DISCLAIMER: Star Trek Voyager and its characters are the property of Paramount. No infringement intended.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

To The Edge of the Universe
By Acathla


Chapter 12

Though he'd never understand why certain orders were given, Chakotay was still smart enough to know when to obey a direct order, despite what happened a few weeks ago with the Borg. So when Captain Janeway insisted on being briefed about everything concerning Seven's interactions on Voyager, Chakotay knew enough to keep his questions to himself and follow orders. Which was why Janeway was currently holding in her hand a copy of the report from Chakotay about Seven's progress regarding the new Astrometrics Lab that she and Harry Kim had been assigned to design and build. Janeway smiled as she read about Seven's efficient work. She wondered if Annika would've grown up to be as efficient as Seven was if she'd been able to grow up human. Janeway assumed that the efficiency most likely came from having been Borg and so realized that Annika wouldn't be so efficient.

When Janeway got to the part about Ensign Kim's remark about "basic Borg-human cultural differences" and then Seven's comment about Kim's assistance in learning about the "complex social interactions" aboard Voyager, Janeway frowned. Something wasn't right. Some gut instinct told her that something had occurred between Seven and Ensign Kim sometime before these remarks were made to Chakotay. Something neither party had elaborated on. Janeway was suddenly determined to find out what that was.

"Janeway to Seven of Nine." Over the com system, Seven's full designation was required.

"Seven of Nine here Captain. How may I assist you?" Seven's usual even tone came over the com system and filled Janeway's ready room.

"Seven, please report to my ready room."

"Aye Captain, on my way."

The comm. Channel was closed and Janeway smiled. Anytime she got to spend time alone with Seven was another chance for her to try to bring Annika back.

A few minutes passed before the chime rang announcing her visitor. After granting access, the doors closed silently behind Seven as she walked into the room. Seven walked over to the two steps leading to the upper part of the room but she didn't step up. Standing at the base of the steps, Seven faced Janeway, who was sitting on her couch drinking a cup of coffee, and placed her hands behind her back.

"You asked to see me Captain?"

Janeway wished she had the nerve to ask Seven to call her Katie. Just once to hear that name again in her voice. But she knew she wouldn't—couldn't, at least not until Annika remembered.

"Yes Seven, I wanted to ask you something." Janeway paused, trying to figure out a way to ask her question without seeming like she was keeping tabs on Seven.

Seven merely waited patiently, curious as to what the Captain would ask her.

After a few minutes, Janeway spoke, "tell me Seven, how's the new Astrometrics Lab coming along?"

Seven, confused, answered, "it is progressing at an efficient pace. Ensign Kim and I have completed the final design elements and construction is ready to commence." A pause then, "I reported all that to Commander Chakotay, surely he reported the progress to you."

Janeway grinned at Seven's directness. "Yes he did but there was something in his report that I wanted to ask you about."

Seven kept silent but nodded.

"Chakotay noted that Ensign Kim claimed there had been a ...misunderstanding between you and him the night before he turned in his report to Chakotay. Harry wouldn't say what the misunderstanding was, neither to Chakotay nor to me when I asked him. Can you explain it to me?"

Seven thought about it. She knew the Captain was referring to the incident in the mess hall two nights ago. Seven was still confused about it and she thought maybe the Captain might be able to explain it to her.

"Ensign Kim asked me to meet him in the mess hall shortly after 00:30 hours. I arrived and he claimed to have gotten a 'midnight inspiration' concerning the Astrometrics Lab. He said his idea could use my unique perspective so I studied his data. It seemed logical and efficient. Then Ensign Kim suggested I accompany him to the holodeck to watch the K'tarian moonrise."

Janeway felt her anger build at the thought of Harry putting the moves on Seven... on Annika.

"After a moment I concluded Ensign Kim wanted to change the nature of our affiliation. I'd noticed several physiological changes in his breathing, heart rate, and facial expressions in my presence and came to the assumption that Ensign Kim wished to copulate. I asked him if he wanted that, he denied it. Shortly after that he left the mess hall and I returned to my alcove." Seven paused. "Captain, the entire incident confuses me. Why would Ensign Kim suggest a romantic activity on the holodeck then deny wanting to copulate?"

Janeway heard the confusion in Seven's voice and felt her anger melt away. Harry Kim didn't know it, but refusing Seven's offer had saved him a trip through the air lock…or at the very least a trip to sick bay. "Seven, it's complicated. Please, sit down because an explanation could take a while."

Seven was about to refuse to sit when she realized Janeway was willing to extend their time together. Maybe there would also be time to ask the Captain about those random words that flashed through her head.

Janeway watched as Seven stepped up to the upper level and sat carefully on the edge of the couch.

"Seven, sometimes humans have a hard time expressing themselves. From what you've told me and the word spreading around the ship, Harry seems to have a crush on you."

"A 'crush'? What is that?"

"It means he likes you. But I've known Harry for over three years now and I know he'll probably never act on it. He'll just act nervous around you for a while until the crush wears off."

"Wears off?"


"I see. So I should ignore it?"

"That would be my recommendation, yes." Never mind that Janeway had an ulterior motive for discouraging Seven away from Harry.

"Understood, Captain."

Janeway sensed there was something Seven wanted to ask. It wasn't so much anything in her demeanor but rather a sixth sense that Janeway attributed to her connection to Annika. "Is there anything else you wish to talk about? Since we're in a calm stretch of space, now is a good time."

Seven hesitated, not knowing why she thought the Captain would be able to explain the words in her head. "Yes, though I am uncertain how to ask."

"Just ask Seven. I'll do my best to answer." "Very well, over the last few days, I've had flashes of words in my head. Random words that hold little to no meaning for me, yet...they are in my head."

"I see... what words are they?"

"Camping, holodeck, red, wizard, Anastasia, erised, Voldemort, park, McDonalds, and...Katie. They run on a loop in my head at random times, usually when there is nothing else to occupy my mind."

Janeway was in shock. The words Seven had listed were like triggers for memories Janeway tried to keep hidden. Janeway wondered how best to approach the situation. "Well, Seven," she began, cautiously as she tried not to lie but not to divulge the whole truth just yet. "I can give you the generic definitions of the words but, as for their specific significance I am not sure if I can be of any use."

