AN: this chapter will have a few flash back scenes which will be marked out by italic script. Hope this helps
One last thanks to my friend Imaxmovies for lending a hand
I don't own star trek and I wouldn't know what to do with it if I did.
On ravens wings Chapter 4: remembrance
"What else a ghost but a memory that refuses to be forgotten?" Moarte long box of the dammed, Atop the forth wall. Linkara.
"Though here commander" Seven stated indicating a gapping crack in the middle section of the craft just where the long thick neck of the vessel met its body, savage splinters of rusted metal pocked out of the hole like broken teeth. "I have scanned the interior, this entry point provides the shortest and most structurally sound route to our destination"
Chakotay couldn't help but smirk at the absurdity of Sevens statement, she had attacked the crew that had taken her in. Kidnapped him for reason's even the former drone didn't seem to understand herself, force marched though a hellish alien wasteland up to the resting place of a long dead ship and now, NOW she was concerned about safety. "Lead the way" Chakotay said just able to quash the glib humour that threatened to have him brake out in laughter.
Seven pursed for a moment studying the commander's expression, he seemed amused by something but what she couldn't say humour was something she frequently had trouble understanding. She dismissed the commanders flippancy as irrelevant as she stepped past though jiggered metal entrance and into the wrecked craft.
Fire had clearly rushed in through the holes in hull during the ships last minutes as it plunged to its shandy grave, though much of the ash had fallen away in the long years since the ship had come to its final resting spot. However the legacy of those savage fires was plan to see, the metals and plastics that made up the ships darken innards had twisted and buckled in unnatural ways. Sand had poured though the rents in the structure of the craft, the finer practicals hung in the air hanging suspended in the weak shafts of fading light light. Something with far too many legs scuttled across the floor a dozen or so meters a head of her and the commander before squeezing its long body in room that had collapsed. Its glossy green eyes watched them from the dark.
As they pressed deeper into the craft Seven was unable to shack the sense of familiarity that closed in about her, especial when they came upon sections of the craft were the damage was not as total and the sand had not pushed in as thick and heavy as it had nearer the tears and holes in the structure.
Seeing a flint glint in the sand, Seven bent and brushing away the top layer to find a small golden ring with gem set at the top. She clutched her head as an image pressed into her mind with the force of a physical impact.
She was sitting in front of a vanity, or rather her younger self was. Her smile bright and infectious as she admired a golden ring she had slipped onto the unarmed human fingers of her left hand, the hand that would once dance be encased party by unforgiving metal. "Mamma's ring is so petty" she cooed.
"Annika...Annika" Her father called before entering her small room. He stepped though the thresh hold filling it with his built. Despite his intellectual profession Magus Hanson was a large study man, with closely cropped blond hair and strong jaw line. "Have you seen.." he trailed off as his eyes fell took in his daughters expression as she desperately tried to slip his wife's ring of her finger. She had turned as red as sin. "Askling how many times have we told you not to take things that don't belong to you?"
She surged "A lot?"
Magus chuckled as he stepped over to examine his daughters hand and his wife ring that was clearly stuck on her ring finger. "Yes a lot, and looks like we're going to need the soap to get this off before your mother finds out, looks like you've bent it out of shape"
She pouted "Can't I keep it?"
"One day Askling when you meet the right person that you love and Love's you, you'll have your own ring." Magus told his chil as kindly and warmly as he could to prevent her from turning on the water works, god knew he became putter in his daughter's hands when she did that. He didn't look forward to her teenage years in the slightest, the idea of his baby girl meeting some boy or girl and not being in his life as much as she was right no scared him more that what he had discovered through, his and Erin's studies.
"When will that be?" She asked quickly admiring the ring as if she were a bower bird whom had found a particularly shiny babble to add to her nest.
Magus ruffled his daughters, long golden hair which had darken from the white gold of her toddler years to a more golden straw hue in last year and a half.. "Not for a long time I hope" told her honestly. Annika was despite her young age a very bright child.
Seven swayed as if she was buffed by a wind. "This was mama's ring...I lived on this ship with...my papa and mama"
Chakotay nodded gravely but he dare not utter a word. He didn't fully understand the exact mechanics of what was going on but somehow Seven had being brought back to where it all started, where her brief childhood and innocence had being stripped from her. He knew life sometimes had a cruel symmetry to it, he had personally experienced such irony. He had being so eager to leave Home, to be the modern man, his father and people refused to be. He wanted to show everyone that their ways, their lifestyle and culture that had being ravaged through history and was finally pierced back together could exist alongside the larger federation without being lost or subsumed. He would be the trail brassier for all those that came after him.
