you are" Janeway said passionate.

"ARGGGG" Seven screamed as she lunged at Janeway but missed and she ended falling to on the floor. Whatever had held her emotions in check fell away and she started weeping.

"HELP ME…. HELP ME" Seven pleaded. She cried uncontrollable letting everything she felt flow out of her in a stream of hot tears that poured down her face.

Kathryn bent done to hold the scared younger woman in her arms. Seven swayed back and forward losing all control, weeping like a traumatised child. "It is going to be a right I promise" janeway told her gently.

Captain's quarters

"Captain's personal log: It's barely been a week since Kes left us. The crew is still in morning. I doubt the hole she has left in all our hearts will heal any time soon if ever."

"We still don't know all the facts about what happed or why but I hope that Kes finds whatever she's looking for and I wish her god's speed."

"But thanks to her little push Voyager is now ten years closer to home and safe beyond the Borg reach. At least for now though I can't help but wonder if I made the right chose regarding the alliance. In the end I have to be the one who deals with the aftermath."

"Speaking of aftermath Seven of Nine final connected to having the rest of her implants removed but the Doctor has informed me that even with Lieutenant Tom Paris help and three days of near continues surgery the still couldn't remove 23% of her implants. As for Voyager herself, B'Elanna and her team were finally able to remove the last of the Borg components except for Cargo bay two were Seven of Nine has been recuperating the last six days. Voyager is finally making good speed but we are still licking our wounds"

"I have to emit I was sceptical about keeping Seven of Nine down in cargo bay, according to the Doctor she will likely will need to use her Borg alcove for rest of her life if she wonts to stay healthy. I've had Tuvok and his team keep a close eye on her but according to him she has done nothing but regenerated for the last six days."

"I only hope…" Kathryn tailed of as her com badge beeped. She signed. "Computer end recording and save it to my personal file. Janeway Pie 721" She ordered.

"Confirmed." the computer droned.

Kathryn pressed her badge. "Captain Janeway hear"

"I hope I'm not disturbing you Captain" the Doctor said over the com link.

She sighed "Not at all Doctor what do, you need?"

"Well needs a strong word Captain.." he said cheerfully.

She pinched her noise in irritation "Doctor the point please?" Janeway asked.

"Oh right sorry… I would like to inform you that Seven of Nine has just awoken from her regeneration cycle and is read to reserve visitors. I have already informed Commander Chakotay as per your institutions and is on his way to meet us at the cargo bay" the Doctor said his tone lost a bit of his casual cheerfulness.

She had instanced Chakotay should join her in welcoming Seven of Nine on board once it had become clear that the now she would survive her ordeal.

He was not very optimistic about Seven of Nine's chances in the long run. For now he seemed glad that she had lived, if only to lessen his own misplaced guilt. Not that he said this of course but she knew him well enough to read him, at least some of the time. If she and Chakotay could work together any without the needling guilt they both felt then, own relationship. If nothing else it was a step in the right direction "Thank you Doctor I'm no my way"

Cargo Bay two

Seven of Nine stood in the low green light of cargo bay two for some time sense she had 'awaked' from the alcove she had regenerated in for the last six days. She was still getting used to the new sensations that flowed over and within her.

She caught her refection in a large full mirror the EMH…the Doctor had given her. She had asked why he had given it her and what purpose it served.

He had given a rather long and elaborate exportation. That ultimately revolved around vanity. After that he had left the cargo bay too into inform his Captain statues.

Seven of Nine supposed Captain Janeway was now her Captain too. The idea of having to operate within the limiting confines of Star fleet was a troubling prospect. However after the near distraction of her mind, she supposed it could have been as diffract as regaining her since of self.

She had initial rejected the mirror. She may have to deal with these human emotions now but felt no reason to encourage them. Especial one's such as vanity. Even so she could not help but look at her refection.

She stared into her refection and saw a stranger stare back at her. She stood a tall, chad in a silver bio suit that covered much of her body. The outfit was skin tight flowing down from her neck to clinging her body. She worn high heled boots.

Her right hand was free implants while her left hand had silver veins that covered her fingers and wrapped around her hand like a gantlet.

Above her right eye, she had a light blonde eye brow, above her left a sliver implant that curved around her eye socket. The only other reaming Borg implant on her face was a small semi-star shaped one that sat below her right ear. She now had a full head of golden blonde hair which was tied into a restive bun. She found it irritatingly long at her first awaking since the last of the surgeries were completed.

Why the Doctor had restored such superfluous part of her anatomy was beyond her, even more so was the fact that he took prude from its restoration of which left her bemused.

He was truly a strange hologram. Perhaps she would reprogram him. Though the Doctor was conceded an individual despite been a collection of programs and photos and force fields. If she was expected to become a full individual she may need his assistance. A strange expression filled her reflections face. She believed it was called a 'grimace' likely brought on by the fact since her interdiction to the Doctor. She had yet to meet an individual whom relished talking as much as he did.

Pushing such thoughts out of her mind she regarded her refection once more. She slowly reached out with her human hand to touch the mirror as if to check that this was real. Her reflation copied the movement. She reached up to touch her own her face. A stand of her golden hair had escaped the bun she touched it briefly, running it between finger and thumb before placing the strand back into place.

A memory cheeped into her mind's eye. She was sitting down staring at a reflection of herself but at a younger state. The woman she now knew to be her mother, although she knew nothing ease about this woman other than that basic fate, was combing her younger self's long wavy hair.

She remembered having hair 'how is that relevant?' she asked herself but was soon brought out of her intersection. Her enhanced hearing caught the chatter of shoes and murmurs of conversation even though the tick cargo bay doors.

