AN: This is a re edited upload and complication of an older story.
I have to thank my friend imaxmovies for giving me the confidence to upload this story as i had a lot of doubt about it. if anyone is into super hero stuff then you might wanna check out his neon venom story, I helped him out with that
I do not own Star Trek and even if I did I don't know what I would do with it. Maybe shout at it a lot
Chapter one: On Raven wings
'Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing, doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before.' The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe
Shadowy vapour swirled though cramped rusting corridors that seemed to stretch on forever. The vapour pulsed and trembled. Thick corroding pipes and bundles of cables dangled from shattered ceiling and buckled walls, spilling out like the intestines of some great mechanical beast.
Here and there things seemed to form within the still, crammed corrodes, imagers made up shades of midnight and faded pail starlight. They were half formed things, half thoughts, snatches of drama and day to day actives, each only lasted a moment before coming apart like glass only to refuse and play out ago.
Silence permeated the place, filling ever nock and cranny, until it's unchallenged dominium was broken by a distinctive chalking foot falls which rang out as their unseen owner spirited through the hallways.
Then like some invisible switch had being thrown hundreds, thousands of sounds flooded into place growing louder like an ocean's worth of water tried gushing through a single key hole. Among their number was an ever present deep mechanical whine which almost sounded like a heart beat if the organ had being completely made of machinery, wind whistled through the ruined corridors. Under these was an ever present crackle of white noise, thousands of indistinct voices whispered just at the edge to hearing but far to quite to be understand.
The distant clack, clack of foot falls hitting the rusted metal grew louder and louder as its source a tall athletic women emerged with some urgency from the gloom. Her sky blue eyes wide with fear as she paused for a moment to gather her sensors.
Her alabaster skin was glassy with sweat. Her tight dark red bio suit, cling to the contours of her body damp with perspiration. Her long golden hair frayed as it came loose from her usually controlled stile, sticking to her pale skin in places.
She gripped the corner of a smashed wall console, her heart threatening to burst from her chest. "How long have I being running?" the women asked, her crisp voice on the verge of hysterics echoed though the Labyrinth until it came back upon her.
She could not be certain it felt like she had being running for hours, days even. Inwardly she dismissed that as impossible. Yet almost as if the surreal environment she found herself in wished to challenge her logical assertion the dark hallways filled with decay and ruin that stretched on without end warped, and shifted.
In an instant the debris and decay disappeared and Seven of Nine once Tertiary Adjunct of Unimatrix zero one but now a member of the crew of the far flung star fleet vessel Voyager found herself with in the well maintained if indistinct interior of federation space craft 'likely Voyager it' she thought, though for some reason she doubted that assessment the place seemed wrong off as if everything that made this vessel 'voyager' was of by a micro centimetre and at a strange angel that made her feel uneasy. The corridor she now found herself in forked in front of her, for once in her life. Seven of Nine was perhaps willing to conceive the possibility that her definitions of what was possible and impossible needed redefining.
She decided on what may have being considered a whim to head though the left hand passage way though inwardly, Seven knew her choice wouldn't matter.
As soon as she took a step the environment twisted and reshaped, the mat greys walls , sombre blues carpeting and bright eye catching colours present in the digital displays of the hand few of wall consoles and data pads. Instantly gave way to a seemingly endless hallway all constructed entirety out of bare machinery. The entirety of her surroundings were stripped of all pretence to form or ecstatic and given entirely over to function. Row upon row of identical Borg alcoves and necessary computer interfaces and data nodes, stile exemption tables framed by saws, drills, needles and clamps emerged from bare machinery seemingly grow from the twisted wall's rather than being a fixed to them though mundane construction means.
It was at once a surgical laboratory, engineering station and rest area. Eerie green light permeated every nook and cranny.
Her heart bet a little faster as she looked for any brake in the machine momentary, her hands started fidgeting. An all prevailing sense of dread seeped into her very being. Apprehension and disquiet filled her making her eyes dart around frenzied, as if some unspeakable horror may at any time emerge from the gloom. She had first experienced this section of her now nightly delusions she had thought it strange to have that manner of reaction. It was completely irrational as she was a hundred times more familiar with these surroundings to than the star fleet vessel that had being her home for the two mouths.
Yet she felt fear swell in her breast and not just from being in this off kilter delusion but the fear, the dread and anxiety all feelings she thought she was elevated above the merest dug deeper seeming clawing at her once iron clad desire of returning to the collective, transforming her certainly into something as fragile as brittle glass. A feeling she had only felt once before when she was first pulled kicking and screaming from their embrace and was faced with the uncertainty of being an individual.
'This is irrational! I have nothing to fear from the Borg. They would never hurt one of their own…' Seven of Nine told herself firmly but her reassurances did little if anything to quell her fraying nerves.
It was then she sensed something… an almost unperceivable change in this…place, a invisible pressure or weight that closed in around her like she was placed into a vice that was slowly crushing her.
The realm reverted to ruined corridors she had first emerged into. Pale light poured from the cracks that rust had eaten though the ceiling. Wind rattled through frail frame of the derelict bringing with it a low but constant moan.
Her ordered mind was unable to comprehend the impossibilities that had come upon her during her past four regeneration cycles. Despite her every effort to try and find the malfunction that coursed her to experience these nightly delusions and correct it. She had not found any fault with her alcove, interface or implants. Even her human biology was functioning as well as could be expected at least according to her own scans
Her musing and brief rest bit was cut short when the still dusty air was priced by a loud warning avian "CAW".