Only for that all the come part and end up fighting for the home he abounded though the planet itself was a scorched wasteland. Chakotay shook his head clearing his mind as he fallowed Seven deeper into the wreck 'I can't allow myself to be distracted by my ghosts while Seven is confronting hers.' He told himself as the air grew thicker and took on a chill as beyond the shell of the ship, as the sun finally and completely dipped below the distant horizon.
Mosses and Fungi that had taken root were moisture gathered in the dark forbidding ship started to glow, though such small gathering provided little light. "Hold on I got a flash light" he said as he fished about in his pants pocket.
"That is unnecessary commander; my ocular implant provides me with what you would call, night vision. I am able to see in near total darkness" Seven informed him passively as she continued walk towards the source of the pull. It was close.
"That's great for you but some of us don't have ocular implant's" Chakotay told her rolling his eyes as he pulled out the long slender flash light from a small supply bag he had brought with him and switched it on alimenting the path a head."Too bad there is nothing to see" he sighed as the light revealed little more than what he had already seen of the ship before night fell.
It took little time for them to reach the bridge or what was left of it. The forward view screen was utterly smashed. Chakotay realised the ship or rather the bridge rested on a small Plato that stat above a large swath of land.
Out amongst the dunes and rocky crags there were reefs of glowing lights created by entire ecosystems of bioluminescent life. They admitted a dozens of defect colours and various hues, everything from ocean green to royal purple lit the dark land forbidding landscape. It made for a strange but beautiful sight.
"But I'm not here to sight see" he chastised himself for his brief distraction as he returned his attention to the task at hand and widened his flash lights beam as far as he could and jammed it into a small rust eaten hole above the door frame. Sending two dozen small betel creatures scuttling into the multitude of holes and crakes time and crewed into the bridge's floor wall and ceiling, the .
The walls were lined with dusty computer banks, some of which had being smashed others still miraculous had power, a few faint lights blinking in on off. He walked over to one of the closest terminals, brushed away the cobwebs and dust and pressed a few buttons. With a whine and shudder the cracked screen flicked to life. A series of letters and numbers squalled quickly down the screen as if it had only be last turned on yesterday rather than nearly twenty years ago.
"Your parents put in a lot of effort into preserving their research" Chakotay noted grimly to Seven as she hovered over his shoulder. He clicked on one folder labelled anatomy and the screen filled walls of text, sub folders and pictures some of which were on the grisly side. All of it focused on the Borg.
Seven blinked as indistinct memories bubbled up to the surface of her mind, through no one single recollection was strong enough to make any kind of impression. "They worked contently..." She murmured quietly, her brow caressed as she felt a twinge of anger towards parents whom she barely recalled before entering this derelict ship.
"Apples and trees" Chakotay said quietly unable to miss Seven's pained expectation and turned away from the thermal "Kathryn called them maverick's when she had compiled everything we could get on your past from Voyagers data base, not that was much..." He could think of a few less flattering terms for them as he looked over to Seven, her body riddles with implants, foolish, oppressive, irresponsible. "Do you remember any of this Seven?" he asked as he dusted of a bonze metal rectangle board that had fallen to the floor nearby.
Etched into its surface at the top was the ships name, USS Raven under which was the crew's manifest, Magnus Hanson, Erin Hanson and Annika Hanson. A stylised image of the ships name sake was branded into the metal work. Its wings were outstretched and talons posed to snatch up some unwary prey filled the rest of the board. 'Was it worth it?' he wondered staring at the first two names etched into the board. 'No I think not. Nothing left now save for some dusty notes, a deranged daughter and a metal marker for the grave of your ambitions' he thought his hackles razed as he dropped the board to the floor and sweat as for the first time since entering the bridge he saw a small green light emanate from the helm.
At first he thought it was a trick of the light but no, the glow was too consistent. He walked closer careful observing the Tumour like growths of metal had over run much of the helm and its surroundings, thick vain like tendrils supported from the centre most growth expanding its vile reach to the walls and ceiling. He ran his tri-corder over the bazaar assembly and found to his horror the thing in the centre was drawing power from the ship, like a parasite that refused to let go long after it had drained its host dry. Though his scan interacted there wasn't much left that the Borg equipment could draw upon to sustain its own functions it drew now on the dregs of the dregs and yet somehow that small amount of power was enough to call to Seven.
His gaze were drawn away from the cancerous growth and back to the former drone women, his hand drifting toward the small lazer scapple he had snagged from the shuttles emergency medical kit before they left.
Seven was passing about the room like a large predatory cat trapped in an enclosure far too small for it. She brushed some sand and dust away from one of the walls revealing a series of lines scratched into the walls the highest of with her human name scratched next to it. "I was smaller than as a child...but papa said I would be a big girl soon" Seven explained her expression distant as if remembering these moments from her past it for the first time.
