DISCLAIMER: I do not own these characters. They are the property of Paramount.
CHALLENGE: Drgnkeywee's challenge- how it would really be for Seven to go from thousands of voices to only her own. Language people, watch for my language. Brief mention of an incident from The Gift otherwise I twist everything beyond recognition.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

Echoes in the Void
By Tina LaMarch


Seven opened her eyes. She stepped from the alcove to the tuneless humming of the alcoves, the faint vibration of the ship beneath her feet, the sound of a heartbeat, of breathing. The silence was deafening.

It had been days since she was released to begin her new life. Once she had millions of constantly communicating drones a part of her every conscious moment. She was living in an cargo bay physically and in her mind. She was not of the Collective anymore. She was an amputee, missing a piece of her self.

The Captain had assured her that things would get better. She saw face after face in the corridor. She on instinct born of her time with the Collective would involuntarily try to reach out with her mind to hear the intricate choral patterns of billions, trillions. The silence was everywhere.

Seven drew back and punched the wall. The bulkhead crumbled under her fist. It was an irrational act. She looked at the betraying fist. The first stone from the wall tumbled to the ground. Everything she was would be lost under the onslaught of irrational thought and behaviors in a meaningless, quiet, lonely existence.

The faces lied. The body language lied. The voices of the Collective were all she knew of home and truth and they were gone. The Doctor and the Captain lied. Things were not better. She was still alone. Alone. Alone. Alone. It mocked her constantly as the word ran ragged circles in her head.

She leaned her head against the wall. Her fingers traced the buckled portion of the bulkhead. She knew she should go out into the ship. Learn to become a part of this quiet world that she was condemned to live and die in. Dying. Alone. Unremembered.

Seven's disquiet became magnified. How was she expected to become a part of this world? She was not even a person. She remembered the hostility of Lt. Torres who spat out her anger about a Borg circus in her engine room. Most looked at her and their bodies exhibited signs of fear or hostility and they looked right through her.

The door whooshed open and Lt. Torres walked in. She looked at the Borg and the buckled bulkhead. She looked back at Seven. "I had that type of day today myself." She wandered into the Cargo Bay looking for the hyper spanners.

Seven quirked her ocular implant at the bulkhead and trailed the half-Klingon into the stacks. "What kind of day Lt. Torres?"

"The kind of day where you want to hit something 'cause it is less likely to land you in the brig than what you want to do. Want my advice Borg?"


"Fix it before the Captain or Commander Chakotay see it. I don't care as long as you don't make more work for me, but they'll pitch a fit. Don't forget there're some still wanting to toss you out the lock. Here they are." B'Elanna opened the crate and pulled out a hyper spanner with a dramatic flourish.

"You were aggressive the last time we spoke. Now you are giving advice."

"Yeah. I'm unstable. Ask anyone. Just don't let me hear their answer 'cause I'll kill 'em." B'Elanna laughed and left the Cargo Bay, leaving behind a lonely and now very confused former Borg.

After repairing the bulkhead she had buckled the best she was able to considering her lack of appropriate tools and materials, she contacted Commander Chakotay and requested his presence. When he arrived, she requested a duty. If she could not hear the trillions of her former Collective, she would have to find something to occupy the attention of the singular voice.

When asked for a choice of duty she replies with logic and just a touch of irrationality. She chose Engineering. She would be of assistance in refitting the warp drive. At the same time, she wanted to work close to the only individual she had met whose actions, words and non-verbal cues had all appeared to match even if the emotions demonstrated toward her did not seem to match from day to day. If she could understand Lt. Torres, perhaps she would be a Rosetta Stone to understand the others of this silent Collective.

Seven stood observing the swarming behavior around her. The movements were vaguely like the voices in her head come to life. The drones would seek their instructions, relay their information and go on their way. If anyone had looked at her, they would have seen a disaffected blonde statue. The truth was she was a woman dying of thirst trying to get what moisture she could from the sand beneath her.

The cacophony of the morning meeting was a hollow echo of the voices she lost. There was little of the comfort, the feeling of not-aloneness she craved, but the parallels she drew were all she had. She greedily absorbed everything going on around her. When Lt. Torres had dispatched the last of the Voyager's drones, she came to stand before the former drone. "You and I will be working on the injectors." She handed the Borg a PADD. Seven quickly absorbed the data and the plan of action.