She whipped around to see a black avian flying towards her seemingly warring her of the writhing chaotic veil of utter darkness that manifested at the end of the ruined hall way.
She had experienced this same sequence of events four times before, the only thing that seemed to change was the amount of time the realm remained as a parody of the ships she thought to be Voyager or a Borg cube. Each time she experienced this delusion the time she spent in the two former environments grew shorter and shorter. All the while the derelict became clearer in her mind, it lingered longer becoming more and more real and solid to her mind's eye were the other environments became more distorted and unreal.
From within the shadows impenetrable mass emerged the hulking forms of half a dozen Borg drones, each drones was identical to the other. Their faces were little more than indistinguishable mass's of scar tissue, corpse like skin with punctured and pierced by cruel metal argumentation. Each drone was either clearly male or female, their sliver black armoured bodies glinted in the dull light that drifted down from the rusted holes in the roof. The wall of rolling thrashing shadows seemed to fallow in the wake of those it just spawned as they moved towards. Through to call what the shadowy forms did, movement in the conventional sense would be a false hood. The formless mass jilted, spammed, ebbed and flowed seemingly at random, the things that had the outwardly appearance of drones, twitched and writhed in sympathy with their progenitor.
A sense of wrongness radiated from the writhing mass and its spawned minions. The faint yet constant whisper made of a thousand indistinct voices that was ever present whispers that dwelt just at the edge of her hearing rose slightly in volume.
The shadowy drones shifted towards her, closing a good half dozen meters in a heartbeat.
Seven fought down the fear that clung to every atom of her very being, facing the shadows. She stepped into a shaft of light determined to show that she was not afraid.
Her sky blue eyes were filled with defiance. The dappled light that flitted though the dusty air glinted from metal eye brow from above her left eye. "Identify yourself!" Seven commanded her voice crisp and precise. For long moments the only reply was the never ending whispers as the drones twitched and jittered.
As one the Borg drones lurched forward and grasped her arms in painful vice like grips. She tried to fight them but they ignored every punch and kick. Even when she stuck at implants and vita areas that would have at least stagged a normal drone, these false hoods were unresponsive, she continued to struggle as they dragged toward the mass of back that seem almost eager to devour everything she was.
"Release me" She yelled. The drones didn't respond "Release me at once this...this is not right!" Seven screamed as she thrashed and kicked, again the drones only dragged closer to the waiting darkness. "Please...I do not want to go...this is not right...someone help me!" she pleaded kicking at of the drones legs but it did nothing. However as one the drones paused for a moment as if they sensed some threat.
The ebon black avian that had flown at her, warning about the encroaching darkness returned, its wings fanning out as it dove through the gloom. It was then she noticed the bird had blue eyes very similar. Its cry seemed to make the mass of darkness recoil and blotted out the ever present babbling voices that pressed in around her, at least for a time. The drones started to spasm violently though two managed to hold their grip, the bird clawed at one of the drones holding her, talons and beak racking its flesh which peeled off revealing not blood or physical matter underneath but yet more shadows. The drone released its grip as it staggered as its form flicked and then came apart.
"CAW" The avian decreed seeming satisfied as it swooned down to attack another of the drone's, this one was not unprepared as the other had being as it took a swing at the bird.
"NO" Seven yelled as she throw all her weight and strength behind an all mighty punch which collected with the drones that swung at the avian, exposed throat. She had to aid the bird as it had aided her. She put every iota of her being into that very notion as her blow connected with the drones pallid flesh. While none of her previous attacks had seemed to even phase the drones, this one had an effect as the drone she just stuck came apart. She stepped back shakily. "I do not understand" she said disbelieving.
She had little time to reflect as the avian flow past her, knocking several of the remaining drones off their feet. "Annika fallow" the avian instructed in a deep, claim masculine voice.
Seven couldn't hope to hide disbelief she felt flood her face at hearing her human name emanate from the birds inhuman throat but she did as she was bid and fallowed the bird. She ignored the drones as they started to recover.
The black avian radiated power and straight as he flew though the insides of the derelict vessel, the beat of his powerful wings dispelled the half formed images and shadows that played in the darkness at the corners of her vision.
For reasons she could not fully understand, she was certain the avian was indeed male. He let out a long mournful almost wailing "Caw" his call resounded within her, urging her forwards. Following the avian lead, she opened up a sizable lead on the shadowy drones and the veil of darkest that fallowed after them but she knew she could not escape them entirely.
His mere presence seemed to keep the lurking darkness at bay but never for long she could not rest, she could barely breath exhaustion was taking its toll but she did not faultier she did not stop. She had to run she had to get away to find some safe place.
It soon became apparent that her strange ally and guardian wasn't immune to exhaustion as the avian too seemed to be feeling the strain. His presence was no longer enough to keep the shadows that crawled at the edges of her vision at bay. The once powerful beat of his wings grew sluggish and slow, the gleam of his ebon black feathers faded with every passing meter.
The drones and were never far behind. Their shadowy progenitor swallowed everything in its wake, whole corridors she and her avian ally just vacated were consumed in darkness.
Seven pressed forward ignoring the burning sensation in her legs and chest.