"But you'll always be my little explorer..." her father said as he finished etching her name in the wall.
Seven swung around expecting to see him in the room, tell her it would be right. Tell her how brave and smart she was and how he and her mother would keep her safe. There was no one in the bridge other than herself and commander Chakotay.
"Mamma and Pupa had important work...they said they couldn't do on Earth..." she whispered as she ran a hand over a few of the computers "We were trying to find some people...Borg they were studying the Borg"
"How did they know about the Borg in the first place?" Chakotay wondered as he tried to peace things together. "They would have had to launch this ship years before Q high jacked the Enterprise given how old it and you are...sure there had being rumours. Ghost stories going back to Kirk's time but the Federation didn't know about the Borg until..." he trailed off as Seven grabbed her head
"My head..." she yelled as she dropped to her knees, Chakotay hesitated before rushing over to her.
"Seven stay with me, your stronger than this fight it!" Chakotay yelled running over to her unsure what to do.
A bright smile filled her face as she looked down as the pinkish white cake with two dozen sliced strawberries sprinkled across its suffice, a thin layer of chocolate source covered the whole thing. Her name was spelled out in sprinkles with six candles lined up in a role under it. Her mother lit a seventh and placed it under the others
"Happy birth day Annika" Mamma cheered happily as she shot her husband a dirty look as he fused over one of the computers. "Do you know why you have Seven candles baby?" she asked sweetly.
Seven nodded "Six for my age and one to grow on" she said her voice pained
"Seven?" Chakotay queried concerned as he saw Seven was talking to someone who wasn't there. "Block them out Seven, its that Borg thing on the helm console making you see things...It isn't real" he told her but he knew for certain it was but over eighteen years out of date.
Seven shook her head unable to keep the past, her past which flowed like into her, filling her up as if she was an empathy cup "Magus it's your daughter's birthday, work can wait til she's blown out her candles!" Erin said through gritted teeth as she stared at her husband her gorge rising.
"Make sure to make a wish...Hon..." He waved absently at the pair, his eyes glued to the data that scrolled across his work station. He gasped "...Erin , come look at this I think I've discovered something amazing"
"What?" Erin rushed over and pushed her husband aside
"Mamma, what about the song?" she asked as she looked at the Seven smothering candles. Her lib wavered "and my presents?"
"Latter darling mamma and Papa are working now" Erin said as she excitedly jotted down notes
"But you're always working...it's my birthday" she sniffed. She usually did as she was told without complaint, her parents always told her she was a good girl when she got out of their hair and let them work in peace. However recently she was getting increasingly annoyed at her parents. They spent more and more time with their work and less and less time with her. She knew it was selfish, they had always said their work was important but she wanted more of their time at least for today. "It not fair, you care more about them then you do me" she whined tears flowing freely from her face as she pointed to the massive slab sided cube that filled the view screen.
Magnus exchanged a guilty look with his wife and could tell by the strain in her own eyes, she felt the same. "She's right you know..."
Erin was about to respond when her attention was snatched away an alarm that started to blare. She spited over to a console "Magus, Get to the helm. There is category two ion storm, heading right for us...we need to brake pursuit of the cube in case any of our stealth systems gets disrupted."
"We handled up to cat threes before and the systems have never failed us." Magnus stated waving off his wife's concerns.
"Yes" Erin admitted "But we haven't had time to really recalibrate the systems for mouths, the Raven isn't want it once was...if our damper fails they will see us and this time they might take in interest. They have plenty of reason to"
He rolled his eyes "Fine but I think your worrying over nothing" He said as he leisurely walked over to the helm "I hope we don't lose the cube, the resent data might be the break through we're looking for..." He trailed off as he started to turn the ship away from the storm but he was a moment too late.
The storm ponced.
The Raven shuddered as it was buffeted like a toy in a bath tub, bands of electricity arched across its hull.
She screamed as several lights above her exploded, she and her cake went tumbling to the floor. Several banks of computers started sparking. Micro meteors carried within the maelstrom of raw power petted the hull like hail. A portion of the helm burst into flames making Magnus shy away lest he be burned. He quickly grappled a nearby fire extinguisher to put out the blaze before it got out of control.
In total the storm lasted only a handful of minutes before it left the Raven behind but the damage was done.
She was crying, she had cut her arm on the way down to the ground.
"Annika it's alright sweetie Mamma's here, the storms past" Erin said running over to console her child. "That's a nasty cut there. Let me grip the med kit"
Magus groaned as he fanned away the last of the smoke "Cat two my arse, that had to be a cat four or five at the least...oh god"
"Magus...?" Erin looked up from her child and noticed the cube they had being fallowing had completely stopped and though she knew it was imposable to discern a expression from a ship, especially one as featureless as a Borg cube but she could have sworn the cube was looking at them.