"I understand, Captain. However, at this time, I would appreciate any insight you may provide."

Janeway smiled and nodded. "Alright. Well, the easiest to explain are holodeck, red, and camping..." Janeway proceeded to explain as best she could the generic meanings of the words Seven had mentioned while at the same time pushing her own memories to the back of her mind. She purposely omitted their significance to Annika. Janeway wasn't sure if Seven was ready to find out about her past...with Katie.

An hour later, Seven left Janeway's ready room with a better understanding of the random words and with a place to start in researching a few of the terms.

Janeway sat on the couch in her quarters, trying to not think about the memories Seven had stirred up. Janeway remembered her promise to Annika about watching the Harry Potter movies once she'd read all the books. Janeway had been looking forward to it as much as Annika had, even though she'd already read the books and seen the movies. Suddenly, Janeway wondered what she'd see if there was such a thing as a Mirror of Erised.


Chapter 13

A few days after their conversation in her ready room, Janeway decided she couldn't wait any longer to spend time with Seven...with Annika. Janeway tried to find an activity that she could enjoy sharing with Seven, but also one that wouldn't trigger anymore random words for Seven. As much as Janeway wanted Seven to remember being Annika, she still wasn't fully prepared for what that might mean... not just for Seven but also for their friendship. For Katie and Annika. After a lot of thought, Janeway settled on clay sculpting in her DaVinci holoprogram. Once she had the program up and running, she had Seven join her in holodeck 1.

Seven arrived promptly and then stood patiently as Captain Janeway tried to explain what she wanted Seven to understand.

"It's not as difficult as it looks," Janeway explained, referring to the clay model of a head that was resting on the table between them. "The first rule is: Don't be afraid of the clay."

Seven, in her usual fashion took it literally, "I fear nothing." The monotonous tone in her voice made it obvious she saw no value in this activity. However, Seven tolerated it because Captain Janeway had requested her company.

"I mean, you can't concern yourself with making a mistake, or whether the image you had in your mind is what's taking shape in front of you. You just have to let your hands—and the clay—do the work. Here." Janeway explained before handing a small lump of clay to Seven. Offering it to her as one might offer broccoli to a picky eater.

Reluctantly, Seven took the clay from Janeway and held it in her palm, the look on her face made it clear she was confused by what to do with it.

Janeway motioned with one hand from the clay in Seven's hand to the head on the table. "Go ahead...I think the nose could be a little stronger." Janeway sat down as she said this and then let herself just watch Seven.

No matter what she tried to make it stop, Janeway still couldn't look at Seven without seeing Annika. She couldn't think about Seven without wishing there was a way she could have Annika as well. Janeway watched, encouraging Seven in her efforts to "strengthen" the nose. However, given the newness of the experience, it wasn't as easy as Janeway had made it seem.

Finally, Seven spoke up, "This activity is truly unproductive," she began though she kept poking at the clay, "the end result has no use. No necessary task has been accomplished. Time has been expended, nothing more." Seven stopped her poking as she looked up at Janeway, displeasure in the activity obvious in her voice and on her face.

Janeway, thought, was determined to defend her purpose in this activity, "that depends on how you look at it, doesn't it? I find sculpting helps me unwind, relax."

Seven, equally determined to understand why Janeway loved it so much spoke honestly, "the concept of relaxation is...difficult for me to understand."

Even as a child, relaxing wasn't easy for you Annika. Janeway's memories broke free for a moment before she reined them in to listen to Seven's words. "As a Borg, my time was spent working at a specific task. When it was completed, I was assigned another. It was efficient."

There's that word again 'efficient'. "Well, so is this. It helps my own efficiency to forget about Voyager for a while." Janeway finished fixing the nose but could tell the head needed a lot more work. "I'd be embarrassed to show Maestro Leonardo something like this, but...I get a great deal of pleasure in working the clay...in creating something."

"But why here, in this simulation among these archaic objects and this…disorganized environment?"

You never could stand clutter, could you? Nice to see some things never change. Janeway smiled, "Frankly it's refreshing to take myself out of the 24th century every now and then."

"But why this simulation?"

"This is a simulation of the workshop of Leonardo DaVinci, one of the most prolific artists and scientists in human history. Creating something in this environment even with the disorganization can be very...nourishing to the imagination. You should try it sometime."

"Are you suggesting that I create one of these holodeck programs?"

Damn, I didn't think she'd make that leap. Still, would be interesting to see what Seven designs as opposed to a six year old Annika...

"You might find it interesting," I know I would, "it's a way of exploring aspects of yourself that probably didn't fit into your life as a Borg—" or as a six year old, having the older version of yourself kiss the hologram of me, "—imagination, creativity, fantasy." Even curiosity.

"I am uncertain why these things are necessary."

"Well, they aren't necessary, Seven, but they're an important part of one's life, because imagination frees the mind, it inspires ideas and solutions and it can provide a great deal of pleasure. Human progress...the human mind itself couldn't exist without them."

Seven thought about that for a moment before, "Captain, does this...theory of yours regarding imagination extend to works of fiction as well?"

"Fiction? As in stories? Yes it does, why?"

"The last time we spoke, you explained about some of the words that had been flashing in my head."

""Yes, I remember."

"Since then I've taken the liberty of researching further and I came across something interesting."

"Oh?" Dammit, please don't tell me you found a link to Katie, not yet.

"By cross-referencing the words together I discovered a series of fictional works which contained a few of those words. The Harry Potter Series. Are you familiar with them?"

She found the books...great. Janeway wasn't sure if that was a good thing or not."Um, yes I am. Seven installments, written around the early 21st century. Set on Earth in a country known as England, revolving around a young orphan boy who discovers he's a wizard. The series was one of my favorites as a child." It was really the most Janeway could say without giving too much away.

"Yes. When I read them I found them interesting, yet contradictory in certain elements."

Janeway's eyes widened, "You read all seven installments in less than three days?!"

"Yes." Seven was confused, the Captain seemed to think it was unlikely. "You seem surprised by that, why?"

"I've just never known anyone who could read all seven installments so quickly. I'm...well I'm impressed."

A tingle of pleasure skittered down Seven's spine at hearing she'd impressed Captain Janeway. "I am still unclear though, as to why words from this series were in my head."

