DISCLAIMER: No infringement of Paramount's or anybody else's
copyrights is intended.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: I feel compelled to explain that this takes place somewhere around "Gift". I know Tom got his TV later from B'Elanna in the series. However, since this is FF it's alternate anyway. So...
She watches her.
There she sits in the mess hall during lunchtime, day after day, ever
since they had 'rescued' her from the Borg and she had been released
from sickbay 2 weeks ago.
There she sits, her back to the room, watching the starfield like Tom Paris watches 'TV'.
What is she looking at?
What is she looking for?
What could ever be so fascinating with these stars?
The crew is dreaming about home when they are standing at one of the windows, a forlorn look in their eyes.
But she? What does she dream about? Does she dream at all?
She behaves like an automaton. But Janeway believes that there is a
human soul underneath.
What if she's wrong?
What if it was too late?
What if it had been too early?
What if it was too long?
At least now, after the doctor has finished his job, she looks like a
human. Gone is the exo-plating, are the implants, is the greyish-white
skin of a cyborg.
The doctor reshaped her body. She even has hair now - long blond tresses - that she keeps hidden in a tight, sleek bun. She is a picture of exceeding beauty. One might think it would be easy to make friends with such looks. But the remaining implants remind everyone that she isn't at all what she appears to be.
So there she sits. Alone. Unmoving.
She approaches her.
Two more steps towards her and one look over her shoulder reveal it.
There is movement.
Several tools keep retracting back and forth randomly from the metal fingertips of her left hand.
And still she watches the starfield rushing by.
Standing behind her she raises her voice.
"So Borg, whatcha doin'?"
She does not move.
And there is no answer.
She keeps looking at her back.
"Oh, I forgot. We are not of the talkative type."
"Lieutenant B'Elanna Torres. Chief of Engineering. Your presence is unrequested."
"I'll be gone In a minute, with pleasure. But I want to know something first."
"What information do you require?"
"Care to tell me what you're looking at?"
"You are mistaken. I am not looking. I am listening."
"Oh, you are listening. - Then, what are you listening to?"
"I am listening to the voices of my collective."
"Wha- You still hear the hive-mind?"
"No. Captain Janeway stated that this crew is now my collective. I am listening to their voices."
"Lieutenant B'Elanna Torres, was this the information you required?"
"Uhm, wha-what are you doing with your hand?"
"What kind of research is /that/ ?"
"I am trying to find the most efficient way to deactivate myself."
"WHAT? But why? Now that we saved your live and have you running around you're gonna kill yourself?"
She is slightly annoyed. It had cost her so much effort to keep her alive during the first days.
"This drone is damaged and no longer of sufficient use to its collective. Therefore it is logical to deactivate the drone. Keeping inefficient drones strains the resources and decreases the collective's efficiency."
"Why do you think you're damaged? The doctor said that if you regenerate regularly you're gonna be fine."
"The hologram removed important parts of my former physiology. This body is incomplete and inefficient. The mind is in disorder. Data transfer and processing is slowed down to a minimum. Physical strength and versatility are reduced to unacceptable levels. I am disabled."
"So you just gonna kill yourself off?"
"The doctor refused to assist me. As did the captain. I will have to do it myself."
Hearing this she turns her eyes to the window, losing herself in the darkness, descending into her own loneliness.
"I said you can't. You can't do it."
"There are several different methods to deactivate this drone. Therefore, I can."
"Nono, Seven. What I mean is that you /can't/ do it."
"You are implying that I am not capable of such action. What brings you to this conclusion?"
"Well, the fact that you ask me this and the fact that you are sitting here."
"I think you tried and you couldn't do it and now you are confused."
"Borg are not confused."
She puts a hand on a delicate shoulder.
She is not a machine. Her body is warm and soft, radiating life.
"See, this is exactly the problem here. You are not borg anymore..."
"We are borg."
"No, you are not. You are human. You are one individual. And you are part of a human collective. And your abilities are equal if not superior to ours."
"How did this inferior collective survive?"
"We are far from perfect, but we do what we can and complement each other."
"Still, you are imperfect."
"We sure as hell are, but we are /efficient/."
"The borg seek perfection."
"You know that perfection is impossible. How efficient is it to strive for something that is impossible?"
"... - It is not efficient."
"Is it efficient to expand a collective's resources?"
"And why would that be?"
"It increases the collectives chances of survival."
"See, and we added you to our collective. We want to survive. And we want to be efficient in our efforts to do so."
"You assimilated me."
"Well, you could say so."
"You believe I would add to your collective."
"Do /you/ think so as well?"
"Yes, I do. ... Now."
"Why am I incapable of deactivating myself?"
The hand squeezes the shoulder.
She turns her around to face her.
This face shows no expression.
Its perfect beauty is only marred by the remains of two implants.
It might as well be the face of an android.
It's her eyes that betray her.
And she sees what her beloved captain knew all along.
A tear defeats the warrior.
"Because sometimes the heart knows, what the mind does not."
At that, something in her chest constricts almost painfully. But she shrugs it off and leaves the drone to herself.
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