"All the stealth systems are down...they can see us...their hailing us"
A multitude of modulated voices that were neither male nor female filled the comm. As the view screen filled with the slab sided, bulk of a Borg cube "We are the Borg. Lower your shields and surrender your vessel. We will add your biological and technologic distinctiveness to our own. Resistance is future"
Seven clutched her head as more memories poured into her mind.
"Come on girl you can do it...just a little more..." Magus whispered as he stroked the helm lovingly. His face was grimy from sweat, his once handsome face gaunt and pail, heavy bags hung under his strained eyes. He had barely slept a wink in the last couple of days. The ship however could not be coaxed and groaned as if in pain "Dame it...were coming out of warp...it's going to be ruff...Brace"
The ship seemed to scream in pain as hyperspace spat the little ship out.
"Where are we?" Erin asked whipping grease and oil from her face as she finished rewiring a burn out console.
"No idea the engine cut out five light years to early, I can't find this system on any of our charts". He brushed his sweat drenched hair out of his eyes. "We need to get the engine going again..." he Breathed out a sigh as he looked out the long rang scanner. "At least radar is clean for now"
"It's being clean before" Erin snapped own appearance little better than her husband.
"They just won't stop hounding us..." Magus agreed franticly "It's being two weeks for gods shake... we need to set down some were and hide for a spell... they will give up eventually they have to...Any luck bring any of the stealth systems back online?"
"Completely burnt out" Erin shook her head "We need to land some ware and do real repairs, the Raven's falling apart around us!" she jested the sorry state of the bridge. Panels had being stripped away from walls, Cables hung from the ceiling like jungle creepers. There wasn't a system on board that had not being comprised or cannibalised. It was a miracle that their ship had held up this long given all they had asked of it in recent days.
"I'll scan the local system...humm...the best we can hope for is an L class moon, in orbit of that gas giant..." Magus pointed to the large multi coloured beast that would have put Jupiter to shame as it was easily twice the size if not larger.
Erin nodded "I'll see if I can convene the engines to give impulse at least, I don't like being in open space..." she hesitated her as eyes fell to a makeshift small lab that she and her husband had knock together after a drone had beamed into the old one and they voided it. "Any luck with, EDEN?"
Magnus sighed as he cast the make shift lab a tired glance. "Maybe" he said as he rubbed her forehead "We didn't have a lot of time to study the mutation in tubs and crank...but I was able to replicate it and I've made enough for the three of us should the worst happen. God knows if it's even does what we think does, or if it works at all...It would be easier if we didn't have to scup files every time we get so much as a blip"
"It's safer that way, it EDEN is what we think it is we can't let the Borg Have it" Erin reminded him. "Is it read to use?"
Magus looked to stars beyond "I just don't know..."
An alarm started blaring, Magus cursed as he rushed back to helm "Tran's warp aperture opening 1000 kilometres of the port side...They'll be on us again in no time...leave us alone" Magus screamed as a portion of the view screen focused in on the cube.
Erin pulled at her hair, "If we can get to that moon we can go to ground, use the escape pods if we have to. They can have the Raven" She said sprinted from the bridge
"Erin wait..." he yelled after but it was too late she was both right and out of sight "Annika...Come here darling" Magnus bleatingly noticing his daughter pop her head around the coroner. He has no idea how much she had herd or how long she had being standing there like a ghost. He rolled up his sleeve and grappled two of the hyper sprays he had prefilled with their last hope. He looked up to the ceiling "I've never being much of believer in you, but god please if your there let this work like we think it dose...keep us together as a family" He grimaced as he pressed the hypo spray into his arm. "Now your turn Annika..."
The ship was shacking, as it entered outer atmosphere of the small red moon. Neither the half a dozen drones that stalked the halls or the Raven crew of three could keep their footing as the ship dived downwards.
Annika screamed as her father picked her up and cared her over his shoulder, two drones lumbered into view, one grabbing his wife whom was coming the other way before she could react and pinning her to the floor.
"Magus! Take Annika run it's too late for me..." Erin screamed as she struggled uselessly against the drone on her back. Its assimilation tubes extended ready to rip away her humanity.
"Erin! NO!" Magnus screamed as he fired his phaser pistol at drone. Its shield flicked to life. His daughter who was trashing against him, raw panic and terror gripping her heart in its steely grasp
"Leave Mamma alone..." She pleaded with the drones trying to get out of her father's grasp so she could run to her mother.
Its fellow which stood a meter or two back from the grisly sight fired a strange implant built into its arm, Magus ducked at the last second as darts full of nano probes stuck the wall behind him. Were the darts imbedded themselves into the wall, Borg growths quickly sported and spread.