Janeway thought about that one for a moment, wondering how much information to reveal. While Janeway pondered her decision, something in the corner of the room near the ceiling caught Seven's attention. Janeway noticed Seven's distraction and took advantage of it to avoid answering the question.

"Ah, DaVinci's design for an airplane. Seven?"

Seven stood there staring at the design, transfixed by it as a flash of what might've been a memory assaulted her brain. As Seven stood there, entranced, Janeway noticed her swaying slightly. After that, Janeway grew concerned and stepped in front of Seven, grabbing her shoulders to gain her attention.

"Seven, what is it?" The concern in her voice was obvious but Seven was too preoccupied to notice.

"I...don't know." Her voice was low and a little scared as she looked back up at the design. Janeway followed her gaze, confused as to why it was affecting her young friend so much.

Finally Janeway spoke, "ok, let's take you to sick bay to see if the doctor can shed some light on the situation, ok?"

"Yes, Captain." Seven followed without protest, still trying to process the flash.

In sick bay, Janeway and the Doctor listened as Seven described what had been happening to her. Janeway was carefully concealing her reactions, her hope that maybe Annika was trying to break free and make contact.

"It's happened three times now, in different locations, at different times of the day. I experience a series of disjointed images in my mind." Seven didn't say it but the images scared her more than they confused her.

"Can you be more specific? Were these hallucinations?" The Doctor asked as he scanned Seven's brain with a tricorder.

"I don't know. I've never hallucinated." Seven paused to gather her thoughts. Janeway was practically forgotten for the moment. "It's as if I were aboard a Borg vessel, but...but I was frightened. I felt fear. Each experience is similar—I'm pursued by the Borg, they want to assimilate me. I'm...I'm running from them, and then...and then each time I see...a bird."

"A bird?"

"Yes, a large, black bird, flying toward me, shrieking...attacking me."

"Hmm." The Doctor began, "your hippocampus is in a state of agitation."

"What does that mean?"

"As your human physiology continues to reassert itself, psychological symptoms are bound to manifest in a variety of ways—through dreams, hallucinations, flashbacks. You could be experiencing some kind of post traumatic stress disorder."

Janeway jumped on that theory as a way to avoid the possibility of divulging her past with Annika to Seven."That makes sense. You were assimilated by the Borg. You've gone through an intense, prolonged trauma."

"I was not traumatized. I was raised by the Borg. I don't see them as threatening. Why would I experience fear?"

"I don't know," The Doctor replied.

I think I know. Janeway thought, Seven might not feel threatened or traumatized but Annika does. Annika has every reason to fear the Borg. She's so close to the surface in these moments. I wish I could say something, anything to Seven about Annika. But until she remembers on her own, I can't push her. I can't let my selfish desire to have my friend back ruin any chance of getting her back.

"Will I keep having these...flashbacks?" Seven sounded as if that was the last thing she wanted.

"I'll need to study your neural scans further. In the meantime, your digestive system is fully functional. Now is as good a time as any for you to begin taking solid and liquid nutrients."

"Oral consumption is inefficient."

Not always...damn! Bad thoughts Katie! Focus!

"And unnecessary, if you're lucky enough to be a hologram. But your human physiology requires it. I'll draw up a list of nutritional requirements. Take it to Mister Neelix in the Mess Hall. I hesitate to inflict his cooking on you, but it'll have to do."

As the Doctor walked away to put together the list, Seven caught Janeway looking at her. The concern in Janeway's eyes warmed her even as the uneasiness of her situation disturbed her.

"I do not enjoy this sensation. Something is happening to me and I don't know what it it. It's as though I'm being driven somehow."

With Annika behind the wheel I suspect.

Before Janeway could say something she was interrupted by Chakotay. "Chakotay to the Captain."

"Go ahead, Commander."

"Our guests have arrived. They're being escorted to the Briefing room."

"On my way." Lousy timing. Janeway turned to address Seven, "Representatives of the B'omar. I've been trying to negotiate passage through their space," as Janeway passed behind Seven towards the door she couldn't resist the need to touch Seven's arm in passing, "but so far they've been difficult to deal with. I hope they've had a change of heart."

Seven walked with Janeway to the door of sick bay, reluctant for their time together to end."I'll stay here and wait for the Doctor's instructions."

Janeway sighed, she too didn't want to end her time with Seven but duty called. Still, she spoke the only truth she could at that moment, "I'll—we'll help you through this Seven. You'll be alright." With one last gentle squeeze of Seven's shoulder, Janeway left Sickbay and Seven to deal with the B'omar.

Five minutes into the meeting with the B'omar representatives Janeway was wishing she'd stayed with Seven. The B'omar were arrogant, condescending and they made Janeway want to slug them. But she knew better than to give in to those urges.

Janeway felt herself calling upon all of her diplomacy skills to get through the meeting without causing an intergalactic incident. Idly, she wondered what Seven was doing.

Ten minutes of trying to negotiate a more direct path through B'omar space passed and Janeway was getting short on patience. The B'omar were uncompromising and Janeway was far too close to resorting to violence when she was called to the Bridge by Lieutenant Tuvok. Excusing herself, Janeway walked onto the Bridge to face a whole new headache.

Seven had gone rogue and despite their best efforts, Seven managed to get onto a shuttle and leave Voyager, heading straight into B'omar space. Needless to say, the B'omar weren't pleased. In Janeway's ready room, the two B'omar and Chakotay waited for Janeway. When she walked in, she began to try to smooth the way to get Seven back, safely.

"We'll do everything in our power to find her, but we need permission to enter B'omar space to track her shuttle effectively."

The B'omar representative wasn't swayed, "Let's tally the events, shall we? First, you arrive uninvited and unwelcome, requesting a shortcut through our space. Then you proceed to unleash some sort of rogue Borg and now you want us to help you get it back." His condescending tone was really beginning to grate on Janeway's nerves, added to the B'omar calling Seven 'it' and Janeway was just barely holding on to her temper by a thread.

"I apologize for what's happened here, but we certainly didn't 'unleash' anyone." I'd never let Annika go if I could stop her. "We can resolve this situation quickly, gentlemen, if we work together."

"Captain Janeway, after what I've seen here, I question your competence."

"May I remind you that you're still on my ship."

The shorter B'omar representative decided to chime in, "and you are only one vessel among many of ours."