"It would be more efficient if we were to simply route the injector controls through Borg circuits," she said handing back the PADD. She saw the change of color and respiration and the physical bristling.

"We are going to do it my way. I will be damned if I'm going to let my warp core get assimilated Borg!"


"What's so fascinating?"

"Your approaches to me changes constantly. Is it cyclical, your emotional response?" Seven tilted her head observing the half-Klingon's speedy trip to rage.

When B'Elanna's mouth caught up with her she yelled. "We will do the damned job the way it's laid out in the damned PADD Drone. Get to work."

Seven briefly sketched a nod. "I will comply."

Seven swiftly completed her appointed duties. That at least had not changed. She had things to do. As long as she worked, her pain became a dull ache. At the completion of those duties she instinctively reached out to communicate that and receive her next set of duties. There was only silence. She heard the scream build in her mind and the ache behind her eyes. She had desperately tried to dispatch nanoprobes to deal with this ache behind her eyes only find yet again that it was not physically caused.

Seven went to stand beside the half-Klingon engineer who was on the floor and inside a console. "Lieutenant."

She heard the sound the sound and to distract herself began calculating the striking force required to create that sound as well as the effect on the skull of a Human Klingon hybrid. "What the hell?" roared a voice beneath the console. B'Elanna slid out. "Don't sneak up on me."

"I do not sneak up. It would be an inefficient use of my time. I have completed my duties, Lieutenant. Would you like me to complete what you are working on while you visit Sick Bay to repair your own damage?"

Seven's ocular implant went up as she regarded the half-Klingon who was coming to a standing position before her. A small bead of blood began to follow one of B'Elanna's ridges. Seven automatically calculated its route. Her hand, the same rebel that had dented the bulkhead reached for the bead and without touching the Lieutenant captured it and brought it to close proximity so that the former drone could more closely examine it.

Seven's head tilted and she smelled the Lieutenant's blood. B'Elanna for her part had no idea about what to make of the former drone and her behavior. "Right," she replied. She nodded and watched as Seven allowed the drop of blood to travel down her hand. "Right. I'm going to Sick Bay. You finish up here."

Seven's eyes traveled up to the brown eyes of Lt. Torres. "I will comply."

The Captain requested that she sit. She declined. The Captain sat down and sipped at her coffee. This beverage baffled Seven to no end. What was the point of drinking something that smelled like that? She had attempted to research the topic using her own not inconsiderable resources and found that apparently the Collective deemed the issue of coffee's taste and draw irrelevant.

Seven listened carefully to Captain Janeway as she spoke. It was frustrating. It was like needing a full regeneration cycle and receiving ten minutes. 'This is inefficient communication,' she thought. She heard Janeway ask about her day in Engineering.

"Lt. Torres is an effective engineer and I completed my duties."

"Lt. Torres tells me you were a little difficult to work with. People aren't like drones Seven. Working with her will require that you learn a bit more about tact."

Seven tilted her head. "You are prevaricating. Your heart rate…"

The Captain lifted her hand and smiled slightly. "That's what I'm talking about Seven. She didn't say that you were a little difficult to work with, but what she did say was needlessly angry and graphic. I felt I should soften the blow somewhat. I was trying to be diplomatic and not hurt your feelings."

"Diplomacy is irrelevant. Feelings are irrelevant."

"They are relevant. They're relevant to all of us, they will be to you too, eventually. Your skills make you valuable in engineering but part of me wishes that you had picked any other department. B'Elanna is fine officer and engineer but not known for the hold she has on her temper, rather her lack of." Janeway sighed and rubbed her head.

"This is your new Collective Seven. It would only benefit you to learn how to better fit in. Make some friends. Learn 'irrelevant' skills like conversation and tact. I know you are still adjusting to the differences between us and the Borg, but I think you will be a fine addition to the crew."

"You are uncertain about this prospect."


"Your body's responses indicates a high degree of uncertainty with my ability to become a proper member of your Collective. Why did you strip me of my existence within the Collective if you were uncertain of your ability to make me a part of this one? Why does nearly every member of your Collective say one thing and mean something else entirely?"