"Fallow" The avian called as he swept decayed bulk head doors and though dusty labs.
The black lustier of his feathers had faded significantly and in places especially around his eyes and beak had started to fall away showing sickly skin underneath.
"Annika" the black bird called to her urging her on, his once powerful voice now weak and fading.
The shadowy drones were growing closer. "Leave me alone" Seven cried franticly her voice small and weak. The drones and the all consuming maw of darkness behind them, took no heed they as continued to close what little distance she and the bird could manage to keep between themselves and their hunters.
The drones were only few feet behind her, one tried to grab her. She managed to slip out of its hold at the last moment as she ran into an area of the ship she had never come upon before.
She had somehow found herself in a small bridge. For a moment she though it to be Voyagers bridge but it was far too small and compact. Large computer banks and consoles lined the walls. All of which were obsolete by Federation standards. A strange emotion that she was not familiar with permeated her being as she studied the bridge lay out she found herself oddly drawn to a large helm console in particular which sat in the middle of the room.
The Avian perched upon the small lip that surrounded the small view screen which displayed a panoramic view a dusty red planetoid the craft was racing towards. "I...know this place" she stated almost dreamily before griping her head as it felt like something was trying to drill its way out of her skull "Irrelevant" Seven screamed as she fell to her Knees with a crunch. The pain grew overwhelming.
As if stirred into being by this new sign of weakness, faint figures moved all around her. They were misty featureless spectres lacking any kind of definition but at the same time like this bridge if not the derelict craft as a whole they too seemed familiar. They flitted about like dust drifting though shafts of light, one moment they were there and the next moment they were gone.
The white notice grew louder and louder, the sheer volume of their assault forced her to her hands and knees, it was all she could do not to crawl into a little ball.
"I do not understand...I must... I must leave" Seven crawled around whimpering like a scared child as she turned back toward the door way she had just entered though to find it completely consumed by darkness. She clutched her ears to try and blot out the white noise as it built becoming painful loud.
"Annika go run"a familiar voice masculine roared above the white noise, it was far soften than the birds voice but no less familiar. She knew on an instinctual level that she should trust this voice.
"Annika hide" Another voice this one clearly female and bearing a remarkable similarity to her own though was far gentler pressed in, abject terror clung to every letter and syllable as the other voices became clearer. The other less distinct voices were also becoming clearer as the male and female voices dimmed.
"It will be alright"
"You will be assimilated, resistance is futile"
"You will be assimilated, resistance is futile"
"You will be assimilated, resistance is futile"
"Silence..." Seven screamed on the verge of hysterics, the black void sweat into the room its drones closed in around her, staring at her with dead eyes and blank expressions as one their mouths opened.
"...Error..Signal failed...error, Uplink compassed...error... homing bacon active...inactive...active...damage detected... reassimilation protocols ... error malfunction detected...redirect...Error... return"
She stared up to and met the eyes of her avian companion they were ancient knowing, filled with grief and resignation yet there was something else with in his piercing gaze, a spark of hope. The view screen he parched upon was filled utterly with the dusty red planetoid. The craft started to rattle and shake as they entered the outer atmosphere. Using the reminder of her strength she tried to stand despite knowing escape was imposable.
Shadows sweat in around her, corpse like hands cawed at her, dragging her into the black mass. Managing to free her human hand, she reached out to Avian that still stared at her, his eyes full of regret. "Help….me…please!" Seven screamed as she submerged up to her breasts in the shadowy mass of Borg drones.
The Avian unfurled his great wings and flew at her screeching "Annika" The last thing she saw before her head was submerged was the ebon bird with eyes as blue and fathomless as an empty sky flying towards her, talons out stretched.
Her eyes snapped open wide with fear as she fell from her alcove, sweat running down her face as an alarm droned its pre-recorded message a message she had heard four times before.
"Regeneration cycle incomplete"
"Com...Computer, deactivate alarm" Seven ordered as she scrambled as fast as she could on hands and feet to get away from her alcove and the four others that lined the wall next to it. The pale green light their complex displays emitted were the only light in the otherwise dark and foreboding cargo bay. "Computer lights"
The rooms light strips blinked on in less than a heart beat banishing the eerie shadows cast by the well ordered selves full of creates and barrows of all shapes and sizes. Even with proper illumination fear gripped her heart like it was being squizzed in a vice, she struggled to breathe as panic raced through her body her vision swam as her stomach turned violently.
The later most symptom, she usually assonated with consuming Mr Neelix's cooking. An experience she was intermittently though increasingly becoming familiar with, after her atrophied stomach had recovered enough form her years as a Borg drone to once again process bio matter on a regular basses. She had being relatively reassured by the hand full of crew members she was close enough to have a conversation with that lasted more than a hand full of minutes at a time, that such symptoms were to be expected where Mr Neelix's cooking was concerned.
Whereas the other symptoms she experienced such as dread, apprehension, irrational and illogical thoughts, elevated heart rate, difficulty in breathing and excessive sweating could only be antiquated to the stimuli that had come to plague her over the last few nights.
What was more concerning that these unwanted physiological and emotional responses she was experiencing were growing in straight as Voyager push onwards into a particularly bleak stretch of space. A cluster of solar systems which was so lacking in anything of note or value that even the irritatingly bureaucratic B'omar Sovereignty, were not as obstinate about to letting Voyager pass though this section of their territory as they could have being.