"Your Borg will be dealt with quickly and efficiently. It's being tracked as we speak. The Borg will be found…and destroyed."

Like hell!! "Chancellor—"

"There will be no sharing of information. From this point on, your vessel will maintain a distance of at least five light-years from our borders. Any deviation will be considered an act of aggression."

Janeway never let slip her command mask as she ordered Chakotay to take the B'omars to the transporter room and off her ship. When they left, Janeway took a moment to calm herself before she faced her crew. She was going to get to the bottom of the situation with Seven and her sudden departure and she was going to get Seven back on Voyager alive, safe and sound.

Once she was sure she had herself under control again, Janeway ordered the assembly of a team to analyze the Cargo bay where Seven had been living during her stay on Voyager. Janeway didn't know what she expected to find but she'd leave no stone unturned as she searched for the answers he needed.

After finding the data-node with Seven's log entries, Chakotay arrived to inform Janeway of the B'omar's increased security at the borders...and to tell her the Doctor found something in Seven's last transporter records.

As they walked out of the Cargo Bay towards the turbo lift Chakotay said, "maybe this was inevitable. Even if Seven did want to stay on Voyager, her Borg nature may have won out. We can remove implant after implant, but maybe at her core, she'll always be a part of the Collective."

Stupid, foolish man! "No. I won't accept that." I know better, at her core—she's Annika. "She was responding to us—" to me and her memories, "—interacting with people outside the Collective for the first time. She was adapting to this environment," remembering her youth. "and to this crew. But where is she going? We've scanned space for a distance of forty light-years. We found no evidence of Borg ships," Janeway was pacing the turbo lift by now, "so she can't be trying to rejoin the Collective."

"She may plan to take the shuttle back to Borg space."

Over my dead body!

"Ten thousand light-years from here?" Do you have a brain or is it just a dead hamster on a spinning wheel? "I don't think so. No, something else is going on. We're missing a piece of the puzzle." And I'll bet anything Annika holds that piece. I just have to get it from her.

"I won't let the B'omar destroy her Chakotay."

Chakotay simply nodded then followed Janeway to Sick Bay.

Janeway sat in her ready room, alone. She was trying to deal with the guilt she felt over what she said to Tuvok. Her authorization to stop Seven with any force necessary if she couldn't be reasoned with. Essentially, she'd given permission for Tuvok to kill Seven if it became necessary. Janeway knew Tuvok would exhaust every means of bringing Seven back safe. Killing would only be a last resort. Still, it didn't make the guilt any easier to deal with.

When she could stand the close confines of her ready room no longer, Janeway left and, wandering aimlessly through the corridors, she found herself outside the Cargo Bay. Janeway entered and, in a moment of curiosity, she stepped onto the platform which held one of Seven's regeneration alcoves. Janeway 'assumed the position' and closed her eyes, letting Seven's residual aura wash over her and bring her a small measure of peace. This was where Ensign Harry Kim found his Captain.

Harry had been given the formidable task of translating Seven's logs from Borg language to English. He'd finally succeeded and had come to report his findings to his Captain.

"Captain? Am I disturbing you?"

Janeway opened her eyes and turned to look at the young man."Not at all, Harry."

"I've managed to decipher Seven's log entries."

That got Janeway's attention enough to get her to move off of the regeneration alcove. "And?"

"There's nothing that indicates she was planning to leave the ship. The entries are pretty unremarkable. She describes her daily routines, number of hours spent regenerating, a few entries about a series of words, that sort of thing. There were some personal log entries, mostly observations about the crew's behavior. I'm mentioned in quite a few of them...as are you Captain. Apparently, she finds my behavior easy to predict, and yours hard to fathom but not unpleasant."

Janeway smiled, "don't take it personally. Coming from Seven, that's probably a compliment."

Harry chuckled at that then explained that the most recent entries were the strangest ones. As he spoke Janeway read the entry. Janeway soon found and honed in on the description of the bird that Seven mentioned in Sick Bay earlier. "'The feathers are black. Wingspan approximately one half meter. The eyes are yellow and it has a powerful triangular beak. When it looks at me...I am paralyzed. I cannot move. It seems to know me, but I don't understand how that's possible. It's merely a bird, an inferior form of life, but the sight of it fills me with fear.'" Janeway paused a moment, thinking about what she just read. "It sounds like she's describing a member of the...Corvidae family, like a crow or..." Oh God! Of course! "...or a raven. She's describing a raven." The name of the ship she was on with her parents was called the Raven. I should've guessed when she mentioned a bird in Sick bay!

"Why is that important?" Poor Harry was confused and it didn't look like Janeway was going to clear things up any time soon.

"Because now I know what to look for," The remains of the Raven must be somewhere in B'omar space.

Janeway rushed to the bridge, determined to put her new knowledge to good use and find Seven. She would bring her back, safe and sound, so she could continue working towards her goal of restoring Seven's humanity in the form of Annika and her memories.

After thoroughly decimating any chance of a diplomatic conclusion to their interactions with the B'omar while trying to get Seven, Tuvok, and Tom back to Voyager safely, all Janeway wanted to do was forget about the ship's business for an hour or two on the holodeck.

However, when she got there she noticed her DaVinci program was already running. She knew only one person on the ship who would run that program aside from herself. Janeway took a deep breath and, squaring her shoulders, walked into DaVinci's workshop. Janeway looked around and sure enough, there was Seven standing on an upper balcony studying DaVinci's model wings.

"There you are." Janeway decided to give Seven the Doctor's message now that she'd stumbled upon her."I wanted to tell you that the Doctor said he could adjust one of your implants so that you won't receive any more homing signals." As she spoke, Janeway walked closer to the balcony Seven stood on and looked up at her.

"Thank you. I hope you don't mind that I activated this program."

"Not at all."

Seven turned and began walking down the steps to be on even footing with Janeway. "I've been thinking about what you said...that this was a place to encourage your imagination."

"Is that appealing to you?"

"I'm not certain. I find myself...constructing scenarios, considering alternative possibilities. What if my parents and I had not encountered the Borg?"

Please don't go there. I just stopped asking myself that.

"What would our lives have been?" Seven, please don't. "I would've been raised by them, learned from them." Seven paused a moment, deciding to reveal what she'd remembered. "I would've stayed on Earth with...with Katie."

