DISCLAIMER: Star Trek Voyager and all who sail in her belong to Paramount/Viacom and no infringement of copyright/trade marks is intended.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Stardate: 52668 (Note: events of Dark Frontier have occurred)
KLINGON WORDS: A glossary of Klingon words used can be found HERE
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

I Am Borg
By Kudara

Part 2:

Chapter 1

Seven materialized on the transporter pad and looked around at the group assembled to greet her. Captain Janeway of course was there as was Commander Chakotay and Lt. Commander Tuvok. Seven felt slightly uncomfortable under their intense looks; she was uncertain how to break the silence that seemed to have fallen.

"Captain?" said Seven tentatively, with an inquiring look at Captain Janeway.

Janeway smiled reassuringly and said, "Welcome back Seven, I've missed you."

Seven looked at the Captain's face and realized that the older woman had missed her; not surprising after all this was the woman who had been willing to confront the Borg Queen to bring her back to Voyager. "I have missed you as well Captain," admitted Seven.

Seven turned and acknowledged Chakotay politely and then with more warmth she said, "Lt. Commander Tuvok, I was able to use the meditation techniques you taught me during my recovery. They proved most helpful in assisting me with my unarmed martial arts training."

Tuvok tilted his head and raised one eyebrow, "Indeed, meditation is most useful in centering oneself before any type of physical training."

Seven gave him a small smile, "From the soul, to the body, into the world."

Tuvok quirked his lips very slightly and said, "Perhaps you can demonstrate what you have learned at some point."

Seven nodded to him and then looked at Janeway and Chakotay who for some reason were looking at her rather strangely.

Seven shifted and looked inquisitively at Janeway, finally Janeway seemed to shake herself out of whatever had been bemusing her and she said, "You must want to see your new quarters."

Seven smiled slightly, "I am looking forward to seeing the paintings Analea brought for me."

Janeway said, "Your quarters are on Deck 9 Section 11. She also brought several sets of clothing; some are of the same style you are wearing. I wondered what they would look like, they suit you Seven."

"Thank you," replied Seven recognizing that Kathryn was complementing her. Seven was determined to adapt to her Collective. Analea and Kayaln had taught her that politeness was much more important than she had ever realized. Therefore Seven was determined to understand what was polite behavior and what it was not, and apply what she learned to her own behavior.

Tuvok, saying that he was on duty declined to accompany them to Seven's quarters. Chakotay declined as well saying that he needed to return to the bridge. Thus only Janeway and Seven stepped out of the turbolift at Deck 9 and proceeded along the corridor toward Section 11. Lt. Torres who had been headed toward the turbolift paused in the corridor to let the two pass, quickly glancing at Seven who met her eyes gravely and nodded to her.

Seven paused and said, "Lt. Torres."

B'Elanna wondered if Seven was about to confront her for her part in Seven's death, she straightened and said, "Seven."

"I understand that Analea brought several training programs designed by Mulara to Voyager. The program of the inner temple garden has a training area, there is a Bat'leth trainer there named M'ara. You are welcome to use the program anytime you wish, and perhaps sometime you would be willing to practice with me," said Seven. She was being very careful to maintain neutral posture during this speech though she desperately wanted to stand with her hands behind her back.

B'Elanna said the first thing that came into her head after Seven's speech, "I didn't know you knew how to fight with a Bat'leth."

Seven dropped her eyes for a second and stiffened then forced herself to relax, "I have just begun my training. I am not very skilled. I understand that you might not want to practice with me due to my inexperience."

B'Elanna was quick to reply before Seven continued, "No, that's fine we can just take it easy… Do you have a Bat'leth or do you use a replicated one?" B'Elanna asked curiously. She realized that she needed to wrap up the conversation quickly, Janeway was starting to look annoyed but Seven appeared to be willing to stand in the hall and talk for along time. Seven was even being polite, and she wasn't standing like she usually did at all. B'Elanna was also trying very hard not to stare at Seven's exoskeleton, from the data she knew basically the outline of it, but the reality was much more beautiful than she had thought. The exoskeleton around Seven's left eye gleamed brilliantly silver in the light with fine lines of blue and gold forming intricate patterns.

Seven replied "I do not have one of my own; I assume I will be using the ones provided in the program."

Janeway interrupted, "Actually you have one of your own, Analea delivered it with your paintings and clothes."