Her trembling Borg hand came up to the small Comm badge pined to her bio suit just above her left breast. "Computer, activate emergency sight to sight transport, authorization Seven of Nine, Epsilon one hundred and twenty five" she hissed out as her vision swam. It took every ounce of her strength and concentration to keep the darkness that clouded her vision to calm her.
"Designate location?" the computer asked.
"Sick bay, energize!" Seven gasped out.
The Doctor stood hunched over a series of microscopes and Petri dishes, "Your all making wonderful progress" he told the carefully cultivated sample of spores that an away team had brought onboard a few weeks ago, cheerfully unable to keep a smile from his weathered face. The spore's had nearly doubled in size over the last forty eight hours which meant he would have to transfer them to a larger container of growth medium very soon.
He hummed cheerful as he listened to subtly lilting tones of Garraysist and the Price of Peace as it built to its operatic climax. It was an early twenty seconded century opera written by a relatively famous Ktarian playwright, Mardonashk.
Despite considering himself a fairly well cultured man, 'well holo-graphic man' the doctor corrected internally. This was his first real foray into Ktarian music and he was mildly perturbed that it had never occurred to him to sample it until Samantha Wildman had recommended a few artists' after he had made a passing mention of wanting to experience something outside his usually tastes, when Samantha and her half Ktarian daughter, Namoi had come in for their check up.
He grinned as he read the results of the latest batch of tests which if accurate, which they most centrally were 'after all I'm the one conducting the tests'. The doctor thought smugly
He was on the verge of a breakthrough in creating a whole new antibiotic. Beaming like a cat that that had caught a mouse, he cleared his holographic throat, a pointless gesturer being a hologram but it was all a part of the experience and he joined in on the sweeping aria.
The Doctor turned to face the empty sick bay, his half balding head gleamed under the overhead lights. He picked put a long probe and waved it about as if to conduct an invisible orchestra. Inwardly he was thankful that it was quite early in Voyagers artificial morning and he wasn't expecting any visitors until midday. He had no wish to have any of the crew members rib him for his exuberant display.
As he joined in with the ballad imaging the opera's heroin the battle queen Garraysist and her faithful companions battling the dread Lord Kagarash forces on the great eastern Torark salt flats. He briefly wondered if he should alter his appearance from his standard dark blue uniform to better suit the opera.
When the familiar buzzing whine of a transporter spit the air before he could seriously consider that errant thought. 'I swear if this is Willian Telfer again, I'm going to ask the Captain revoke his replicator ration's for a mouth. I have being far too lenient with that man's hypochondriac as it is.' The Doctor Thought annoyance filling his lined face as the lights swirled as the transporter finished recompiling the atoms of his unexpected visitor. However it wasn't Telfar whom emerged from to resolved but rather Seven of Nine whom looked as far from her usually predestine self as could be imagined.
Her usually well maintained France twist hairdo had completely disintegrated, long strands of golden hair hung limply from her scalp in messy clumps. Her fair alabaster skin was unnaturally pail and the Doctor could clearly see blue veins underneath. Sweat ran in rivulets down her forehead and long neck, leaving her bio-suit damp. She swayed on her feet, her blue eyes blood shot and wild as she looked on the verge of hyperventilation.
"Seven!" The Doctor exclaimed august as he ran over, managing to catch her as she pitched forward. Tremors wracked her body as he guided her to the nearest bio bed. Her eyes were wide and full of panic and she was obviously having trouble breathing. Once she was situated he immediately picked up a tri-corder from a nearby table and ran a quick scan, her vitals were all hyper elevated "Just try and relax for a moment as I get you something that'll help calm you down" he told her as reassuringly as he could as he raced over to the nearest replicator.
A few moments later the machine materialized a small silver vile full of sedative specially designed for Seven's unique physiology. Standard Federation treatments had little effect on her. The nano probes in her blood steam adapted to verity any compound extremely quickly making it extremely difficult to maintain the delicate balance between her human biology and cruel Borg cybernetics that would be now a part of her for the rest of her days.
He loaded the sedative into a hypo spray and pressed it into her supple neck. He breathed a sigh of relief as her reading slowly returned to normal, 'well normal for Seven'. He thought belatedly noticing his opera's swelling music was still playing over the sick bay speakers. "Computer deactivate music"
"Your, be up and about in no time just give it a minute, it never ceases to amaze me how quickly you recovered from trauma, Seven" he stated cheerfully as she her sky blue eyes settled on him as he ran the tri quarter over her body. His cheerful expression evaporated as he complied more data, huge portions of her Limbic system along with a number of the systems within her cortical node were a in a state of hyperactivity though the reading were fading. The reading from her Hippocampus and Hypothalamus were strange. They were the parts of the brain that were the most responsible for controlling emotion and memory recall, respectable.
"If I didn't know better, I'd say you just experienced your first panic attack, But even if that's true the memory centres of your brain shouldn't be as active as they are..." He told her bemused concern filling his lined face as he absorbed the data feed to him by his devices. "Though some of these readings, i'd expect to see more in relation to Rem sleep...dreams or to be more accurate night mares in thise case
"Borg, do not have panic attacks...or night mares" Seven mumbled her normally crisp manor of speech slurred slightly as her body absorbed and filleted the sedative far faster than a human women of her weight, size and age would naturally do.