Janeway felt the air rush out of her lungs. She barely managed to squeak out, "Katie?"

If Seven noticed Janeway's reaction she gave no indication as she continued, "yes, being on the Raven again triggered certain memories. The most powerful ones being of my parents and...and Katie. I remember...when the Borg came for us...I cried out for her. Not for my mother or my father, I cried out for Katie to save me."

The words were like guilt-filled arrows striking Janeway's heart. To know that in that moment when Annika was experiencing real terror, she'd cried out for her and Katie Janeway was no where to be found...it ripped her heart to shreds.

"I'm so sorry Seven." Janeway choked out the words around the lump which had taken up residency in her throat.

"You have nothing to apologize for Captain."

"Do you...do you remember who Katie was?"

For the first time, Seven actually smiled, "yes. Katie was my best friend, my babysitter, my protector. While my parents busied themselves with their work, Katie always had time for me."

"She sounds like someone you cared a great deal about."

"She was...she is...she will be."

"What do you mean?" Janeway didn't know whether she wanted Seven to know she was Katie or not.

Seven took a deep breath, "Katie is alive, I know it. I know this because...I also remembered Katie's last name...it was Janeway. Katie Janeway, she grew up to become Captain Kathryn Janeway."

Janeway was floored. She'd been hoping for a few more days (or weeks) before this little revelation. Janeway was left speechless.

Seven noticed this and took mercy on the woman who had once been her best friend. "I should regenerate now. Goodnight...Katie." Seven left the holodeck, leaving a dumbstruck Janeway in her wake.


Chapter 14

Almost a month had gone by since Seven's quiet admission that she remembered Katie. A month that found Janeway blissfully too busy with other pressing matters to devote any time to responding to Seven's revelation. Between the alien race performing secret experiments on Janeway and her crew, risking the ship in a kamikaze flight through a binary pulsar star, then saving B'Lanna from the Mari who wanted to perform a lobotomy on her as a punishment for a random violent thought, Janeway found no time to deal with the issue of Seven, Annika, & Katie.

Janeway knew that would only last so long and in all honesty, she didn't like feeling like a coward by hiding from Seven behind her duties as Captain.

Seven had finally had enough. A month ago, when she'd told Captain Janeway about what she remembered, Seven had instinctively known that her old friend would need time. Seven had only intended to give Janeway a week before she confronted her about 'Katie'. However, circumstances had conspired to prevent that, so that a month had passed before Seven had a chance to talk to her Captain. A few days after the...incident on the Mari homeworld, Voyager was passing through a quiet patch of space when Seven made up her mind to confront Captain Janeway about 'Katie'.

Captain Kathryn Janeway had returned to her quarters after an uneventful, quiet shift on the Bridge. While quiet stretches of space were rare and meant that she could work regular eight hour shifts, Janeway loved action. Janeway had just sat down on her couch with a glass of wine and a book, ready to simply relax when the chime on her door sounded. Sighing heavily, Janeway put her book down on the coffee table before, "come in."

The doors opened and Seven of Nine entered. Janeway's throat tightened as her heartbeat tripped into overdrive. She'd known that she'd have to talk to Seven sooner or later about Seven's newly rediscovered memories. Janeway just wished it could've been later...when she could've been better prepared. Though something told her she'd never really be ready for this conversation.

"Hello Seven." Janeway said, her calm voice in direct opposition to her inner emotions.

"Good evening Captain. I...I was wondering if we could talk." Seven stumbled uncharacteristically as she tried to word her request for a talk.

Janeway briefly considered putting it off but soon realized she'd been a coward long enough. "Alright. Have a seat."

Seven walked over to the couch and carefully sat down. She was unaccustomed to sitting but she was willing to try it... especially if it made Captain Janeway more relaxed.

"Captain, I..." Seven paused, then tried a different approach. "Do you recall what I told you a month ago in the holodeck?" Seven finally asked, deciding the direct approach would be more efficient.

Janeway smiled, "yes I remember. What about it?"

Seven paused, then, "I need to know if what I remembered on board the remains of the Raven was an accurate memory... was it?"

Janeway knew it was now or never and never was not an option. Janeway took a deep breath and, "I believe it was, Seven."

Seven absorbed that in silence. Then, "so that would mean...that you are..." Seven's voice trailed off, unable to finish her sentence as the full import of the information hit her.

Janeway took pity on her friend and just nodded, "yes."

"Katie?" A whisper.

"Yes Seven." Janeway just confirmed...not knowing yet what else to say.

Seven frowned, "you knew me when I was a child?"


"How long have you known who I used to be?" Seven needed to know.

Janeway paused, "known for certain? Since I had the Doctor run your DNA through the Starfleet databases to find out who you had been before you were assimilated. When I found out your human identity, it floored me. I remembered you right away," Janeway's voice dropped to a whisper, "Annika."

Seven listened, trying to make sense of what she was being told. As Seven sat silent, Janeway's guilt began nibbling on hr conscience again. She had guilt not only about her role in Annika's disappearance and subsequent assimilation but also guilt from what Seven had said before about calling out for Katie and not having her there to save her.

While Janeway's guilt threatened to consume her, Seven began forming questions."Captain, when did you have my DNA run?"

"Just after we severed your link to the Collective."

"This whole time, nearly three months, you knew about me. Knew my past and the memories I'd lost...why didn't you tell me the truth?"

Janeway paused to form her answer, she knew if it wasn't worded just right, she'd lose Annika and Seven—and that was unacceptable. "I couldn't. You have to understand Seven, for almost twenty years I thought that...that you were dead. The greatest loss of my life, second only to my father's death, was when I came back from that training mission and found out you were gone. A part of me froze the day Starfleet officially called officially called off the search." Janeway paused to take a breath, searching Seven's face for a reaction and finding only a glint of the spark that was Annika."When I found out it was you under all that Borg technology, the part of me that had lain cold and dormant, warmed and came back to life. But...but I knew that if I rushed you to remember by confessing everything, I'd lose you all over again. You needed to remember on your own, do you understand?"

Seven remained silent, thinking. Logically, she knew Janeway was right., that she had to come to this place on her own. Seven closed her eyes and looked inward, she tapped into her memories of being Annika.

{{ In a surreal space which existed in her own Borg-enhanced mind, Seven found her younger self.


