By Elizabeth Carter
"Are you sure?" B'Elanna leaned close to Seven as they shared a table in the mess hall. The table adjacent to them held the very talkative children. Apparently Kiddo's name was Itchy. A name the young boy didn't seem very fond of and the others found amusing. Causing Kiddo er....Itchy to brood.
"Very certain. I was able to access the database but not unlock complete personnel records. Though I do have a crew manifest. It appears whoever is behind this attack didn't want us to know just what ranks and roles we play."
"Make us all the more disorientated. But we're already figuring it out. I'm an engineer, and command is natural to me so I think I'm Chief of Engineering. You took command, until we find out otherwise, I'd say you're the captain. But knowing our roles is the least of our problems," B'Elanna said.
"The possibility we have shape-changing enemies is an obstacle. Even having personnel files is not reliable, Species 8472 or the Changelings can simply assume the form of a crew member. With our memories gone they could assimilate themselves into our crew without our full awareness. We have no memory with which to reference if they behave out of character."
"We don't know it that is the case, Soch. We do know we had an incursion and possibly a foothold situation. We need a way to screen all personnel though."
"Species 8472 are from fluidic space, they have no true solid form therefore they do not bleed nor do the Changelings as we do. The Changelings are liquid plasma based lifeforms again they will not bleed as we do. Both species can create a facsimile of humanoids but they will not contain internal organs such as we do," Seven explained.
"So we do blood exams?"
"A hundred and forty-nine exams is not efficient but it is practical considering the alternative."
"Kes and PetaQ will have their hands filled," B'Elanna acquiesced.
"PetaQ his name is Tom Paris," Seven clarified. "I do not know why our daughter calls PetaQ, she seemed familiar to address him as such."
"Yeah I like calling him, PetaQ, as well. I say we make it stick." B'Elanna was only half teasing. If her youngest (as she came to see the other children as hers as well) claimed the sandy blond human was honorless then perhaps little Miral was right.
Seven felt the corners of her mouth give in to a phantom smirk. "I doubt, Paris would be so inclined. Though it could be a nickname, such as we privately use for myself in the presence of our family. You call me Soch but I am named Seven. And on the tip of my mind I have a name I think I call you, Lanna."
"Lanna? The Klingon smiled softly. "I like the sound of it from your lips. Lanna. Yeah that does seem familiar."
It could be Paris / PetaQ forgot to be an arse. Whatever the case, B'Elanna knew her wife....was correct, Tom Paris would have to know his name, as the rest of the crew would have to be made aware of theirs. Wife? The Klingon thought that over for a moment. Yes wife...a mate! Seven....Soch was her mate.
B'Elanna looked over the data-PADD Seven had been holding and saw that Easy-on-Eyes was Susan Nicoletti. Carey was right his name was Carey. Bolian was Chell. Itchy....B'Elanna smirked at the gangly-all-limbs-youth was Icheb. Which to an infant tongue had been shortened to Itchy.
"Mizoti... became Zot, Naomi became No-mee, Azan and Rebi became Rebe and Zan. Nee the speckled hedgehog in those loud clothing is Neelix. Wa'hom got Kes the Pixy's name right, she is Kes." B'Elanna accounted the familiar faces of her children and those Miral had identified. Earring was Ro Laren again Miral got the name right. Red was Kathryn Janeway. There were a list of others that both Seven and B'Elanna now recognized from either people they had passed in the corridors of the ship, as well as in the sections of the vessel they had worked in, or now in the mess hall.
Tal Celes another Bajoran who seemed a bit overly anxious, she was first on Seven's list as possible suspects as an infiltrator, she was either a very talented spy or a very clumsy and unqualified scientist in Seven's mind. Perhaps if she was apart of the crew, she was merely overly excited about the amnesia. Whatever the case Kes was sent to run a test on the woman to verify she was Bajoran and not a hostile. Something about the woman set Seven's teeth on edge. As if she was the icon of inefficiency.