He quirked an thin brown eyebrow "Are you sure about that? Because my tri-corder doesn't line and judging by your reaction this one seems had to be a dozy" The doctor muttered as he gently brushed some of her blonde hair away from her left eye, the metal eyebrow like implant which partly encircled the eye socket, glinted under the sick bay lights. The skin around the implant was slightly greyer then normal almost as if the implant was leeching colour from her human tissues, he checked the skin around her other surface level implants at least those he could do visually without having to undress her. He saw the same discolouration around each of them.
Concurred he scanned Seven's cortical node and other implants but whatever the issue was it didn't lie with her remaining Borg systems they all seemed to be functioning normally in fact they seemed to be slightly better than normal. The only thing that was out of the normal, or as close as seven got to normal were the fact her nano probe levels were slightly higher than normal but well within acceptable limits.
Puzzled he turned to a nearby console and refocused the display of her Hippocampus, it was extremely unusual for it to be this active during a panic attack. It was the brains memory bank. "Tho, the level of actively in your Hippocampus suggests something deeper than recent recall" he said more to himself than Seven although judging by her expression which was equal parts dismissive and aggregated he'd put credits on he hit a nerve. She had experienced vivid flash backs to her human life shortly after he, Be'lanna had used the nero interface implant that was fixed to commander Chakotay's spine to server Seven of nine from the Borg collective but those had tapered off not long after she had accepted their aid in recovering her humanity or rather she stopped resisting their attempts to save her life.
While the Doctor studied her readings, Seven stiffly pushed herself off the bed and shakily stood up. He looked up just in time to put a steadying hand on her shoulder as she pitched forward. "And where do you think you're going?" the Doctor asked as he guided her back to the bio bed. He crossed his arms over his chest and giving her his best stern stare.
Hesitation then defiance quickly flashed over Seven's normal stoic features before she compelled her wayward emotions into compliance. She was unsure as to what had compelled her to try and remove herself from the Doctor's care but she had the sudden and intense desire to be somewhere any else. 'I'm clearly in no state to leave' she thought.
"I was merely going to return to cargo bay two and analyses my alcove and attempt to correct whatever malfunction has caused my present condition" she told him plainly.
The Doctor shook his balding head, the lines on his face deepened with concern. "An A for effort Seven but I don't think your alcove had anything to do with this," He told her sternly though not unkindly. "I think…this might be more of your humanity returning...your ability to dream though judging by your state I'd say this was more of a night terror or night mare which brought on a mild panic attack"
"You must be mistaken" she told him with a small shake of her head trying to ignore the faint images and emotions that clung to her mind even after the abrupt end of her regeneration cycle. "Borg, do not experience these conditions. The Collective would not allow any such flaws to exist within a drone." Seven sated with upmost certainty.
He rolled his light brown eyes, irritated at her dismissal. Despite the promising progress Seven had made in the last two months, since she had be freed from the Collective's influence. It was evident she still had a long way still to go before she truly accepted her humanity. Though considering how often her first experiences with humanity tended towards the negative it was hardly surprising that her rejection of her baseline humanity was still nearly as strong as it had being when she was first freed.
Thought clearly one of the main things holding Seven back was that she still clung to the belief that she was infallible as the borg believed themselves to be "Be that as it may, these read outs don't lie!" The Doctor told her firmly. "I know you're not going to want to hear this but what you just went though has all, the hall marks of a panic attack a classic sigh of PTSD... brought on by your years as a Borg drone"
She stared at him, her blue eyes blazed with defiance's. "You are mistaken Doctor! I was not traumatised by the collective I was raised by them" she snapped. Her anger at her early weakness had gotten the better of her before she could rain in her emotions. She saw alarm fill the Doctors face and she immediately regretted her words. "I… apologize, Doctor. You are merely trying to assist me. It has been difficult to process these recent experiences." Seven admitted quietly.
The Doctor sighed "I'm sorry too" he relented putting a reassuring hand on her shoulder which he the retracted as soon as he registered her slip, "Wait...Recent experiences?" he echoed suspicion filled his voice. While she could have being referring to her transition from a drone to her new found individuality. Something in her tone made him think otherwise. "Seven has this happened to you before tonight?"
She shifted uncomfortable under his gaze. She had not wished to alert anyone to the stimuli that had plagued her during her recent regeneration cycles, believing that they were a minor fault that she could correct. However all her efforts had ended in failure, she had run ever diagnostic she could think off and she had come up with nothing. Where ever the fault lie it wasn't in her Alcove, Voyagers systems or her initial implants. It was clear she needed assistance but understanding that fact logically and acting upon it was two different things. "This is not the first time I have experienced these… night terrors as you call them Doctor. Over the last four of my regeneration cycles I have respectively experienced very similar stimuli that I have found increasingly distressing." Seven told him honestly. "However only the most recent one has elicited this reaction"
"I see" The Doctor pinched his brow in dismay. "But why pray tell didn't you come to tell me about these dreams sooner?" he asked crossing his arms over his chest.
The implant that replaced her left eye brow twitched upwards. "Is it common practice for members of this crew to inform you of stimuli they experience while they are asleep?" Seven retorted.