The young girl nodded, a small smile on her sweet, cherubic face. "Hi Seven."

"What is going on?"

"This is where I exist now...in your subconscious." The little girl's smile remained in place as she continued, "You found Katie." It wasn't a question, she knew.

"More like she found me, but yes."

"I always knew she would. Katie can do anything." The affection, and yes a touch of hero-worship was evident in the younger girl's voice.

Seven smiled, "it would seem that way." Seven thought back to the numerous times she'd seen Captain Janeway beat the odds and come out on top.

Annika knew what was holding her older self back and decided to open the door. "Forgive her Seven. What she did, she did for me—for us. Let her off the hook, please. It's the only was to get Katie back. Please Seven, I need Katie back...we both do."

Seven nodded, agreeing to 'get Katie back' by forgiving her. Though she didn't fully understand why, she knew that her younger self, and yes possibly even her current self, needed the friendship of Katie Janeway. Annika thanked her again, hugged her and waved goodbye. }}

Seven opened her eyes and saw Janeway sitting patiently but with concern evident in her eyes. Seven smiled, she was getting used to smiling, thinking of Annika.

"I think I understand Katie, I mean Captain." A little bit of Annika had slipped out just then and Seven hoped Captain Janeway wouldn't be upset by it.

Janeway smiled, hearing her old nickname in Seven's voice, knowing that it came from the part of her that was remembering being Annika, was like aloe on a sunburn—soothing. "Seven, when it's just the two of us, alone together, you can call me Katie, ok?"

Seven grinned, a little bit of Annika bleeding out again, "ok...Katie."

"I'm glad that's settled. I've missed you." Janeway let herself slip a little, hoping to tap into the part of Seven that was remembering being Annika.

"Katie, Annika and I both forgive you. Please let go of the guilt you feel. For Annika."

Janeway was surprised by Seven's words."I can't promise that. I can try but it won't be easy."

"Understood. But Cap—I mean Katie, you did nothing wrong. Not twenty years ago and not over these past weeks. My parents would've taken me with them on that last mission. They'd planned to run away from the Federation and Starfleet. Even if you had been on Earth, they never would've let me stay behind. So you see, you have nothing to feel guilty about Katie."

Janeway listened, smiling. Hearing Seven talk about her past like this made her happy, even if the words were not what she wanted to hear. Janeway's guilt was unwilling to let her off the hook so easily.

"I hear what you're saying Seven but, I can't know that for certain, and neither can you. Maybe if I had been there, your mom would've let you stay with me."

Seven shook her head, she'd known most of this before she was assimilated but after she'd been linked to both of her parents' minds through the Collective, she'd come to know their thoughts as well...she knew she wasn't mistaken. "No, she would not have left me behind when they finally got their chance. Katie, my parents weren't perfect but they did love me, and when our minds were linked through the Collective, I found out all their secrets..." and they found out mine. "I am sorry that I never got to say goodbye, that we never had the chance to go camping in your father's holodeck, as you promised before you left on your training mission."

Janeway smiled, eager to change the subject, "you remember that? My promise?"

Seven smiled, a little bit of Annika rising to the surface once again as she said, "even after I knew we were not going back to Earth anytime soon, even after my parents explained to me why, I clung to that promise. I kept it, and you, close to my heart right up to the moment I was assimilated. The little girl you knew was locked away in the darkest recess of her brain so that the Borg could not destroy her. This is why I was able to remember her."

Janeway listened, absorbing this new information. To Janeway it sounded as if Annika and Seven were two different persons existing in the same mind. It occurred to Janeway that maybe that was part of the assimilation process. Knowing so little about what actually happens, Janeway could only speculate but maybe, when a Borg drone is freed from the 'shackles' of the Collective, the place where their original personality and memories are stored is opened up as well. It was all speculation but it would explain Seven being able to remember her life as Annika while at the same time almost disassociating from it. Hearing Seven talk about her younger self in the third person was an odd thing for Janeway but it also lent credence to her theory. Before Janeway could voice her theory, the ship was rocked. Janeway's hand automatically went to her combadge.

"Janeway to the Bridge."

"We're under attack, Captain." Came Chakotay's response.

"I'm on my way." Janeway glanced apologetically at Seven. "we'll continue this conversation later. Right now I'm needed on the Bridge."

Janeway headed to the Bridge while Seven, needing to be useful, headed to her post in Astrometrics.

As Janeway stepped onto the Bridge she could see that they were being fired on by an unknown enemy. "Who are they and why are they shooting at us?" Janeway asked Chakotay, who was supposed to be in charge while she was off the Bridge.

"I don't know Captain. They're not responding to hails."

Janeway barely resisted the urge to roll her eyes. "Damage?"

Lt. Paris replied, "None."

"I'm reading a slight destabilization along the shield perimeter." Harry chimed in.

"Attempting to compensate." Tuvok replied, his usual Vulcan calm in place.

Janeway noticed how her Bridge crew worked like a well oiled machine, like a team and it made her smile.

Meanwhile, the ships kept coming at them.

"Torres to the Bridge."

"Go ahead."

"We just lost the warp diagnostic assembly."

"What do you mean 'lost'?" Janeway was confused and a little pissed off.

"It disappeared." B'Elanna's voice reflected Janeway's confusion and irritation.

Janeway was silenced by that for a moment.

Then Harry spoke up, "I'm picking up dematerializations on Decks 4 through 12."

"Evasive maneuvers." Janeway ordered Tom.

Tom Paris changed their course but found their enemy was matching the changes and he told Janeway as much.

"It's definitely some kind of transporter beam." Chakotay began as he checked the read outs on the console at his chair.

Janeway turned to Tuvok, "Fire at will." She was done playing nice.

"I have the will but not the means, Captain. Targeting control is down." Tuvok replied.


It was Harry who answered, "Captain, the main computer processor is gone. We've lost weapons, navigation and propulsion."

"Back up systems are coming online."

"Full phasers, manual targeting, keep firing until you hit something." Janeway ordered.

Pretty soon the other ships retreated and Chakotay ordered full damage reports from all decks.