"Seven." Janeway paused. She took a sip of her coffee. "You were a human being first. You were Annika Hansen, taken by the Borg at age 6. It's time you learn what the other part of your heritage means to you."

"I am Seven of Nine. Annika Hansen is a picture you showed me. She is not relevant." As her nanoprobes were dispatched, Seven realized that they were fighting the same effects she had seen earlier when Lt. Torres was so angry. 'Is this what she feels? Is this anger?'

"She is relevant Seven." The Captain came to stand before the tall blonde standing at ease. "I wish I knew how to make you see that, but I think only time will do that."

Seven was fascinated. She saw that the things she did raised the engineer's temper from where it was tucked away when not in use and did not avoid it. The rock slide of irrational acts continued. She knew that she was baiting a dangerous individual, perhaps the only individual who held any danger for her without the application of weapons. She could not help herself.

The Lieutenant's responses could be understood. She was the only truly known quantity in this world of bewildering protocols and shadow selves. Her anger became addictive. It was something to count on. This one was the only source of completely honest communication on this side of her new life. The Captain kept spouting her philosophies and her advice and her encouragement. It was a construct. Her body told of her uncertainties about her own empty words.

Seven still looked for her Queen, her collective. All she had was the Lieutenant's honest anger and the falseness that thinly covered everyone when she was near and that disappeared when they believed she was out of earshot.

Their anger and their harsh words at first meant little to her. Such things were irrelevant. Then one day, for no apparent reason, she felt a stab of anger. She nurtured it. This was the face of her new collective that she understood. She continued to maintain the façade. That was the other defining quality. A false face over this inward burning. This was the truth of her new collective save one.

"What in Gre'thor do you think you're doing Borg?"

"I am adjusting this coupler. This unit shows a .0036 variation. It will be more efficient now."

"You didn't even ask. You just took it on yourself to do whatever the hell you want whenever you want. You totally disrupted the diagnostic we were running."

"It would not have been efficient to seek you out. In the time it would have taken to locate you, ask you, and convince you that this drone was doing what was right, I simply repaired it." Seven stood up after replacing the panel. She turned and faced the smaller half-Klingon and quirked her ocular implant knowing the fire it would stoke.

B'Elanna poked the former drone in the chest and her voice rose as she spoke. "Listen here Drone. Your 'efficiency' cost my staff 6 hours worth of work on the diagnostic we were running. You are nothing but an enormous pain in my ass and the ass of every member of this department. I am half-tempted to make you into a hull patch and be done with you."

Seven regarded the dark haired woman before her. Her chest was heaving in her rage. Seven's head tilted. She felt connected in a strange way. She did not want it to end.

"It would not be an efficient application of me. I have far better uses."

Seven was disappointed to see the rage evaporate. The engineer burst out into laughter. She was curious though. She touched the engineer's throat. "You have made this sound before. What is its purpose?"

B'Elanna's laughter came to a breathy stop and she regarded the tall blonde. "It's a good way to avoid hitting drones too convinced of their own immortality for their own good. Harry's gonna be working on a sensor upgrade project the next few days. I want you to report to him for the time being. Give me some time to find reasons not to space you."

Seven, disappointed, replied, "I will comply."

Seven found herself standing in front of the alcoves. She would slip away into electronic oblivion. No comforting voices to find oblivion with, solitary awakening. If she was lucky she would be alone in the Cargo Bay for the period of regeneration. If she was not, her security monitors would once again show the ugly behaviors of her fellow travelers. The things that were hidden under the veneer of professionalism would find the light of day again.

She felt the anger that she had been using to keep warm well up again. Everyone else had a place to go. These people valued the need for an individual's space but despite a stated desire for her to embrace her individuality, they denied her that. She was a machine. She heard it often enough behind her back. The only one with the courage to say it to her face was Lt. Torres.

She felt the edge of the console bend under hand. She felt her own veneer crack at the sound. She walked to the storage racks on the far side and lifting one of the crates easily she threw it in the general direction of the door. It felt good. She lifted her chin and began relocating the crates and barrels one by one. Once all of the stored items were by the door, she set the door to stay open as she started chucking everything into the hall.

"What the hell?" She heard just before the fifth crate landed with a crash halfway down the corridor. B'Elanna dodged the barrel that followed and ducked inside the Cargo Bay.

"The machine is rebelling."