Seven turned toward her, surprise and pleasure obvious for a moment on her face before it smoothed again. Seven turned back toward B'Elanna, "It appears I have a Bat'leth."

B'Elanna glanced from Janeway to Seven and said, "Perhaps I can drop by and take a look at it later, I need to get headed to engineering now…"

Seven nodded, "I did not realize I was keeping you from your duty Lt…my apologies."

B'Elanna gaped for a moment then said, "That's alright. Well I had better get going. Captain, Seven." B'Elanna turned and walked toward the lift. As soon as she was safely in it she shook her head and wondered where the real Seven was. That had almost been surreal; Seven had never been that painfully polite to her, she sounded almost like Tuvok.

B'Elanna had hardly recognized Seven between the fact that she wasn't wearing her usual biosuit and that she had her hair down. B'Elanna considered how Seven had looked and thought bemusedly that Seven was much more attractive in the looser clothes than she had ever been in the skintight biosuits.

Seven turned back to the Captain and noticed the odd look once again, Seven wondered uneasily if she had already erred somehow. Maybe she should not have paused to talk with Lt. Torres. Seven resolved that as soon as she could she would make a detailed analysis of what was considered polite behavior.

When they reached Deck 9 Section 11 they paused in front of a door and Kathryn indicated that Seven should precede her, as Seven approached the door it opened automatically to admit her. Seven stepped into her quarters and her gaze was immediately drawn to the painting at the other end of the room.

Seven walked across the room towards it, barely glancing at the contents of the remainder of the quarters. She stared at the painting looking at how the soft brush strokes revealed both the simplicity and complexity of the molecule. Seven stepped back and looked at the painting again, this time she saw something in the whole which reminded her of when she had watched the Omega molecule form. Somehow the Omega molecule in the painting appeared to be watching her as she looked at it.

"I don't know who painted it but they were very good," said Janeway.

"Mulara did, her signature is in the bottom left corner," replied Seven absently. She was aware of Janeway moving closer to the painting and then a stifled sound of surprise.

"I don't understand how I missed that before. Well Seven I would think few people could say they have original works of art painted by an energy being," said Janeway.

Seven looked curiously at her, "You are probably correct." Seven wondered why Janeway was commenting on the painting, Mulara had made several things for Seven. The most notable was her own body in Seven's mind.

Seven moved away from the Omega painting and began examining the rest of her quarters. She recognized the flower stills; they were of her favorite flowers in the inner temple garden. Continuing around the rooms she noticed the hydroponics lights above the bed and smiled at the thoughtfulness.

The last thing she noticed in the room was her new Bat'leth. Seven walked over to it and picked it up, testing the weight of it and the length. She read the inscription 'Duty, Loyalty, Honor.' Seven admired the watered appearance of the blade for a few moments longer then reverently returned the weapon to its display hanger.

"So do you like your new quarters?" asked Janeway with a smile.

Seven returned the smile for just a second and replied, "Thank you for assigning them to me, and for assisting Analea with their decoration."

"Of course, Seven, you should have been assigned them sooner. I'm sorry it took all of this for me to see that I should have never had you stay in the Cargo Bay for as long as I did." Janeway paused and looked at Seven seriously, "I owe you and apology for that, I never thought of how it affected the crew's opinion of you. I want you to know that I never though of you that way, and I didn't intend to imply that to the crew," finished Janeway.

Seven was puzzled as to what 'that way' referred to until she recalled comments she had overheard of how she was a machine, stored away in the cargo bay between uses. Seven thought she should clarify the phrase before replying to the Captain. "Do you mean how some members of the crew referred to me as a machine that was stored in the cargo bay?" asked Seven.

Janeway winced and nodded. Seven wondered how she was supposed to reply and finally settled upon, "Apology accepted, though if that was not your perception of my previous quarters why are you responsible for others erroneous perceptions?"

"Because I'm the Captain, and I should have considered it. Analea brought several things to my attention, Seven. When I ordered that your Borg implants were to be removed the first few day's you were on Voyager I ordered the Doctor to ignore your own wishes in the matter. I argued that you were not capable of making your own decisions and essentially took on the role of guardian. Since then however, I've been rather haphazard in my treatment of you, sometimes I'm your Captain, sometimes I'm your mentor, and sometimes I still think of myself as your guardian. But I ignored something rather essential, and that was the fact that you needed me to be just one person, you needed me to react in more of a consistent manner than I did. I must have confused you quite frequently. I was too permissive with you at times letting you break the rules I expected others to follow, then suddenly I insisted that you follow those rules," explained Janeway.