Janeway called the Senior Staff into the conference room for a full assessment of what had just happened. The final tally for missing items removed by the unknown enemies was five Tricorders, three phaser rifles, a couple of photon torpedo casings, two anti-matter injectors, a month's supply of emergency rations, and the Doctor's mobile emitter. Despite the losses, the biggest loss was the main computer processor., getting it back was their top priority. Janeway turned to Lt. Torres. "B'Elanna, I want a defense against another transporter attack. Harry, do everything you can to track those ships."

"Yes ma'am."


The Senior Staff left the conference room to return to their posts. Janeway retreated to her ready room, not yet ready to face Seven again.

Harry, however, was eager to see Seven, though he chose to hide behind the cloak of work. Harry entered Astrometrics and found Seven there working, Harry tried to sound as if he'd not expected to see her there even though he'd known she would be there. "Seven, hey..." Before he could continue, Seven cut him off, "If you're here to fraternize, I do not have the time."

Harry didn't let himself get flustered. "Actually, the Captain wanted me to locate the ships that attacked us."

The mention of the Captain got Seven's attention though she didn't show it.

"I've pushed the long range sensors about as far as they'll go..." Harry continued only to be cut off again by Seven.

"And now you believe the sensors can be extended by using the deep space imaging system." Seven interrupted, finally turning to look at Harry.

"Well, yes."

Seven turned back to her console, "I've been working on that exact procedure for the past two hours." Seven didn't mention that she didn't need a Captain's order to know what to do...or that she felt slighted at not being included in the meeting in the conference room.

"Really? Let's have a look."

Seven turned to Harry, her usual Borg confidence momentarily replaced by Annika's human insecurity. "do you doubt my ability to finish the task?"

The lapse was brief but enough to fluster Harry who wasn't used to explaining every little thing he said. "It...look... I came here to work. Um...I realized you'd already started the job...so I offered to help. That's all. I offered to help." Harry moved several feet away from Seven as he spoke, hoping to seem less threatening than he thought he was.

Seven accepted his explanation and then explained a problem she was having then gave Harry a task to complete to help fix the problem.

As Harry was trying to say something, probably along the lines of 'I don't take orders from you', Seven simply gave him a choice: do what she asked or leave the room.

Harry chose the easy path and just complied, preferring to avoid having to tell the Captain why he's left the room over such a silly thing. They worked in silence after Harry made a wasted attempt to explain to Seven that she should learn to be more diplomatic when dealing with other crew members.

Ten days passed before Voyager was able to track down its missing technology...mostly because the ship's systems were only at half capacity. They'd tracked the Starfleet signatures to a planet a few light years away. Because the planet was a center of commerce, Janeway agreed to send an undercover away team to the surface to locate their technology.

"Tuvok, you and I are going after the processor. Tom, Neelix, I want you on the other continent to find out what you can. At the very least try to get our emergency rations back. Chakotay, you have the Bridge."

Janeway, Tuvok, Tom and Neelix left the Bridge then, heading for the transporter room. Halfway there, Janeway was hailed.

"Seven of Nine to Captain Janeway."

"Janeway here."

"Captain please come to Astrometrics for a moment."

Janeway thought about refusing, then found she couldn't say no to Annika or Seven. "On my way. Tuvok wait for me in the transporter room, Tom, Neelix, go ahead without us."

The three men nodded and kept walking to the transporter room while Janeway made her way to Astrometrics.

When Janeway walked into the Astrometrics lab, Seven was alone, the screen behind her lit up with its usual data on their current location. "You wanted to see me Seven?"

Now that Janeway was standing in front of her, Seven felt silly for calling her there. Still...she wasn't going to let that stop her.

"I apologize for my timing Captain but, I simply wanted to ask you to be careful on the planet."

Janeway was touched and confused all at once. "Did the sensors pick up a threat?"

"No I just...well actually." Seven paused, realizing that Annika could explain better than she could, Seven let Annika come to the surface, when she did, her voice dropped to a whisper. "I got scared, Katie."

Janeway knew then it wasn't Seven who had called her there, it was Annika. As confusing as it sometimes seemed, Janeway had come to understand that there would be times when the little girl Seven had once been would surface to make herself heard.

Seven was in a rare position. When Annika had been assimilated, she hadn't been destroyed she'd been hidden in a dark corner of the now Borg-enhanced brain that had been created. Without the connection to the Collective, that dark corner had been lit up and Annika had freed herself only to discover that she'd been left behind.

Her body had aged and developed its own personality. Annika's only option now was to watch the world from behind Seven's eyes. But Seven had made peace with Annika so that her younger self could occasionally surface and interact with Katie.

"Annika?" Janeway asked, hoping to talk to her old friend.

Seven, realizing they both needed this, allowed Annika to stay out a while longer.

"Yes Katie."

"Annika what scared you?" Though Janeway felt a bit silly asking, she didn't let it show.

Tears welled up in Seven's human eye. "I don't want to lose you. Not again and not now after I found you again."

"You won't lose me Annika. I promise. And I promise you I'll be careful on the planet, ok?"

Annika nodded, knowing Katie always kept her promises. Seven, realizing Annika was done, took control again. Still, she kept her voice soft as she said, "Lieutenant Tuvok is waiting Captain. We'll talk later?"

Janeway knew Annika had been replaced and so she nodded and put her command face back on.

Just before Janeway turned to go, Seven surprised her by hugging her. It was a brief hug, too short for Janeway to react to but long enough to make her want more. Without another word, Janeway left and headed to the transporter room, smiling.

Despite her promise to Annika to be careful on the planet, Janeway found it necessary to take a few risks, especially when she was trying to get the main computer processor back. With Tuvok's help. Janeway devised a plan to recover the processor.

While Janeway was having her 'adventure' on the planet, Seven was on the ship, missing her. Before she could fully immerse herself in her own melancholy, Seven was reminded of someone else's less than stellar situation: the Doctor. Seven went to Sickbay for her weekly checkup. The Doctor began to question her about the ship's goings on.

"So, what's new?"


"What's been happening on the ship?" The Doctor clarified as he scanned Seven's implants with a tricorder.

"Nothing of consequence. The Captain and Tuvok are still searching for the processor." Seven had learned that if she thought of Katie Janeway as 'Captain' then she could avoid the distraction that thinking of Katie always provided.

"What's the mood?"

"If you're referring to crew moral, they seem focused on their mission."