"What the hell?" repeated the confused half-Klingon ducking another crate whizzing past her. She grabbed Seven's arms. "Stop Seven. You have to stop."


"You can't just toss this stuff. Some of it is delicate. Why're you doing this?"

"This is my home. The captain made this my home. You all come in and say whatever you want. All those things that the crew is afraid to say to my face, you all come and say them. This is my home. I want my home. I want all your crates out of my home."

"Seven why didn't you say something?"

Seven turned and picked up a crate. "You are the only one who says what they think. You are the only one whose body matches their words. The captain made me alone and never told me anything except to fit in. I have to be like everyone else. Everyone else is dishonest and cruel. I do not want to be like them. You are just cruel. That is likewise unacceptable to me. I cannot fit in. I want my home. If I am to be alone, I want to be alone. No one will come in to taunt me. No one will be welcome to invade my home to say hurtful things anymore." She threw another crate. B'Elanna took her arms again.

"There are a lot of asses. Don't let them put you off. There are good people too."

"Like Lt. Paris who was the first to offer friendship and the first to comment on how much he would like to be assimilated by me?" She grabbed at another barrel.

"Stop. Please, stop. We didn't know. Please." B'Elanna looked at the distressed former Borg and saw more than the machine. "I know this isn't right. This isn't how it should be for you. Give me a chance to find a way to make things right for you and us. Please."

"Klingons do not beg."

"They don't do a lot of apologizing either. I have a lot of apologizing to do as well. I more than anyone know what it's like to be different from everyone else. I only saw the hardware. I forgot there was a real person under it. Please. Put down the barrel."

Seven looked down at the barrel, at B'Elanna's hands over hers. "Please Seven. I'll seal the bay while you regenerate. Please just put it down."

"I am angry."

"I know."

Seven was still for several long moments. "I will bring the crates back in and then you will seal the bay."

"Leave them. I'll find someplace else for them. You call me when you wake up and we'll figure out what to do about all of this."


"Because it's right and it's about time I remembered to do the right thing." She watched Seven put down the barrel and walk to the console near the alcoves.

"You will seal it."

"Right now." B'Elanna pushed one of the crates that landed in the doorway back and looked back at the blonde climbing the dais. "Hey Seven." She looked at the engineer. "Sweet dreams Seven," she called out as she turned and left for the Captain's Ready Room.

Seven opened her eyes. She stepped from the humming alcove and looked around her environment. The disorder of the Bay made her feel a sense of what could only be shame. She began to organize the crates. This was her new collective, for better or worse. Throwing crates and barrels would not change that fact. Placing the last of the barrels she walked over to the console.

As Seven pulled up the security monitors Lt. Torres called to her from her comm badge. "Seven here Lieutenant."

"Can I come in?"

"It is a Cargo Bay. It is irrational to ask permission."

"Seven. I want to talk to you."

"Come in."

"Thanks. Torres out."

B'Elanna came in with an uncertain look on her face. She watched Seven at her console for several long moments. "No one came in while I regenerated. Thank you for sealing the bay, Lt. Torres."

"Only ones who could've overrode the seal would've been the Senior Staff and after I finished reaming out a few of them last night, I don't think they were in any shape to. By the way, the Captain sends her regards. She wanted to come herself, but after what you said last night I thought maybe we should start small."

B'Elanna walked over and sat on the dais. She patted the platform beside her. "Come sit with me."

"I would prefer to stand."

B'Elanna rubbed her forehead. "I got a lot to talk to you about and I need to sit. If you stand, I'll get a crick in my neck and it'll be harder for me to keep my cool." Seven raised her implant and came over to sit awkwardly beside the Chief. B'Elanna looked at her slightly amused. "Not a lot of practice sitting in the cubes eh?"


"Lot's changed for you. We should've done things better. Found a different way to integrate you into the family. We can't change that. Maybe we can make things a little better all around for everyone now."

"You are being helpful to me despite the fact that I am a machine, that I tried to clear out the Cargo Bay violently and the fact that I have deliberately antagonized you in the past. That is irrational."

"I behaved dishonorably, I need to start making things right. You are not a machine, you…. That was deliberate?"

"Yes Lieutenant."

B'Elanna looked at the blonde seated next to her and shook her head. "Why the hell would you deliberately antagonize me?"