Seven listened to Kathryn's statement and thought back over the past year and had to agree, the shifting standard had been unsettling. "It was confusing, but I should have followed the standard others were held to. Instead I choose to follow the more 'permissive' standard for my own benefit… except it did not benefit me…"

Janeway said, "Seven, its human nature to want to explore boundaries, it's not your fault that you wanted the most lenient boundary that I would allow you and resented it when I restricted them. I should have been more consistent…I should have been more like my mother was with me," commented Kathryn somewhat wryly. "I certainly did you no favors by allowing you so much freedom. I promise that I'll try to be more consistent with you, I'll let you know when you do something wrong and I'll try to explain as best I can why. I wanted to let you know this so that you don't think I'm punishing you in any way. I don't ever want you to think that, I'm correcting my own mistake, what I did wrong."

Seven considered the Captains words and asked hesitantly, "You wish to act consistently as my guardian? I am not considered an adult then, you are following Mularan law." Seven was not particularly pleased with this turn of events; she did not consider herself to be a minor no matter what Mulara thought.

Kathryn replied, "The fact that I feel you still need guidance does not mean that I think you are not an adult Seven. I don't think of myself as your guardian anymore in a legal sense. I do however care about what happens to you, and I want to do what's best for you if you will let me. Seven, I still feel the need for guidance; it's not something you outgrow. I wish almost every day that I could talk to my mother about things."

Seven considered everything Kathryn had said and came to a tentative conclusion, "You think of yourself as my parent?" Seven looked curiously at her.

Kathryn looked surprised for a second then thoughtful, "I guess I do, if that's not being too presumptuous. That's up to you of course; do you mind that I think of you more as a daughter than just a friend?"

"That is acceptable," said Seven. Seven considered the woman in front of her and felt a rush of emotion, she barely remembered her own mother. Her own mother had not been able to save her from the Borg, but Kathryn had and not only once but twice. "By what term should I call you?" asked Seven.

Kathryn smiled, "Captain in public and when you are acting as a crewmember. When we are in a more private setting please call me Kathryn."

Seven nodded then asked, "Would you like anything Kathryn."

"Coffee, black," said Kathryn starting to wonder what the Mularan's had done to make Seven so polite. Frankly it was starting to worry her; Seven was not acting like her old self. "Analea brought up three replicator patterns for you, the Pujaa and Quara fruits and the juice with the metallic and chemical elements in it."

Seven was pleased to hear this and when she went over to the replicator she said, "Coffee, black," and picked up the cup then she said, "Quara fruit, sliced, room temperature". When the bowl appeared she picked that up as well and sat the coffee and fruit on the table. She then ordered some of the juice for herself. Kathryn had wandered over to the table and sat down with her coffee cup. "Have you tried the Mularan fruits yet Kathryn?" asked Seven.

"No I haven't," answered Kathryn.

Seven said, "I believe you will like this one."

Kathryn took a slice of the fruit and bit into it, a surprised expression crossed her face, "It tastes like sweet bread. I'll have to remember the name so I can order it for breakfast sometimes."

"I often have one for breakfast myself," said Seven as she took a few of the slices before Kathryn could eat them all.

When Kathryn had finished her coffee she said, "I must return to the bridge, let me know if you need anything. You have the rest of today off of course, tomorrow morning we have a senior staff meeting at 0900 hours. If you want to talk more I'll be off duty in six hours."

Seven nodded to Kathryn and watched her leave. Seven was pleased to have the day off though she had expected it. She needed to figure out how to schedule her days; her exercise protocol would take an hour a day to complete. She did not have enough holodeck time to practice unarmed or weapons training every day but she did have enough to practice every other day for an hour. Seven considered her quarters and realized that there was enough room for her to practice her katas here if she moved the furniture out of the way. Seven unpacked the pressure sensitive plates and hung them in a corner of the room, and then she looked around at her quarters in satisfaction.

Several hours later B'Elanna was headed back to her quarters and remembered that Seven had invited her to come by and look at her Bat'leth. She tapped her combadge and said "Torres to Seven."

A few moments later Seven replied and B'Elanna asked if it would be convenient for her to come over.