The Doctor, trapped in Sickbay without his mobile emitter was eager for gossip. "Hmm...I heard there was something of a fuss in the mess hall last night. "

"A trivial misunderstanding."

"Oh?" The Doctor perked up, hoping for more. When none was forthcoming he went on, "well, you seem in excellent health. Most of your implants are stable, but your optical interface is misaligned again. I told you to come in for maintenance once a week. So, what happened in the mess hall?" He tried again as he realigned Seven's optical interface.

"Lieutenant Torres and I were working on some Astrometric data. There was a disagreement." Seven refused to mention that she'd lost control of Annika for a split second and referred to the Captain as Katie in front of B'Elanna.

"I understand thing got a little...heated." The Doctor's face lit up at the thought.

"Lieutenant Torres became emotional." Lt Torres got curious about the Katie remark and wouldn't let it go. Thankfully, she'd also been discreet enough to cover it as an Astrometric problem. "She chose to display hostility rather than to counter my argument." My insistence that she let what I said go and forget about it. Stubborn woman.

"What did she say exactly?"

"It is irrelevant." No way was Seven going to repeat B'Elanna's words. "Suffice it to say I was correct and she was not."

The Doctor became frustrated. "Details Seven, I want specifics."

"I see no reason to discuss these trivialities."

"Without my mobile emitter, I am a prisoner in here. I need to know what's going on beyond these walls, trivial or not."

Seven thought about that. While she understood the Doctor's situation, she still wasn't going to tell him the truth about what had happened, so she pulled out another argument she'd had with Lieutenant Torres and substituted it for the truth. "Lieutenant Torres referred to me as an automaton. She also employed a series of profane Klingon insults. Shall I translate them for you?"

"By all means, I very much..."

The Doctor was interrupted by Tuvok, who summoned Seven to the Astrometrics lab. He reluctantly let her leave.

As Seven headed to the Astrometrics lab, she tried to put Lt Torres' words out of her mind. Every time they argued, Torres always used the same insults, mainly because they worked so well.

In the Astrometrics lab, Seven dove right into the work Tuvok assigned her, determined not to think about Captain Janeway and why she was still on the surface. Seven always liked working with Tuvok, his Vulcan logic worked well with her Borg efficiency. Annika only liked him because Katie liked him.

Within a few minutes, they'd located the main computer processor. Against Annika's objections of it being too risky, Seven suggested to Tuvok a way for Janeway to help them get the processor. As Tuvok left to inform the Captain, Seven stayed behind.

{{ "Seven listen to me." Annika pleaded. Seven braced herself on the console and closed her eyes and let herself be 'moved' to where Annika existed.

"I am listening."

"It's too dangerous Seven. Katie could be hurt or worse. Please stop this."

"Annika, Katie is more than capable and we must trust her. She promised she'd be careful and you know she keeps her promises."

"I'm scared Seven. I can't lose Katie again. I just can't." Annika began crying.

Seven wrapped her arms around her, trying to comfort her younger self. "You must have faith in Katie."

They stayed like that for a while, Annika drawing strength from Seven while Seven offered whatever comfort she could. After a while, Seven pulled away to look at her younger self. What she saw in her eyes spoke volumes. "How long Annika?"

"How long what?" Annika knew what Seven had seen but wasn't ready to admit it yet. Seven had to ask the question.

"How long have you been in love with Katie?" There. The question was out there...awaiting an answer.

Annika took a deep breath, "from the moment she let me call her Katie, I knew. I was only four but I knew she was going to be important to me. She became my bet friend, my only friend, and when I was forced to leave her I realized she was my first love. But it wasn't until just before I was locked away in your mind, when for a few moments I was linked to my parents' thoughts that I truly knew what it was I felt for Katie. Their experiences and thoughts helped me realize my own feelings...then I was locked into this room in your mind and all I could do from then on was think about Katie. That's why I altered the holoprogram to include an older me, I realized. I needed her to know I felt even if back then I didn't truly know it yet."

Annika paused, then began again, "All these years, locked away in your mind, all I thought about was her. I prayed I'd see her again even though I knew it was unlikely. I cried for the pain my disappearance would cause her. I hoped she'd remember me...but, thanks to the link she shared with us, the Borg Queen soon made me see I'd be forgotten under everything and every one else she'd know. But now, seeing her here, in front of me, I realize she never forgot about me, never truly gave up on me. Fate led her here to find me, find us. She cared about me, and still does I think. I have a second chance to be with her. But I know you're not in love with her Seven. Nothing I do or say can change that. You may have been a drone and accustomed to following orders but you sill have the choice whether to feel or not feel for her."

Annika couldn't tell if she was making any sense but she had to get it all out. The Borg had perfected their methods and this was the result when a drone was severed and restored to her former humanity.

"If that is true, why tell me about your feelings?"

Annika sighed, "just because I can't force you to love her doesn't mean you can't be told. You need to know the options before you if you're to make an informed decision. If you do fall for Katie, all this duality can end. We will become one and we'll both be finally free from the Borg-ness that controls you and imprisons me."


"Until we merge, the Borg implants in your brain will always control you and keep me in my place. They were designed to work in tandem with the Collective link, but with the link gone they can be destroyed. Together, we have the ability to remove that Borg control and be as human as we can be, given the permanent alterations we must live with. But, before we can do that, we must be mentally and emotionally in harmony. Do you understand?"

Seven thought about it. She accessed her knowledge of Borg assimilation techniques and processes and realized that Annika was right. She knew that Annika would never be free until this happened. Seven wanted Annika free, only Annika could help her truly be human and make Katie happy again. Seven already knew she had feelings for Katherine Janeway. All she needed now was a sign that those feelings could be mutual and she'd be free to fall for Katie.

"I understand. I will do what I can Annika." Annika smiled and nodded. }}

Seven opened her eyes and became aware of her surroundings. She was still in Astrometrics. Seven checked the chronometer and realized that several hours had passed since Tuvok had left.

"Computer, located Captain Janeway."

"Captain Janeway is in holodeck one."

Seven smiled, glad that the Captain was back on board. Seven started walking toward the holodecks, hoping to talk with the Captain about what had happened on the planet. Seven reached the holodeck and noticed the Captain was running an unnamed program. Not wanting to disturb her, Seven simply stood and waited outside in the hall for Janeway to emerge.

To Be Continued

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