Thinking quickly Magus adjusted his aim and fired at an exposed bundle of wires next to the drone that had just fired darts at him. He must have hit a something combustible as the a small portion of the wall exploded, the felling the dart drone as it caught light and fell to the ground. The drone straddling his wife ironically saved itself and his wife from sharing its kindred's fate as its shielding flashed but that had only delayed the inevitable. The drone plugged its assimilation tubes into her neck.
Erin screamed as felt the nano props enter her blood stream. Already she could hear the voices of the collective close in around her. Like a physical weight. There were so many, billions speaking as one. She met her husband and Annika eyes one last time."RUN..."
Magus watched his wife's eyes go form sky blue, full of life and panic to being dull pinpricks as the love of his life's, mind, was subsumed. Her left eye dissolved a metal implant took its place. Erin and the drone on top of her disappeared in a flash of green light replaced by two other drones. "NOOOO!" Magus screamed as he sprinted away with his child in his arms, his phaser dropped to the floor.
"No Mamma!" Annika wailed in despair as her father carried away as the drones blocked of any means of escape via the escape pods. "Bring Mamma back!"
"There were so many" Seven said as she crawled towards the helm, the small green light at its pulsed faster and faster as its drew upon the last ebbs of power within the ship. The consoles around the bridge all started winking out one by one. "They got mamma and Papa carried me...away..." she tailed of tears flowing down her cheeks "He fell...one of the bad man gapped him... He tried to fight...but the drone was so strong and there were so many of them...he told me he loved me...he told me to run...hide"
"I'm sure that they both did" Chakotay told her empathically, 'if they really loved her, they wouldn't have taken their daughter with them to study the Borg' He thought struggling to keep the contempt he felt grow with in him towards Seven's irresponsible parents, from showing on his face. He watched helplessly as Seven became more and more frantic, her words and speech patens becoming more juvenile. It was clear that the memory's were taking a toll on the drone women, she wasn't just recalling them. She was reliving them.
She was running her little legs burning with fatigue. The drones were right behind her. The ship was shaking apart as it entered the gravity well of a small red moon. She hit a few buttons as she entered the bridge, ones papa and mamma told her to press if anything bad happen. The bridge doors closed with a hiss but between heart beets, dents started appearing in the metal, a section of the door was peeled away a pail hand lined with sliver veins came through.
She looked around for some were to run, there wasn't any way out of the bridge. She had to hide. "Papa told me to hid...he'll fight them off. I just got to hid and wait for him" she told herself to stop from freezing up with fear. She spotted the helm and dived under it making, herself as small as she possible could.
Seven mimicked her younger, self's last actions. She crawled under the helm and began rocking back and for muttering. "Papa will come...he will save me...the bad men are coming the...bad men are here" she pointed to the empty doorway.
"Seven...listen to me there is no one here but me, your safe" Chakotay pleaded but Seven only screamed in aspect terror as she was harassed by things only she could see. His eyes were once again drawn to the green light that pulsed weakly on top of the helm. He pulled out his lazar scalpel diled it up to full and went to work cutting ever foul tube and conection he could find. It wasn't ideal for the task as this type of scapple was more intended to be used on flesh and bone rather than metal. It wasn't enough, Sevens screams became more desperate he looked over his shoulder and saw the metal crew manifest plate lying where he dropped it. Putting all other thoughts aside he ran over picked it up and with all his might brought it down on top of the small green light which was flashing an almost consent know. The metal growth came part in a shower of sparks as he all but imbedded the plate into the what was left of the Ravens warped helm.
She stoped screaming and rolling on the floor in pain, her eye opened and she blinked full of confusion. A little colour filled her face. "Oh thank goodness, your back Seven" Chakotay told her breathing a sigh of relief as he got down on his hands and knees and offered her his hand.
"Ga bort, Ga bort"
Seven or rather some aspect of Annika screeched as she batting away his hand. She may have being free of whatever the thing on the helm was doing to her but it had clearly taken its toll "Great what do I now?"
As if to answer his prays the chill night air that filled the ruined bridge was split by the familiar whining buzz of a transporter beam. He turned around to see Tuvok , Tom and the Doctor materialise behind him.
The Doctor rushed over first, a medical tri quarter at the ready "It's worse than I thought, nearly forth present of the implants I removed two months ago have regrown most of which don't seem to be in working correctly, she also seems to be experiencing a some kind of mental breakdown..." He exclaimed
Tom whistled tunelessly as he panned his flash light and tri quarter over the wreck of the bridge "We've had some cow boys in here..." he grimaces as the Doctor and Chakotay shot him a heated glance, Tuvok as always remained impassive "Right... right not the time...I'll just see if I can pull something from the computers maybe get a down load going with Voyager might be something that can help her...but this is normally Harry's or Be'lanna's department...though it might be a good thing Be'lanna didn't come down here she would have a meltdown if she saw this mess..." He trailed off as he reached into a charring case he had brought with him, fished up a portable battery and hooked into one of the nearby computers universal ports.