"If I performed as you wished, you did not see me. If I antagonized you, you did. You do not hide yourself behind the same false actions that the others employ. I therefore felt that you were more worth understanding. To facilitate understanding, I needed proximity and interaction. To further that, I antagonized you."

B'Elanna felt like her head was never going to stop shaking. "I thought I had issues," she said quietly.

"Issues Lieutenant?"

"When we're both off duty, I'm B'Elanna to you Seven. I'm gonna put myself out there Seven. I will be as open with you as I can be. I'll help you the best I can. I'm just really hoping you can stop with the picking fights thing, if for no other reason than the rest of the engineering crew is starting to get scared of being collateral damage."

"That would be an acceptable arrangement."

"Great, at least that one went well. Now I have some other things to talk to you about Seven." B'Elanna paused considering the Cargo Bay. "Maybe we should move this party somewhere where's there's padding for my backside and caffeine. We need a little privacy too. Which do you like better? My quarters or the conference room?"

"Whatever would suit your purposes better, B'Elanna."

B'Elanna smiled. "And here is the crux of the matter. It's time and past time that you had some say in your life, Seven, so let's hear what would suit your purposes." She watched Seven's face carefully. The former drone didn't have expressions so much as flickers and she did not want to miss those cues.

Seven looked at the dark haired half-Klingon's face. She could see from her relaxed body language that she was trying to be sincere. She was trying to connect. "I am curious about your quarters."

B'Elanna stood up and offered her hand to the blonde. "Great. One of the things we'll be talking about is a living space for you, so maybe you can get some ideas when I give you the nickel tour." She chuckled and helped the drone up when she hesitantly offered her own hand.

B'Elanna let the tall blonde walk through the door first. She immediately took off her tunic and waited for Seven to turn. "Got an eyeful yet? Want the rest of the tour?"

Seven nodded and followed as B'Elanna led the way pointed to various features. "You do not share your quarters."

"No. Which is probably a good thing. I'm a bear in the morning."


"Picture our nastiest interaction in Engineering and multiply the crabbiness by three." B'Elanna laughed and motioned at the couch. "Want something to drink?"

"I do not require liquid refreshment at this time."

"Right. It's tough getting used to Borg Speak. I know its like your native language, well pretty much, but it's still kind of weird hearing someone who's not from Vulcan talk like that."

"I have difficulties with many of the idioms used regularly on Voyager. Few seem to have the patience to explain them."

"I guess idioms are just one of those things you kind of pick up as you go." B'Elanna sat in the chair closest to Seven's end of the couch and regarded her. The blonde was sitting primly on the edge, calmly regarding her with her big blue eyes.

Seven felt out of her element. She felt exposed. This woman had seen her acting irrationally not once, but twice and did not appear to be afraid or angry about it. "Why are you not afraid of me? Why are you not angry with me for the damage I caused?"

"I kind of think I know where you're coming from Seven. You'll notice there aren't a lot of Klingons around. I spent a lot of time swallowing anger, trying to get along with the other Federation kids. They used to call me names like turtlehead. I used to get into a lot of fights, stupid shit. My mom, she was pretty cool with it, being Klingon and all. That's how they resolve differences of opinion, show 'em who is strong enough to have an opinion. The rest of the colony was Federation. They didn't have a sense of humor about it. I spent a lot of time being angry and trying to be alone. It was easier."

"The children called you those names to your face."

"Yeah, and most of them were bigger than me. Frankly the idea of you and what you're capable of, it scares most people. Put that in a package that brings people to their knees and you got a lot of people running scared. You are truly intimidating."

"I do not intimidate you."

B'Elanna shrugged. "Never said I had any common sense." B'Elanna sighed. "I acted dishonorably. I'm sorry I was cruel to you Seven. I'm sorry you thought that pissing me off was the only way to connect with me."

"I apologize for acting in the manner in which I did."

"Well let's start making things better. The Captain offered the Doctor's services so you can learn about humanity. I frankly think you could learn more about it from the warp core. You need to learn though. If only so we don't end up with concussions and broken ribs in Sick Bay the next time you want to express yourself. We'll work out some options on that."

"Oh and let's not forget the whole place of your own thing. We have three, make that four options on that. Where do you want to start?"

"I want a home."