"No" he admitted curtly. He pinched the bridge of his noise "I know we didn't get off to best start when we first met…Seven but you can come to me when you're having issues like this" he stated trailing off as he thought back to Seven's early days on Voyager. "I thought we've being making really progress in your recovery and you trusted me now" The told her unable to keep the hurt from his voice.
"I do trust you Doctor" Seven said reassuringly, though a small frown pulled at her lips "I merely failed to see how relaying what I have experienced during my most recent regeneration cycles could be of any benefit as I said I thought these stimuli were a malefaction but" Seven stated coolly "If these dreams...are an aspect of my humanity reasserting itself then something must be done to halt them."
The Doctor shook his head. "On the contrary Seven, there have being a multitude of studies Have proven that discussing ones dreams or mental trauma can be quite beneficial." He told the doubtful woman earnestly. "As unpleasant as these resent experiences have being for you Seven, they could lead you to an whole new appreciation of your humanity and open up a multitude of avenues for you to explore!" he exclaimed ecstatically.
"Perhaps Doctor" She agreed placating the exuberant hologram as she perused her lips. "However we should focus on treatment and preventing these unpleasant stimuli from adversely affecting my heath?"
"You might have a point there..." the Doctor said slowly drawing the world out as he would draw poison from a wound. "We can explore that avenue at a later date though it should be mentioned that not all your dreams will be bad ones Seven." He trailed off as he looked her up and down. He grimaced slightly "You may want to get cleaned up before we do anything else" he said indicating her sweat drenched bio suit. Seven looked down at herself seeming to only now notice the sorry state of her appearance. Despite her natural beautiful the former drone seemed to lack any kind of sense of shame, vanity or self awareness when it came to her own appearance. She nonchalantly stood to her full height and reached behind her back and started to unzip the back of her biosuit. "Wait...Maybe you should go into the changing room...I'm sure I still have one of your old biosuit's in there" the Doctor told her indicating the small alcove built into the back end of the sick bay. His face flushing crimson as he saw a hint of her black functional bra as she rolled the bio suit past her shoulders and began to crest her bust
Seven titled her head an expression of slight confusion flitted cross her face before she nonchalantly walked over to the changing room. She quickly striped herself before making use of the small sonic shower built into the anit chamber and found one of her old medical biosuits stored in the small foot locker alongside various medical gowns and undergarments garments. She quickly dressed in the slivery biosuit, which clung even closer to her natural form even more tightly than her usually grape. She existed, the changing room and saw that the doctor had relocated to his small office.
"Feeling better?" the Doctor asked, a slightly raised eyebrow was her only response as she strode purposefully up to his desk. "Take a set" he incanted a chair.
"I prefer to stand" Seven informed him casting the chair a sideways glance.
"Seven you've had a shock, while I'm not naive enough to suggest you take it easy today" he told her with exasperated sigh. 'She'd just ignore me if I did' he thought mildly annoyed. "You could at least take a set after the morning you've had"
She let out a small sigh as she lowered into the offered chair.
"Are you sitting comfortably?" he asked but before Seven could reply he carried on "Good then let's begin" The Doctor stated as he opened up a small box and retrieved a small back and sliver disk from inside. "Put this bio reader on please"
"Is that necessary Doctor?" Seven asked studying the small disk which sat neatly in the up turned palm of the Doctors hand. "Did you not scan my body when I entered the sick bay? And was this bio suit not designed, to serve a similar function to the bio reader?"
The Doctor pressed his lips "I thought if anyone would appreciate the necessities of redundancies it'd be you Seven" he queried mildly surprised that she hadn't just taken the bio reader 'it's not like Seven to be this obstinate'.
"You believe this bio suit would be insufficient for you to diagnose whatever is wrong with me?" Seven asked mildly concerned as she looked down at the slivery biosuit.
"Well... no" the Doctor admitted before falling into silence for a long moment as he thought through her question. "I just don't want to leave anything to chance. While I've learned a lot thanks to the medical data you've volunteered in regards to Borg medicine..." he explained distastefully. To call they did anything other than the most calluses form of butcherly imaginable was an insult to the very core of his being and spat in the face of even the most basic of ethics and medicine but he knew better than to get Seven on the defensive about the collective. "We shouldn't leave anything to chance if we what you to get better do we? The more I know the better treatment I can offer"
"Your diligence is appreciated" Seven told him earnestly, inwardly impressed at his sound and well reasoned argument. Her gaze lingered on the small black and silver disk as she reached over to take it. Reality seemed to flicker for a second. The bio reader went from a small sleek disk about the size of her thumb nail to an ugly spiked implant with ragged hooks. She retracted her hand as if she had being shocked even as the split second delusion faded from her mind's eye. "I would prefer that not to have the bio reader, on my person on this occasion Doctor"
The doctor frowned but saw the look of fear that flicked across Seven's features like spin lighting. "Maybe it's a bit much...humm" he trailed of as the computer on his desk beeped and he put the bio reader back where it belonged
"Have you found something already Doctor?" she asked
"I'm not sure, the memory centres of your brain are a still a bit more active, at least those that relate to long term memory are a little more active than normal but that could well be the lingering after effects of your night terror and your Nano probe count is a little high but not out of safe rangers" He informed her as he peered at his data
"That is... gratifying to hear Doctor..." Seven stated starting to stand
He held up a finger, "Just hold your horse's Seven" he pleaded as she started to leave his office "I also want you to consider allowing me to monitor your next regeneration cycle so we can see what's going on when you're regenerating."