"It is good to see you are unharmed commander" Tuvok said stockily his eye brow raised as he took in the commanders dishevelled state.
"A few scrapes and bruises but nothing to complain about... Seven that need our help" Chakotay said as he dusted himself off.
"I may be able to claim her mind" Tuvok stated solemnly as he closed the distance
"Now hold on, it's bad enough having one crewmember having a mental break down, there is no reason to risk another" The doctor protested.
"I was under the impression time was of the essence Doctor?" Tuvok asked his gaze firm but understanding. "Do you have the means to safely sedate Seven of Nine and bring her mind back into alignment before, I believe you said it late?"
The Doctor shifted nervously "Not exactly"
Chakotay patted Tuvok on the shoulder and took him to one side "It not going to be pleasant in there" He jested to Seven "...I only saw fragments of what she's going though when I was in her mind when we cu her off from the collective but you could see the whole thing..."
Tuvok nodded "I am aware of the risks commander, but it must be done." with that the dark skinned Vulcan kneeled down and gently pressed his finger tips to each side of her face. "My mind to your mind..." Seven's panicked screaming and thrashing slowed the glint in her eyes dulled, she let out a small sigh and then she fell asleep. Tuvok stagged back from the former drone, he met the other three men's worried gazes. "I have quietened her mind allowed her to rest but she may require my aid again before this is done. Doctor I suggest you and I should take Seven back to Voyager"
"Seven of Nine personal log supplementary" Seven dictated to the console in the centre of the cargo bay, the closest thing she had to a personal computer though in truth she didn't require one. Her mind would retain any and all information she absorbed. 'Though that assumption had being proven false hadn't it?' She mused she swept her impassive gaze of the six large dull grey metal creates that had being deposited in front of one of the spare alcoves.
"It has being three days since, the Doctor completed the last of the surgeries required to removed the excess implants from my body and nearly six days since I was recovered from the Hansen's...my parents ship the Raven, by the Doctor, Lieutenant Paris, and Commanders Tuvok and Chakotay. I have being informed that Commander Tuvok is expected to make fully recover in the coming days."
Seven hesitated "I feel a great deal of apperception for Tuvoks intervention and Commander Chakotay's companionship when I was under the influence of the damaged Borg homing beacon. My research has indicated that it is a human custom to give one a gift as way of thanks for aid given...However I doubt either man would welcome such a presumption on my part, I am certain they would have done the same for any member of Voyagers crew ... Perhaps I could give Tuvok one of the get well basket's Mr Neelix's has left me."
Her eyes drifted away from the console she worked behind and towards the half a dozen wooden baskets that littered the selves of the cargo by. They were crammed full garishly clashing colours from all over the light spectrum humans were accustoming to seeing, small rubber bladders full of lighter than air gas's were attached to each. She had being informed that these were called balloons. "However having sampled one of these I am unsure how confection, non medicinal flowers and what appear to be crude representations of terrain ursine are meant to aid recovery"
Seven breathed as her gaze drifted form the collection of 'get well soon' baskets and to the dull grey cargo creates that had also appeared over the last few days. Her gaze went from bemused confusion to degust and outright hostility as her eyes lingered on the unwelcome creates. "The Captain informed me that we will be leavening the system today, the last of the Raven's data base...the parts that were not corrupted due to years of degradation have being left in my care. Of the vessel itself, the metal, circuitry and other ancillary material's less than twenty present was salvaged and while I am certain my involvement in the reclamation project could have increased the amount of materials we recovered considerable...I did not wish to return"
"I am relieved that remainder of the Hansen's ship will remain where it lay's...however I'm at a loss as to what to do with the revered data..." Seven trailed off as she heard someone knocking on cargo bay door. "Computer end log..." she ordered "Enter"
"I hope I'm not interrupting?" Chakotay asked as he walked in.
"You are not" she assured him passively a little taken aback by his appearance. Fine red dust clung to his uniform and the small leather bag he carried with him. "I presume you over saw the last of the salvage operation?"
"We just finished" Chakotay confirmed her as he cast about the cargo bay, his eyes drawn to the six or so large grey boxes stacked in front of one of the spare alcoves. His tattooed brow hitched upwards, it wasn't like Seven to leave something out in the open like that, considering how ordered the cargo bay had become since she had lay claim to it. "There is more than I thought there would be, need a hand putting it away...or would you rather toss it out the air lock"
"The Captain would..."