Seven concluded that if Kes discovered Celes was one or the other it would become the beneficent of her inquisition on the matter of the amnesia. If Tal Celes was a hostile she could be interrogated to discover the reason behind what was looking more and more like an attack versus a natural phenomena. And if she was a true crew member then it would be a relief. Seven hoped that this Celes woman was hypertensive-overly-anxious female because of the ailment that had taken the ship, versus simple ineptitude or even a spy and saboteur.
With the internal communication systems now functioning it made others feel at ease. Seven would make a ship-wide announcement about the amnesia that everyone including the computer core seemed to be afflicted with, that people were to stay where they were, check in via the communication system and if anyone actually recalled who they were, what role they played on the ship they were to report to the bridge immediately.
A manifest would be posted on the terminals for anyone to access. It was a direct order to report any manner of recollection regardless of how small and seemingly insignificant or irrelevant for it could lead to greater recollections and answers as to what had happened. Seven further identified herself as acting captain. Each area was to have an assigned delegate that would act as a senior staff member and representative to efficiently establish order in this chaos. Maintaining functional order was imperative.
"Why does she get to be the queen?" Red now Kathryn grumbled as she and Ro had finished repairing a damaged gel pack located in a Jeffries tube that ran behind the bridge. In fact all the gel packs of the ship had to be replaced as each had suffered the virus same as the crew of the ship.
"Would you let it go," Ro was becoming exceedingly irritated at the woman she called lover. "She took command because it came natural to her. Like I said who's to say she isn't the captain? She definitely carries herself with superiority and confidence just like a leader. Look, I know how to replace the gel pack but I don't ever recall touching one. I know the touch of the helm. Maybe, I'm a pilot? And I can find no fault in Captain Seven's command thus far. If I do, I'll point it out, but right now she's doing well, I say leave it be. We need a leader. She adopted the role. Let her have it."
Ro had made some excellent points, and Kathryn found herself agreeing with the sound judgment. "You sure you're a helmsmen and not the first officer?"
"Nope," Ro shrugged. "Amnesia remember?" she laughed at her own joke causing her glum companion to smirk.
"That was bad."
"I can be punny when the time calls for it. Lighten up, we at least now have names. We have names because of our acting captain. She rose to the occasion Red. In my opinion, I think we need to support her rather than undermine her because of jealousy issues. Everything thus far Captain Seven has done has been for the benefit of our little collection of amnesiacs, like I said we need a leader, and it might as well be her."
Kathryn found herself listening to her companion, every point she made had been an excellent one, there was no reason not to comply. "As you wish 'Commander' Ro."
Ro leaned over and placed a light fluffy kiss on the bridge of the older woman's nose. "That's my girl. Come on we have a dozen more or so of these things to replace." The Bajoran placed the defective gel pack into the hazardous materials containment unit before moving onto the next section of the bridge's Jeffries tube.
The priorities of the day were threefold. Repairs; help those in need of medical assistance and of course find the cause of the amnesia. Seven had the whole crew multi-tasking from approved personnel by B'Elanna to change out all the gel pacs to repairing the computer core, and structural as well as cosmetic damages to the ship.
As for the computers, Seven took on that task herself. No one was able to access personal records, let alone the data bases. What Seven had done earlier with activating her tubules had repaired several problems but it still had not solved the main problem. Seven wanted to recover the complete crew manifest, the core of the ship's computer data banks. Someone had gone to a great deal of trouble to ensure that the information was lost. The evidence was pointing to sabotage.
Because of practicality, Seven used the now functioning Astrometrics lab to locate an M-class planet: what she found was an M-class forest moon. Her intention was to land the ship, replenish supplies and repair the damage to the ship's exterior hull and solve the amnesia crises.
Not knowing who the senior staff were, Seven once again made a command decision. She took a member from each major department. B'Elanna from Engineering, Red aka Janeway from Science, the Vulcan male that carried himself as would an officer of the law, his name Tuvok, Neelix from the mess hall, Kes from medical, Ro from helm and the young man who adapted himself to the Ops station one Harry Kim.