"Good call." B'Elanna smiled and stood to get a stack of PADDs that was sitting near the door.

Seven waited as the half-Klingon engineer sat down. B'Elanna took a drink of her raktijino and started digging through the PADDs. She looked up and grinned at the blonde. "Captain and I were talking options 'til three ack emma. I was a little tired and so now I'm a little disorganized. Ah ha."

B'Elanna waved one of the PADDs. "My big home for Seven list. There're three options listed. There is one that I have kind of sitting in the back of my mind to add, but let's see what you think of these first." Handing the list over, she sat back.

Seven regarded the PADD. "You have three options listed and under each pro and con. There are no pros and cons listed."

B'Elanna sucked in a breath. "I was worried that part was all in my head. Let's just go through the list. First, we set up a set of quarters in the Cargo Bay. It would be right around the corner from your regeneration unit. Maybe we could even do some fancy wall placing and make it around your unit. You would still be isolated. You'd still be getting comments behind your back about being stowed like machinery. I know you think that it'd be better to not have anything to do with the crew, but you'll be happier in the long run if you can be with us instead of among us."

"You are the only one who has been truthful to me. The Captain calls it being diplomatic. She indicated I must learn it to 'be with you.' The Collective did not need diplomacy to be one."

"Yeah, but no one could decide to play hooky and get some ice cream either. We are all individuals. Sometimes, we have to dull the sharp edges a little to make sure everyone stays together and works together as a family."

"You do not do it."

"Much." B'Elanna laughed. "People like you and me, too blunt for our own good, they'll make allowances for, if we make allowances for them. A little compromise goes a long way."

"You have given me something to consider."

B'Elanna put her hand on Seven's shoulder. Seven froze momentarily at the unexpected contact. "I know right now you're missing what you had. I want you to know that I want to help you find something worthwhile in what you have now."

Seven was at a loss between B'Elanna's kindness and the rare sensation of physical contact. She fell back on habitual behavior. She began to tackle the problem at hand again. "The second option reads 'roommate.'"

"We got a little pressed for space recently so right now if you take crew quarters, you'll be sharing one of the crewman quarters. If you get the right roomie, it'll be great 'cause you'll learn about the crew and the way they interact. Course you get the wrong roomie then I have to wonder if the crates from the other night won't be the only things denting my walls. Other drawback is most of the places we could put you would make setting up even a minimal regeneration unit in quarters unlikely. We'll still be back to the issue of the Cargo Bay."

"The third reads 'VIP.' The blue eyes flicked up.

"Captain Janeway was overcompensating with that one I think. We could set up an alcove in one of the VIP quarters if we strip down all redundancies and such. We keep your original powered down for major medical, the one in your quarters should take care of the rest of your needs. It would be a nice place to live, but unfortunately, it would isolate you as much or more as your need for the Cargo Bay."


"Jealousy, bitterness, all the best traits. VIP quarters would be seen like a reward and with you being a former Borg, people are going to make up reasons why you got it."

"You indicated the possibility of a fourth."

B'Elanna rubbed her forehead ridges. "Yeah about that. It's a combination of 2 and 3. We take the VIP quarters, rig a partition for another bedroom, set up the stripped alcove and away you go. Sets you up with your alcove, private space and helpful roomie. The roomie I have in mind would be enough to at least tone down the talk that would come up with you in VIP quarters."

"You seemed hesitant to discuss this option."

"I am hesitant."


"When I came up with the plan, the roomie I had in mind was me."

Seven considered the options carefully. She wanted a home. She wanted a place where no one could simply come and make her feel even more alone and hated than she already was. If she stayed in the Cargo Bay, there would always be the storage issue. Even if she created a room of her own, she would still feel like she could be accessed like any of the supplies. It would be her own, but she didn't want to be a piece of hardware.

She had been a part of the Collective. Eternal aloneness sounded like a death sentence. Perhaps it would be. The isolation she had felt had already resulted in numerous irrational acts, how long until she turned her violence on herself. To isolate herself further could only invite further chaos. Perhaps B'Elanna was right. She would find a way to live with them rather than among them.