"Kathryn doesn't get a say in what you do with the files Seven, they belong to you now" Chakotay informed her cooly as he briskly walked into the cargo bay. "But I'm guessing she wanted you the read them right away?"
"You have spoken with her?"
Chakotay shock his head, an knowing if exhausted small smile pilling at his lips "No I just know her, if you want I could ask her to back of...don't know if that will do any good" he admitted sheepishly as he ran a hand through his thick black hair. "But worth a try" he said with a surge.
"That will not be necessary commander. I believe I made my position on the mater clear to the captain I informed her I do not wish to read these files at this time. Though you are correct she was instant and went so far as to suggest...I consider certain changers." Seven explained a little wearily. She hadn't had a full regeneration cycle since the last of her surgeries. Fear that the dreams she had experienced would return lingered in the back of her mind.
"And those would be?" Chakotay gently pressed if only to draw Sevens attention away from her alcove were her gaze had lingered for several quite moments.
"My destination...the Captain believed that being able to recall much more of my human life than I did returning to the Raven and re- experiencing of my assimilation...it may be time to stop being Seven of Nine and be Annika Hansen again, especially after I expressed a theoretical situation..." She let out a deep breath.
"You don't mind if I asked what that theoretical situation was, do you?" Chakotay asked mildly as he could. He couldn't that he was curios but didn't want Seven to feel pressure, she'd being through enough over the last few days.
"I told her I imagined what my life may have being if the Borg never assimilated me. A few days before my subconscious was influenced by the Raven's homing beacon, Captain Janeway encouraged me to experiment with imagination" Seven stated somewhat dubiously.
"Sounds like something she would do..." Chakotay chuckled warmly he could just see Kathryn taking Seven through her holo leonardo da vinci work shop and explaining the benefits of imagination to Seven of Nine whom if he was a betting man, would have put good credits on being unimpressed by the chaotic workshop. As disorder and inefficacy two of Leonardo's most notable traits would have being anathema to Seven's need for order and control. "I take it since the Captain hasn't thrown a party that you didn't take to your human name?"
She brushed a lose strand of fine golden hair out of her face. She found the simple motion oddly comforting after the last few days. "I have not" Seven confirmed impressed if only mildly so by the commanders presentiveness. "I was Annika Hansen once...but I informed Captain Janeway that from a certain point of view she died when she was assimilated and I was born...though since I have only being an individual for two mouth. I have only truly started exist recently though I was also Seven of Nine Tertiary Adjunct of Unimatrix 01 for far longer..." Seven tailed of failing stifling a yawn a slight blush coloured her pail cheeks. "Being an individual is quite confusing"
He chuckled tiredly "It can be" Chakotay agree tiredly. A part of him had wanted to give her parents the benefit of a doubt but now the full scope of their failure was revealed he found doubts he may have once wanted to voice muted. He had seen enough little snippets dragged up from the depths of her mind during their link which seemed too interact they loved and adored her but that hadn't stopped them dragging her on their foolhardy mission. They barely seemed to consider her long term well being. Even if they had never being assimilated what kind of life would have little Annika had? While being whole human would have always being better than ever being touched by the Borg. She would have spent her entire child hood and adolescence with no friends, no connections outside of her parents, drifting from place to place on their small ship lost and alone in the vast ocean of space and that was if they were lucky, that was hardly a life either.
"But I'm not the one you should ask about that, I could never get my head around existentialism. That is properly why I barely passed my physiology classes at the academy." He chuckled as he recalled it wasn't the subject matter that had drawn him to those classes, it was rather the prospects of spending time with Betty Mahoon.
She pressed her lips into a thin line "Perhaps Star fleet academy's grading standards require revaluation. The crew seem to hold your council in high regard" Seven told him earnestly
"I'm not so sure about that." He told her dismissing her complement with a casual shrug. "But if you do put any value in anything I have to say" ventured half heartedly. "I don't think it's as simple as you think it is, Seven. With Annika dyeing and you being born, that is"
"I am uncertain I understand your statement..." Seven told him puzzled "Do you agree with the Captain's belife that I should retake my human name?"
He shook his head "No I don't think Kathryn is right either at least totally" He told her truthful. "She's apart of you Seven, just you parents or even the Borg..." Chakotay sighed. "There's an old saying, no man is an Island...It means we can't help make connections with other people...those connections change us. Friends, foes and families they are all apart of us as we are a part of them. We can't escape that Seven its more than just being human its apart of being alive"
"Then I am to remain...haunted by these... ghosts?" She asked her eyes drifting over to cargo crates filled with her parent's logs and research and met his questing gaze. "On the moon, you mentioned ghosts in relation to the Raven"
"Yes" He admitted. "But Ghost's aren't always a bad thing..." he opened up a small bag that hung at his hip and walked over presenting her with a small metal picture frame that had seen better days.