They met in the briefing room adjacent the bridge.
"Thank you for reporting." Seven started the meeting. "Until we are able to uncover the ship's true crew manifest, we have no way of knowing our roles. We seem to have some latent memories or knowledge concerning certain areas of science, engineering and medicine and even security and culinary skills."
"I've got a question," commented Janeway, raising her hand as if she were a student back at the academy, though she wasn't sure which academy that would have been.
"Go ahead," said Seven.
"Why is it you're the acting captain?"
"I adapted to the role," Seven said as if the logic behind her position was clearly evident. "If, I am not the captain when we discover the truth, I will of course stand down to the individual who is. Until that time, I will continue to function as such. If you do not think me fit to guide then make your objections known. This goes for all of you."
"You said guide not lead," Tuvok pointed out.
"I cannot call myself a leader for I do not know that I am. I do know however that I can guide us through this time of tribulation. I am adept at the skills of an engineer, an astrophysicist, and leadership. We have a Chief Engineer; B'Elanna seems to instinctively know that is her role. Her knowledge of engineering is superlative, and she is a natural leader."
"But that's ...no offence, B'Elanna," the fresh faced Asian started, "to be Klingon natural leaders....because they are more assertive than Humans, Vulcans or others like the Bolians."
B'Elanna shrugged. "Maybe, but just know what I'm supposed to be doing and my gut tells me I'm the boss down there, that's my territory. Save for that guy Carey, the others seem to think so too."
"As, I said we have adapted to instinctual and habitual roles," Seven brought the conversation back around to the original objection from the redhead. "As for the topic of my skills of leadership, we will take a poll of no confidence. Are there any others other than Officer Janeway that desire to run?"
Heads turned looking at each other then back to Seven.
"Just you two," Ro said. "Look, I don't see a reason why we have to vote." That earned her a deep scowl from her girlfriend, "But I suppose it's the fair way."
Seven nodded. "Then I will comply with the outcome. Will you Officer Janeway?"
"Yes, I will, though a true leader would not have to make the vote, she would just take command."
"I am not a despot, and with the amnesia viruses it is the only way to reestablish the camaraderie of this vessel. If everyone thinks they have a say in who leads them, who guides them, they will pull together and work as a collective. What a captain cannot have is disorder and chaos and I will not allow it to run amok on this ship. And you seem to have forgotten, I had taken command and a crew member objected, and so here we are now."
"She took the wind out of your sails, didn't she?" Neelix smiled. "Well you have my vote, Captain Seven. All here in favor of Seven taking the role of Captain raise your hand."
All but two did so. Ro looked at her lover, the woman she woke naked with, who had shown passion. She leaned over as if to say something in her ear, "Sorry...." and then she raised her hand.
Red seemed to grow frustrated, almost irritable, but then sighing she spoke, "As long as you promise to step aside once we discover the true captain, of course that doesn't count if you are the true captain, I stand down. I won't object in fact you've done a pretty good job of leading. I won't deny what I see. I still think you're a bit young for the role of captain though, and that could be just age speaking." Janeway begrudged having to admit to the latter, but if she was truthful and pragmatic, that was the real issue. She felt slighted because a far younger woman was leading.
"Thank you," Seven said with no show of gloating in her voice.
"Why don't we just ask the child?" Neelix suggested. "She is the only one on board not affected by the amnesia."
"No one would trust a child's judgment," Tuvok said, "They will think that because she is Seven's daughter she is predisposed to say that her mother is our captain."
"Not necessarily so, if she knows who is the captain she might think the title is the name of that individual, especially one that young," Neelix defended.
"And if she doesn't know?" Ro asked.
"Then nothing, I suppose, but there is no harm in making the attempt. Is there?" the furry man continued to make his argument.
Seven stood. "All this aside, there is another issue I need to propose. I have located an M-class moon within three light-years of our current position. It is in our best interest to set down away from any indigenous sentient life forms to resupply, make the necessary outer hull repairs and fortify our efforts in discovering a cure for the amnesia virus."