Before said doors fully opened to allow 'her gests' enter. She quickly pushed the large mirror between two alcoves, so to hide it from view a though her reasoning for doing so escaped her for a moment.

The large doors of the cargo bay opened to reveal the Doctor. Behind him stepped Captain Janeway then Commander Chakotay with one of her security guards. Lieutenant Ayala, she believed he had been stationed outside the cargo bay just as he had stood guard over when she imprisoned.

The Doctor was explaining to the others the extant of her medic changes and the applications of her bio suit. He explained, how it supported her remaining implants and encouraged healing. Having already heard must of this information directly from the Doctor after the last of her surgery's, she allowed the Doctors words to drift over her and instead she forcing on the others.

The grope approached her slowly. Seven of Nine meet their eyes one by one going from the Doctor then to Captain Janeway. Then lastly she met Commander Chakotay deep steady gaze. As she locked eyes with Commander Chakotay, she couldn't help feel a small amount of intimidation at his inscrutable gaze. Even so she couldn't help but to find a kind of kinship reflected in his dark eyes perhaps even a subtle connection.

He unlike any of the others on board this vessel knew her in a way that no other individual could possibly know her. She knew enough about emotions to know what she felt towards the Commander. It was not hate or anger it was a kind of respect. She wounded absently if the rest if this crew know how truly determined he was?

The fact he was able to hold out adjust the full might of the Collative and not just speak to her on equal ground but sever her from the hive mind was astounding.

"As told you Captain and you can see for yourself I have removed 77% the Borg systems from her body. The remaining Borg hardware is stable." The Doctor saw Captain Janeway and Chakotay winch at his poor chose of words. "Most of is better than anything I could synthesize anyway" he lightly told his fellow offices but the Captains reaction was anything but amused and Chakotay's expectation was unreadable.

He then turned his gaze to Seven of Nine who was staring at them her gaze impassive and standing rigid like a solider waiting inspection. "You're going to have to have daily maintenance with me until your body has recovered fully and I like you to spend 92 hours of regeneration a week until your biologic systems are ready to take up the slack. I think weekly maintenance checks should be sufficient after that, but if you have any questions or any issues you can always come to me." The Doctor told her gently.

"I understood Doctor" Seven said crisply "How shale I proceed with interacting with the rest of this crew?" she asked.

Kathryn was pleased to hear that Seven of Nine seemed to be accepting her new situation after recovering from her initial crisis. She doubted that her newest crew member road to humanity would be an easy one. At the very least she didn't seem to be out right rejecting humanity nor was she celebrating it but either. Besides like they said, 'Rome wasn't built in a day'. "We cross those bridges when get them but needless to say. You're going to have get use to a lot as a human Seven of Nine. But for now if you have any questions or need anything don't hastate to ask"

"Understood" Seven said impassively.

Chakotay was stunned to say the least at Seven of Nine's transformation the last time he had seen her. She was had been a full drone but now…. He was hastate to call her human the Doctor's long rambling lectern on the way hear had informed him that the former drone woman would always be dependent on her Borg physiology. Even so he could hardly believe that this was the same woman that Aylen had described as rabid. She now seemed to radiate calm. Even if the Doctors choose of making her look a living sliver statue was questionable to say the least.

He noticed her beauty but it was the same way as someone might admire a tiger or shark. It was the kind of beauty that hid a killer underneath. Her demine had not changed much. She was rigid as she had been as a drone, her eyes were still cold and measuring but as he looked into those pale blue orbs. He saw their, was on trace of malice in them even as they studied each other, like wolfs.

She spoke, breaking the uneasy atmosphere. "Commander Chakotay" she said her voice unsure but gradually gained confer dance "I don't not see a resin for us to adversarial toward each other" Seven stated blackly, never backing her soul piercing gaze.

Chakotay didn't really know what to really make of that. "Well that's good….. We both had to do what we had to do" Chakotay told her evenly as her glancing form her to Kathryn in turn "I hope that we can work together" he offed not shore what else to say.

"That would be acceptable" Seven stated plainly not entirely shore what had compelled her to speck.

"Well that's good to hear" Janeway said before more acquired silence could fall "let's see how things go from here on out and let bygones be bygones" she told them glad that Seven of Nine didn't seem to holding a grudge adjust Chakotay which both surprised her and gave her hope for the future. "I'll concede giving you access to the rest of the ship once I'm shore you won't try to assimilate us again" Janeway told her evenly.

"It will not happen again I have no intension of harming this crew" Seven told her Captain evenly.

Kathryn walked over and handed Seven of Nine a Starfleet com badge which Seven took but remanned were she was. "If you need anything you can contact myself the Doctor or Commander Chakotay" Janeway informed the former drone woman.

Captain Janeway, the Doctor, Lieutenant Ayala and Commander Chakotay started to leave "Red" Seven stated looking to Captain Janeway who stood on the fresh hold of leaving the cargo bay.

"What?" Janeway asked quickly looking back to her newest crew member.

Seven of Nine turned her gaze meet Commander Chakotay's weary gaze "You asked what her favourite colour it was… is red" Seven explained then turned and walked deeper into the dark cargo bay. They soon left her alone once again.

The agony of loneliness was not as hard to endure as before. It appeared to her that she was attempting to it, slowly.

She was now consigned to her new individuality. For the first time since her separation from the Collective that did not trouble her especially. She was not as afraid as she had been; her pain was easing but now would always there a constant companion as would these emotions it seemed.

Seven of Nine wasn't entirely sure her transformation to full individual would be easy or even all together successful. Neither did she believe she would ever identify herself as human. She would simply do what she had always done.

She would adapted and seek perfection weather she was Borg or human or some hybrid of the two, that would never change.