Seven took the frame carful and studied the picture inside it was relatively unscarred. It depicted a family outing consisting of her parents, herself aged three or four and people she took to be her extended family having a picnic by a small wooded pond. Everyone was smiling for the camera. She frowned, the scene felt familiar to her somehow but too vague for her to recall the details of exactly. She stared for a long moment at her parents smiling faces. Her hands gripped the weathered frame a little harder, it groaned in protest. "Commander, have you ever felt anger toward your parents?"
"More often than I like to admit" Chakotay admitted recalling every heated and venomous argument he had with his father and to a lesser extent his mother over the years before their deaths.
"Yet you still feel love and affection towards them?" Seven asked putting the picture in one of the nearby featherless grey boxes.
"I do not blame the collective for their actions" Seven stated after a long moment "There, is no malice in Assimilation it is simply their nature. I could no more blame the Borg than black hole for consuming matter, yet I believe I blame my parents for what happened to us..." she stared at the nearest alcove. "I know why you and the crew fear me. I share that fear of the Collective...Now"
"I'm sorry" he told her earnestly. Knowing how much it must have cost Seven to admit to her fear. "But I can't help you with that...you'll have to learn to live with it" Chakotay stated coldly, feeling shame prickle across his skin as he turned. He knew if what he should have offered.
What a friend or even a good crewmate would have offered. He should have told her he would stay with her until sleep took her or offer some platitude that her dreams couldn't hurt her. He couldn't through despite everything that had happened the last few days, knowing that Seven had not meant to turn on the crew and match to her certain doom. Knowing the experience had changed her forever.
Despite his assurances he still saw her as a danger, a threat. A scorpion ready to sting, they had just being lucky this time that the nest she wished to return to was abandoned and the rest of her kind where far away. "Good night Seven" Chakotay said somewhat apologetically
Seven watched Commander Chakotay go, her eyes remained on the closed doors. After what seemed like an age her eyes drifted over to her waiting alcove and then to the cargo crates full of her parents research. The captain had told her she should read the files. She had said they could over her insights into her past, a link back to who she was a child, who her parents where as people and no doubt offer information on the rest of her family. Her stare turned into a glare.
"Irrelevant, the commander was incorrect your daughter is dead" Seven shouted her eyes blazing. She was tempted to beam the crates into space and be done with it, Annika could rest in peace and Seven of Nine could move forward without her ghost. Instead she opened one and went to put the picture frame the commander had given her inside. She traced her human fingers over the faces of her mother and father and then herself "But I will continue to remember being her and you" Seven told to the picture frame, her one natural eye glinting with unshed tears. "Papa and mama"
She stored the crated under her make shift dresser, perhaps she would read what her parent had to say for themselves one day but that day was a while off. She walked over to her alcove and cast the photo frame one lost glance be steeping into the contraption. "Computer, lights"
The cargo bay over head lights blinked of and the only source of limitation was the green light emitted by her alcove. She sighed and steeping into its cold embrace.
Her awareness drifted as she felt the subtle connections' between herself and her alcove. She fully expected to see the horror of the last few days of her childhood flash play out in her mind's eye once more. To be chased by shadowy drones and nightmares spawned from eighteen years of servitude to the collective and the half formed terrors of a child's imagination.
Instead a something else filled her mind's eye as she drifted into true sleep. It wasn't a memory as such more a fleeting recollection of something that had happened a life time ago. There was a shape, an idea a notion to it but little detail. She was on a stony beach, perhaps a lake. The air was crisp with but not cold, the faint sent of follower's driftnet in the air. Fat honey bees buzzed around and dragon flys hovered over the water. A fish shot up from its watery home and snatched one of the darting insects out of the air.
She let out a small excited squeal, her mama was holding her tight as she squirmed like a eel. She vaguely recalled wanting to play with the fish. Her father was nearby lying in her his back a warm smile filled his face.
There were four other people there, the clearest of whom was a woman whom looked similar to her father, her aunt. The others were little more than bleary outlines.
A loud CAW grasped her attention. She looked up to see a large black bird with eyes as blue as her own landed on a tree brace overlooking her family.
The avian, the raven peered at her knowingly.
A sense of easy and reassurance spread from the raven and entered her, she was sure he had felt her pain in recent days as he had felt it all those years ago yet he stayed with her all the same protecting her and guiding her to where she needed to be.
The dream fell away slowly by degrees the feeling of warm and love spreading through her being as her awareness drifted away.
A smile warm and knowing seemed to spread across the Raven's features, his blue eyes reflections of his charges glinted in the welcome darkness. They would meet again, when there was need.
I really hope you all enjoyed the Halloween treat.