"Sounds like a clear plan there, Seven." B'Elanna supported her wife. The designation of wife was becoming clearer and more familiar term to think of the gorgeous blonde. "Let's do it."
"And the vote of the ship?" Janeway asked.
"You still seem to need the verification. Very well you take the ship wide poll, whatever the outcome it will be discussed later, for now it is an inefficient use of our time when we have work to do," Seven said dismissively.
Though slightly jaded about the age span, Red now Kathryn Janeway couldn't help but admire the spirit and power the young woman held. Perhaps she really was the captain after all. "I think our outcome will pretty much be the same the majority will let you lead for the moment, after all you were the one to reestablish the computer power. And knowing that you're willing to step down if you are not our captain will only add to the support the crew members are likely to give you."
"Crew members...." Seven took a beat before speaking again. "I have discovered something as I was trying to repair the computer core. It is rather disturbing but it is necessary this be handled with discretion. The amnesia...it is my belief it is a deliberate act, and as such we may still have the saboteur on board," Seven waited another beat before speaking. "If you look at your Data PADDs you'll discover all relevant facts concerning this issue of sabotage."
They all looked, even B'Elanna who knew of her wife's findings read the report. What surprised her was not exactly the topic but how Seven had compiled the findings. It read like a theses, biological and anthropological reports on both the Changelings, and Species 8472. How they were able to manipulate their physical form to mimic the familiar. Seven had written several different plausible scenarios as to how either species could affect the entire crew's memories, what she lacked as a motive, other than the possibility they were at war with either species.
"I have ordered both crew persons Kes and Paris to do DNA screening and to physically draw blood form all personnel. Those who do not comply will be contained in the brig holding cell until such time as they are deemed to be who they say they are. If we have to we can even convert one of the cargo bays into a holding facility." Seven said as the others were still reading their data PADDs. "It will take time, but I find this to be of great importance. And we will start with appointed senior staff."
"A tactical and logical move." Tuvok praised the young woman.
"I am pleased you agree after your test I would appreciate it if you would assist our medics. I will of course be the first to comply with the directive."
It would only take moments before Kes came in looking a little nervous about the tests she was about to run, but she had to agree with her captain it was the best way to prove that all personnel were who they said they were. Seven had made the announcement that the crew manifest was now accessible and names and faces of all individuals could now be viewed.
Now all was left for the medical teams to do was to verify the manifest agreed with the DNA screening. Injuries thankfully were minor. A few set bones, contusions one concussion, a few anxiety cases, and almost everyone had a headache whether or not they wanted to admit it. Both Kes and PetaQ or rather Paris had agreed the headaches had something to do with the amnesia
It took several long minutes before Kes looked up from her medical tricorder and the portable CODIS ( combined DNA Index System: an adapted data base of DNA records.) Had they had their memories the crew would have known it was an implement used by the security teams and Starfleet.
"DNA for the senior staff checks out," Kes said. "Exemplars of the blood matches DNA for special comparisons."
There was a palpable exhale of relief in the conference room.
"Excellent. Start the scans with the rest of the crew, you can allocate help to expedite the scans so that you and Mr. Paris can start finding a cause and thus a cure for the amnesia," Seven ordered.
"It would help Captain if we can get CAT-scans and MRI's of everyone. If we have sections of the ship report in we can do several procedures at once."
Seven smiled at the efficiency of her medical staff. "Make it so."
Kes nodded and headed for Sickbay.
"Before we dismiss, I need to bring up another issue," Seven said. "A first officer needs to be appointed. Perhaps that position should be yours, Janeway. It might be that it is your position."
"Second in command?" Janeway paused to consider it. "I've been contesting you at every turn what makes you think that you can trust me to support you?"
Seven didn't answer. She stood slowly, "If you are unable to function as my second in command then I will offer the position to Ro Laren. I selected you because you did contest me. But you showed support when you succumbed to logic. The choice is before you. I want an answer before I leave this room. You will comply."