Seven blanched slightly at the Doctor's proposition. "Doctor I would prefer not to be suspected to these stimuli again. "Is there no way that you can perhaps suppress my capacity to experience them, until a more permanent solution is found?" She asked curtly the images of the assimilated crew and ship had being visually unnerving to say to least, let alone being chased through a parody version of Voyager a Borg cube and someplace else.
He tapped his chin thoughtfully "I have be testing a new compound that shown some promise in dealing with insomnia, If I modified it could block your ability to dream but I'm hesitant to recommend that cause of action. The fact is we still have a lot to learn when it comes to the role dreams play in the chemistry of the brain or and there effects on the psyche. " The doctor said taping his chin thoughtfully "And historically efforts to control or block dreams, artificially have seldom ended well, more over as unpleasant as these dreams may be for you to experience Seven they like your need to eat is likely just another of your human systems returning to from dormancy."
The doctor leaned back as he saw something like apprehension and disappointment flicker across Seven's face. "What you might be experiencing could be the tip of a ice berg and there might not be a quick fix for this Seven and I'm not going to use an untested drug on you" he told her firmly.
Seven's blue eyes narrowed slightly, "You did not have an issue with that before when the captain ordered you to remove my implants"
"That was a different situation, we couldn't trust you yet Seven!" The doctor shot back weakly, truth was he couldn't blame Seven for her lingering anger. She had being Borg longer than she'd ever being human and the crew had hardly being universally welcoming. "But it wasn't right...I thought you were starting to acclimatise to it here?"
"I" Seven looked away back peddling as her anger faded "I have being making an attempt. It has being more difficult...than I expected..." She told the Doctor softly "The crew are wildly erratic. Many of their number are prone to objectively illogical conclusions and incognisant behaviour." She looked down at the palm of her human hand and closed then opened it several times recalling an incident from two weeks ago when she had cut it open while working on the construction of Astrometrics with Ensign Kim. He had shown her a great deal of compassion, at the time she had thought that act was merely an attempt to encourage her to copulate with him as his sexual attraction towards her was readily apparent. However when she brought up his inconstant behaviour when he refused her latter offer of copulation which she had only done so to prevent feather distraction. Ensign Kim had made a point to inform her that his offer of friendship and show of compassion were genuine and not motivated purely by his more carnal desires.
While his sexual attraction towards her remanded, it no longer distracted him. Which she supposed was a credit to one of the few people on board Voyager she could consider herself close too. "I have begun to appreciate of a number of our fellow crewmembers, despite their deficiencies."
"Why Seven I think that's the nicest thing I think I have ever heard you say about us" The Doctor told her playfully.
She frowned, her regal stoicism returning in full force. "I believe you miss understood my early comment. In regards to my treatment...or rather I wish to make an amendment. I am grateful that I am alive even if my current state has... taken some time getting used to." Seven told him firmly "However I do not wish to be subject to these dreams again...they frighten me..."
He was taken aback slightly by her admission, Seven had only ever admitted to being afraid once before when she was cut off from the Collective. What in the galaxy could have so rattled the former drone enough to admit she was in fact afraid, when she so rarely admitted to felling any emotion let alone fear? "I make no promises Seven, we are sailing though uncharted waters here by your own admission but I'll look into coming up with a salutation by the time you turn in for the night"
"I am grateful for that Doctor" Seven told him coolly as she started to stand.
"Seven, I'm hesitant to suggest this but my data base suggests that perhaps talking about what you saw and felt in your dream might help." He suggested mildly. Her human eye brow hitched upwards. "You don't have to talk to me Seven but you should talk to someone, maybe commander Chakotay can help..." The Doctor trailed of knowing it wasn't very likely that Chakotay would want to help Seven, considering their history as with the possible expectation of Be'lanna. Chakotay had being the least welcoming but he knew the commander well enough that he would help anyone, even Seven of Nine if given the chance. It was just in his nature
He hated to admit it but sadly Commander Chakotay was the closest thing they had to a consoler on Voyager. 'That is something I should really look into' the Doctor thought. While his data base was filled with all manner of medical treatments for mental disorders, they often required more than just a drug here and a change of life style there.
Seven pursed in thought, while he was not a qualified consular. Commander Chakotay had added her in better understanding her misunderstanding with Ensign Kim a few weeks ago and he had assisted her in a few other matters. There was also the fact that Commander Chakotay's faith to consider or rather how he practiced it, while she had no wish to be subjected to the process itself, she did have a functional understanding that one of the more important elements of the practice was the interpretation of surreal imagery. He could there for offer insight and possible assist her of ridding herself of the stimuli that assaulted her recently. "I will take your suggestion in regrades to Commander Chakotay under advisement". She stated before another thought occurred to her as she stood up making read to leave, "Perhaps some information regarding what I have experienced and felt could assist you in finding a treatment?"
"It couldn't hurt" The Doctor indicated the chair she had vacated however this time Seven remained Standing.
The Doctor knitted his fingers together forming an arch as he leaned forward resting his elbows on the top of the small office table he sat behind as he absorbed everything Seven had just told him. "Have you considered that might you might be afraid of the collective on some level?" The doctor asked choosing his words carefully. The last thing he wanted was for seven to shot down.