That narrowed her choices significantly. The Cargo Bay and living in VIP quarters alone would isolate her in B'Elanna's judgment. Seven knew that B'Elanna was indeed trying to help her now. She would not lie or hedge on something like this. B'Elanna had indicated that she engaged in diplomacy, but not on this. Seven found herself relying on the word of the Klingon. It was a lifeline. She would trust B'Elanna on the subject of her new home.

One of the roommate options then. Seven could not see herself with any of the crew. They still looked at her as the Borg. They were afraid or angry when she walked by, those who were not engaged in other acts or behaviors with regards to her that she did not understand and in most cases, did not want to understand. In addition, she would still be dependant on her time in Cargo Bay. If she were to live with B'Elanna she would have someone to learn from, and she would have access to an alcove. She would have a room of her own. She would be sharing quarters but with someone she trusted. For the sake of her socialization skills and her long term emotional well-being, there was only one practical choice.

"The fourth option is the most logical for me, but by no means the most logical for you, B'Elanna."

"Cause I would be giving up a cherry Senior Staff room all by my lonesome to get bigger, better quarters with someone I think might turn out to be a decent roomie? I admit it, I like being on my own. I think we might butt heads from time to time. I can pretty much guarantee it. We are both opinionated. You may not express it a lot, but I know when you are just being stubborn."

"The thing is I think we both could be better off. I need someone to challenge me. You need someone to be there for you too. If we set up some basic rules right off, I think we could do this roommates thing with minimum bloodshed. Plus, I may not be much on the whole homemaker-nesting thing, but I could live with a bigger couch to kick back on."

B'Elanna chuckled. She leaned forward, putting her elbows on her knees and regarding her hands. "Take your time, Seven. Do what's right for you. If you decide that this is right for you, then I am more than happy to do this."

Seven regarded the engineer. "Will we be friends, B'Elanna?"

"I think that's a distinct possibility Seven. Whatever you choose, I think that's a real possibility. Especially now that you are not going to be picking fights." She chuckled and took another sip of her drink as she waited for the former Borg to make her choice.

"I choose the fourth option B'Elanna."

B'Elanna took a breath. "Thought you might. I'll square things with the Captain, get authorization for the partitioning and building a stripped alcove in there for you. It might take a couple days and I'll need your Borg know-how to help me work out all the things we can afford to lose on the alcove. That ok?"

"That would be acceptable."

"You can crash here 'til its ready if you need a place away. We'll make sure you aren't walked in on in the Cargo Bay if you need to regenerate. Oh, and we are having a house warming."

"A house warming?"

"A party to welcome us to our new digs. I see that almost expression young lady. I said there'd be rules. The first is if I say we need a party, we need a party. You are never gonna see the better side of the crew if you don't learn to socialize."

"That was another topic we were to discuss, the Captain's offer of the Doctor as a tutor."

B'Elanna snorted. "If that's what you want, go for it, but I think you can learn more elsewhere."

"What would be your suggestion?"

"I'll be there anyway. We hang out together the first few weeks. We take meals in the Mess together, we play pool together. That would give you an opportunity to watch me interact and to ask questions about what you see around you. I'm not a social butterfly, and I am not entirely personable, but I know my way around a conversation. I have slightly more practical experience than Doc."

"You do not value your privacy?"

"I do very very much. There will be times I will tell you to go away, maybe at some rude volumes, but don't take it personally. Everyone needs time for themselves. I'll still be around, if you need me, I will be there."

""I do not wish to negatively impact your efficiency or your socialization."

"It won't be easy to work all the kinks out, but like I said, I think we'll both end up better off." B'Elanna took one of Seven's hand. "Whatever you need here.

You want to give it a try and end up not feeling like it's helping, I'll walk you down to the Doctor myself. Ok Seven?"

"That would be acceptable."

"Great. We have the day off thanks to the Captain. I'll go up and tell her what we decided. I'll meet you in the Mess Hall and we'll work out the alcove issue while I stuff my face. We can squabble over house rules while we're at it."

B'Elanna got up and after confirming that she'd meet Seven in the Mess in about an hour she left the former drone to absorb everything. Seven still missed the enfolding voices of the Borg Collective. She missed the focus that having her will yoked to the Collective gave her. She had a new collective to live with now. B'Elanna had changed everything for her. For the first time she had hopes of filling something of that empty aching space in her now. Her new quarters were days away, but thanks to her new friend, she finally felt like she had a home.

The End

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