Seven only got two paces before Janeway spoke up. "You've got your first officer, Captain."
Seven didn't turn but merely smiled.
B'Elanna followed the woman she had claimed as her mate into the Captain's ready room. One look around, and the Klingon frowned. "This doesn't look like you."
"And what 'does' look like me?" Seven quirked an amused eyebrow.
"Well more scientific things, engineering schematics, astro-charts, you have plants and archaic drawings of ancient inventions," B'Elanna pointed to a few replications of Leonardo da Vinci's helicopter, his flying machine and behind the desk was a wooden model of a skeletal version of a stellated icosahedron.
B'Elanna pointed at the model, "Well that looks like you." She stepped closer to the woman she claimed, "And what you did in that room,..." her grin turned lustfully, "you have any idea what a turn on that was?"
B'Elanna edged closer to Seven, placed her hands on either side of the taller woman's face and pulled her in to kiss her. With gentle force, passion fueled B'Elanna wrapped her arms around Seven's taller more slender body. Her lips claiming Seven's. The pressure was soft, hot, fire and satin. Silk on silk. Seven returned the kiss in earnest, her own arms gripping B'Elanna's waist. Her mouth was hot against B'Elanna's, as she slipped her tongue into her mouth, causing surges of desire to flood into the smaller woman.
Seven took the soft moan as a signal to deepen the kiss dueling with B'Elanna's tongue in a lover's dance. She darted her own tongue across B'Elanna's teeth, tasting her, suckling her lower lip.
Still kissing Seven, the Klingon found that the floor really did exist and she was able to stand upon it. Seven had her floating from the intensity of the passion. B'Elanna had not been certain the floor was truly there until her booted feet touched down.
Seven only moved with her in order to continue the kiss. Her ever-efficient Borg systems were on overload. Always acutely aware of the ships movements, even down to a micro-fraction of misalignment in the warp drive, Seven felt as if the inertial dampers had been offline ever since she had started kissing B'Elanna. Seven wrapped her arms around the muscular body of her lover and held her tight.
"I love you. B'Elanna Torres my Bella...Lanna BangwI." This time when Seven kissed B'Elanna the Klingon knew she had been kissed. Such power, such hunger, such fire had been present in that single kiss. It was enough for B'Elanna to lose sight of her balance and she felt as if the whole universe had been reshuffled in a cosmic quake.
Some latent instinct, some phantom thought ran through both women. B'Elanna inhaled the scent of Seven. Her breath hot against the blonde's ear. "The memory of you sings in my blood." the words held more meaning than any words spoken in all time."
The Klingon turned Seven's face her teeth nipped the cheek with the tenderness of pure love, as she drew blood. "Ja'dok."
As she felt the teeth break her skin, a surge of volcanic want pulsed through her. All Seven wanted to do was to hang on to her lover, her wife, kiss her, make love to her. She could feel her heart pounding almost painfully against her sternum. That feeling only deepened when she felt B'Elanna kissing away the pain, the blood.
Her own lips kissed the caramel flesh of B'Elanna's cheek. How, why she knew the words to say Seven years later could only admit it was a soul's knowledge. "Mag'dok," She said. Her teeth gingerly, quickly bit B'Elanna's cheek. The pinkish life force seeped from the small abrasion. Seven was quick to ease the slight pain away with tender soft kisses. "I am yours, B'Elanna."
"As I am yours," B'Elanna whispered. "I know your scent, I know your blood. Early this morning I might not have remembered, but I don't lie when I say the memory sings in my blood."
Seven grinned brilliantly. "I know, I have done this before. I know your taste. I know the fire in your blood, in your eyes. I have seen them burn for me. As mine do for you. Your scent burns in my blood, in my heart." she rested her smooth forehead upon the ridges of B'Elanna's own. "I don't want this moment to end."
"There's work to be done."
"I know," B'Elanna admitted, "I know."