She titled her head, her lips forming a tight thin line "My form may have changed, I may be an individual now but I am still Borg, Doctor. It would be illogical to fear the others just as it would be illogical for you're to fear returning to your original settings. If I were to return to the collective it would simply be returning to a previous state of being." She stated "One that is far more familiar to me than my current one" Seven clarified
The Doctor groaned inwardly as he leaned back in his chair "Your wrong about me not being frightened of returning to what I was...before" He told her. "I like being the, me that I am now. I've grown more in the last three years than I could have ever just as your regular old EMH if Voyager had never being stranded it's the same for you I think"
"Your reasoning is flawed Doctor, if Voyager had not being stranded neither of us would being aware of that we could change. We would have no regrets because we could not have conceived of them." Seven told him pointing out the flaw in his logic.
He hung his head "Well if that doesn't get you starting at the wall for a few hours nothing will." The doctor muttered suddenly feeling a mix of gratitude for circumstances that had allowed him to become what he now was and shame because his own person hood came about only because everyone else on this ship was some sixty thousand light years away from their loved ones.
"Why would I stare at a wall Doctor for such a period of time?" Seven asked her head titled her brow caressed.
"Dammed enhanced hearing..." he murmured darkly "I don't know" he spluttered "Existential dread! it's only luck that I'm me and your, you!" The Doctor stated theatrically as he stood up and ran his fingers through his thin hair. "Or the fact that you don't seem to care, that the Borg have you so tightly wound you wouldn't mind jumping ship and plugging us all in to the hive mind a heartbeat" He regretted the words as soon as they left his mouth, her brow wrinkled feather her blue eyes flared. "Seven I didn't mean that..."
"I would not endanger this crew by seeking out the collective nor would I assimilate you, Doctor" Seven said matter of fact though she was unable to keep the hurt from her voice.
"I know that Seven...really I do...it's just" He doctor trailed of hanging his head in shame. "Ok can you humour me for a moment here because I need to ask ...do you want to go back to the Borg?"
"I just stated I would not endanger the crew" Seven said a hint of frustration in her voice.
"What if you were alone, say you'd had being served from the collective and you became the same person you've become over the two mouths and your going back wouldn't endanger anyone?" The Doctor asked.
"I..." Seven paused as she couldn't help but a recall a conversation she had with Captain Janeway a few days before her dreams started. The Captain had encouraged her to use her imagination, telling her imagination was a vital part of humanity. "The collective would reassimilate me, any knowledge or experience's I gained as an individual would be analysed, the relevant material stored and the irrelevant data discarded"
The Doctor shook his head sadly "That's not what I asked Seven" He reminded her genteelly trading carful as she looked about apprehensively. "Do you want to go back, would you go back?"
She took a step back uncertainly raced around in on her mind, she had never being asked that question before. 'What do I want?' she looked down at her hands, one human one Borg. She closed the latter making a fist, she could feel the circuitry, the million little connections and exchanges between synthetic fibber mussels, internal wiring and the exoskeleton that was grafted onto the bones and mussel of the original limb. Everything that had being found wanting by the extracting standings of the Collective had being removed and then replaced by unyielding uncompromising metal and synthetic substitutes. She felt the two assimilation tubes built into the mechanism nestled just under her skin ready and waiting for use. They were practically extensions of her body, the same as any other limb.
She turned her attention to her human hand, the limb was entirely organic. Like its metal clad twin she closed it into a fist. She felt a different kind of connection, she felt the mussels pull, bones and skin shift, no metal, now exciting exchange of information no need to filter and correct and input. The limb simple existed as it had always done so, she didn't have to think about it in the sightliest. There was simplify there.
There was no discomfit, only flesh and her dull but consent background awareness and acceptant of the limb as part of her, came as easily as breathing. There wasn't the same effortless connection with her enhanced limb. If anything she was, hyper aware of her Borg hand at all times. Like a weight she could never drop because it was grafted to her bones and tissue.
She had changed so much in two mouths, cut off from the perfection and direction the collective had always installed within her, the vast majority of her implants were gone. Only the implants, the Doctor couldn't remove without jeopardising her life or couldn't be substituted, remained. She had being a drone longer than she'd ever being human but now? She wasn't fully human either mental or physically speaking yet she had adapted to her altered form quickly. Even with its deficiencies. 'When did that happened?' Seven mussed 'How did I not notice?' unease crawled up her spine.
That unease turned into something else, something that felt like a hot wire had somehow being introduced to her system, wrapped around her being and pulled taught. She rubbed her head as she felt as sudden sensation of pain and pressure all over her body. She was used to such sections, disagreements between her human body and her Borg systems were a consent annoyance, yet they were rarely this all encompassing.
For a faction of a seconded, as she looked away from her hands she saw the derelict that filled her dreams rather than the familiar surroundings of sickbay. "No" She gasped stepping backwards.
"Seven?" The Doctor looked up from his work, his gaze expectant.
"I am fine Doctor" Seven stated blinking the vision away, the sick bay was as it had always being. She breathed a sigh even as the pressure on certain parts of her body increased "Am I free to go about my duties?" she asked hoping he wouldn't catch her in a lie. She was unused to deception.
He sighed "I prefer you didn't but I know better than to argue with you about your work effect, go on" The Doctor waved her off.
Next chapter Fateful symmetry