"You are welcome to come over now Lieutenant, I will probably be practicing my katas if you don't mind. I will set the door to admit you," replied Seven.

B'Elanna was definitely curious now, what katas would Seven be doing she wondered. As far as she knew Seven had never practiced any form of martial arts in the past. "If you don't mind me watching sure Seven," said B'Elanna as she walked the few final meters to Seven's quarters. Seven had already set the door to admit her B'Elanna noted as the door opened when she approached it. B'Elanna walked in and tried to not be too obvious as she stared at Seven moving gracefully and powerfully though an unarmed martial arts kata.

B'Elanna was not an expert in unarmed styles so she couldn't tell exactly how well Seven was doing the kata. But she could tell that Seven was fairly skilled, each movement flowed into the next making it appear that Seven was actually performing some type of dance.

In between one kata and the next Seven said, "Please sit Lieutenant, I will be finished shortly. You are welcome to replicate a drink for yourself if you would like one." Seven was proud of herself, she had spent several hours today going over Starfleet protocol and courtesies for a second time, she had studied them over a year ago but had deemed them irrelevant at the time. She had also read several studies on what humans called polite behavior or manners.

B'Elanna looked at Seven oddly, "Um, thanks for the offer but I'm not thirsty right now." B'Elanna heard what sounded almost like a chuckle from Seven and stared at her for a moment before grinning, "That's usually your line isn't it." A brief smirk from Seven answered her statement. B'Elanna sat down at the table and looked about the room, finally noticing the Bat'leth in its display hangers beside the door.

Seven finished her katas and walked over to the replicator and got herself a glass of water, she looked at Lt. Torres and said, "You may pick up the Bat'leth if you would like."

B'Elanna had been waiting for the invitation and she walked over to the blade and examined the layered surface, "What metal is this made of, it's not baakonite."

"It is made of poly-deutonic alloy," replied Seven.

B'Elanna looked at her and then back at the blade then gently picked it up feeling the weight of it. She read the inscription that ran below the grips, "Qu', matlh, batlh; who made this Seven?" B'Elanna was aware of what the words meant she was surprised that someone had inscribed them upon the blade.

Seven looked at her curiously, "I imagine that Mulara made the Bat'leth. The Mularan's do not have the technology to work with poly-deutonic alloy."

"Mulara," said B'Elanna surprised and looked back down at the Bat'leth she was holding.

"Yes," said Seven, "She also created the pictures I have. I especially like the painting of the Omega molecule."

B'Elanna carefully replaced the Bat'leth and walked over to the indicated painting, "I recognized it, Janeway didn't say anything about it? I mean you pretty much have classified information hanging on your wall."

Seven considered this and said, "I shall refer to it as a kal-toh sphere from now on, I had forgotten that Starfleet classified all information about it. All the Borg know about the Omega Molecule…they even know the resonance frequency now." Seven grimaced, the last time she had been onboard a Borg vessel they had assimilated her memories, which meant they had access to all the research she had done on the Omega molecule.

"How would they know that? Oh when you went back to the Borg after they blackmailed you." B'Elanna answered her own question.

"An antiquated, but accurate term," acknowledged Seven.

B'Elanna snorted, glancing at Seven she finally asked what had been bothering her all day. "Seven, why are you being so polite?"

Seven glanced at the Lieutenant and said, "I had dismissed such behavior before as inefficient and irrelevant. However, being regarded as impolite and rude caused me to be generally disliked by the crew. My behavior resulted in Muahe being able to gather information about me, which he used when he decided to kill me. I no longer regard being polite as irrelevant; I have no desire for that to occur again. Therefore, I am making the adaptation to this Collective my highest priority. I have identified politeness and accurate communications to be essential in this effort."

B'Elanna stared at Seven stunned that she had come to the conclusion she had. Then she said, "Why don't you hate us, why don't you hate me? Or do you? And don't hide behind politeness."

"qatojbe'," replied Seven and paused to make sure B'Elanna understood what she had said, "Why would I hate you?"

"They sent us their security tapes; I know that Muahe told you that I had given them that information. I didn't though Seven, I didn't talk to their intelligence people, I wouldn't do that," said B'Elanna earnestly.

Seven interrupted her, "I know… I remember watching, but I was never there…Perhaps Mulara gave me those memories. I was at the establishment when they tried to elicit information from you by offering alcoholic beverages. You called the man a taHqeq and told him you would drink nothing with him."