For a moment no one moved. At last Seven took the initiative to push her wife from her side if only to regain control over the situation. There was indeed much work to be done.
It was then the young newly entitled captain spotted something near one of the vents in the ships air systems. The air scrubbers should have taken care of any microorganisms, dust and any other contaminants. But upon the grill work her enhanced optical implant picked up what no other could without an alternative light source. Her vision switched again this time the Borg implant shifted into the ultraviolet to infra red and back again to ultraviolet to identify the range of chemical compositions in the trace evidence of the residue near the grating.
"B'Elanna, I need something to collect evidence on a microcellular level."
"What did you find?"
"Perhaps the reason we were all infected," Seven took a tricorder from the desk top and scanned the trace elements in the air vent. "It's a narcotic substance. Component yet unknown, but it has a light opium base."
"I think we should get the samples to sickbay." B'Elanna commented.
Hours of course would pass before the M-Class moon or the scans were nearing completion in sickbay enough for the command staff to receive a hail.
"What have you discovered?" Seven asked as she and the senior staff entered sickbay. Kess escorted the small collective to the medical computer teminal. on the screen were several images of indivdual brains in a range of multi colors.
"Whatever agent that caused the amnesia is gone, but its effects were pandemic." she pointed to a large section on the 3-d images of the brain. "Now if you look at the blue areas, you'll see that we all have the same identical obstructions in our temporal lobes and hippocampus sections of our brains. I'm not exactly sure what it is, except it's some sort of residue between the synapses. So it's possible our old memories are intact, they're just not accessible," Kes said evenly.
Janeway pursed her lips in thought, "So the memories are just blocked."
The pixy nodded, "literally, yes."
"And does this material match the narcotic residue that I gave you?" Seven asked.
This time Kes shrugged. "We should be able to confirm that very quickly. And if it can be dissolved or removed without damaging the neurons..."
"Then we can be cured!" Ro smiled.
Kes turned to the Bajoran her voice soft and even. "We need only to find the right medicine to dissolve the residue."
Paris interrupted "That...that is much more difficult than it sounds."
"Well, then we should get started immediately, I will assist." Seven commented, "The three of us working in conjunction will only speed the process along more efficiently."
B'Elanna smiled lightly as she leaned into the woman she had claimed in her heart as her mate. "You and that word. It's like a religion with you." She touched her mate on the small of her back, a silent communication and show of affection. With her hand still in place on Seven's back, B'Elanna looked at the monitors. "Looking at this, they look like the scans I have of the bio-neural cells of the ship. All the gel-packs have the same look," B'Elanna said.
"It follows suit," Seven answered. "The gel-packs were inspired by the humanoid nervous system. Synthetic bio-neural cells, which are a part of the humanoid nervous system are the main component in the gel packs. It's logical that they would have the same results as our own obstructions in our temporal lobes and hippocampus sections of our brains. They are both neurological systems."
The gel packs on Voyager organized information efficiently because of the bioneural cells which speeded up response time. Many critical systems were dependant on gel packs to function properly. It was almost impossible to damage a gel pack and they cannot be reproduced. Voyager had forty-seven gel packs in reserve. Though not reproduced, they could however be assimilated and repaired to a certain degree.
"Much of ships problems have been alleviated with the procedure I installed, a neuroelectric field that is capable of regenerating damaged components within the Library Computer Access and Retrieval System or LCARS; computer core and the gel-packs. It can heal both organic and inorganic ship components. The electroplasma system should also be repaired by this same procedure," Seven continued her report.
Plasma of course was routed through EPS conduits throughout the ship to supply power to the different parts of the ship. The EPS system has several secondary bypass conduits to use if the primary conduits were ruptured, which in this case they had been. The EPS system also had emergency routes that could redirect power to battle stations, phasers and shield generators during red alert. The plasma routed through the EPS was generated by either fusion reactors or the warp core. Seven had used the nanoprobes to isolate the infected areas of the ship and assimilate them into compatible components with the rest of Voyager.
Now if they could only do so with the crew it self.
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