B'Elanna was surprised, she hadn't told Tuvok that she had swore at the man in Klingon. "You watched?" she tried to understand what Seven was describing.

"As if I were overhead when the conversation took place," clarified Seven.

"Then you saw the people who didn't keep their mouths shut." stated B'Elanna.

Seven replied shortly, "Yes."

"Then you know that almost all of them were from engineering. So I am responsible, I'm the one that started the names and I'm the one that didn't stop them from treating you rudely," said B'Elanna in a rush looking angrily at Seven.

Seven was confused and uneasy, why was Lt. Torres angry with her. She had done nothing that she knew of to anger the engineer, maybe her reply had been too short or maybe the Lieutenant was angry that she knew what happened in the bar.

"I'm sorry," essayed Seven trying to diffuse the other woman's anger.

"Damn it!" said B'Elanna angrily and took a step toward Seven, "why are you…" B'Elanna found herself on the floor gasping for breath. Seven was now several feet away from her in a defensive stance. B'Elanna could hear her rapid breathing and smelled… fear. She gazed at Seven and saw the fear she had smelled in the woman's eyes. B'Elanna started to growl and lunge to her feet angered that Seven had shoved her, when she saw Seven tense and actually bare her teeth at her. Suddenly she froze realizing that she might be in real danger of Seven attacking her. She also knew that if Seven hit her at full strength she would probably kill her.

B'Elanna relaxed backward, "I'm not going to attack you Seven. I wasn't angry at you, I was angry at myself. I shouldn't have…I'm sorry you thought I was angry with you Seven." B'Elanna moved slowly and ruefully rubbed her chest where she was certain there would be a palm sized bruise shortly. "I'm definitely sorry I made you think I was about to attack you." B'Elanna watched Seven trying to figure out if the other woman was relaxing yet.

Seven dropped her hands and stood straighter a haunted look on her face, "I'm sorry I injured you Lieutenant. I believe I overreacted to the anger you displayed." Seven glanced at the Lieutenant shamed and asked, "Do you need to go to Sickbay?" Seven hesitantly moved toward Lt. Torres wondering if she had hurt the woman such that she could not get up.

B'Elanna sat up and said, "No I'm fine I just didn't want to threaten you any more than I already had." Seven stopped moving towards her when she sat up, looking at her with concern. B'Elanna got slowly to her feet and sat back down at the table.

"You will report me for striking you," said Seven in a monotone.

B'Elanna looked at her trying to figure out what she was thinking, "No I won't, it was my fault. I've gotten used to you just ignoring me when I do things like that, I should have realized that you would react differently now. Honestly, I should never have invaded your personal space like that in the past."

"I might have hurt you…for a moment I saw Muahe's face…I could have killed you," Seven was definitely agitated now, "I am a danger."

"Woah, Seven stop. You didn't hurt me," B'Elanna rose from her seat at the table and approached Seven slowly. "Seven, I'm sorry I frightened you. I've just gotten used to you not being afraid of me when I'm angry."

Seven closed her eyes and took a few deep breaths to get her nanoprobes to deal with the hormones rushing through her system, she should have done it earlier but had been so shocked by her reaction that she had forgotten for a moment. Shortly she felt the physical symptoms abate and she felt calmer.

Lt. Torres was watching her and asked, "Well you look better. What just happened?"

"I instructed my nanoprobes to remove the excess adrenaline in my system, with my Borg systems it happened automatically. Now I must consciously initiate the process. I forgot to do it earlier; I apologize for being so emotional," said Seven and sat down at the table.

B'Elanna put two and two together and said, "Is that one of the reasons you always were so calm? I used to wonder why you never were afraid or angry with me, I thought you were…" B'Elanna trailed off uncomfortably, realizing what she was about to say.

Seven finished for her, "Incapable of feeling emotions. I have always been capable of feeling emotions Lieutenant. Emotions like anger and fear are usually caused or accompanied by a hormone reaction, therefore I could experience them only briefly before my nanoprobes compensated. However, I seldom was afraid of you Lieutenant; I generally stopped the actions that annoyed you when your physiological responses reached a certain level."

B'Elanna stared at Seven, going through what she had just said to figure out what had caught her attention. "Wait, what do you mean you stopped? You knew what you were doing that made me angry and you kept doing it until just before I really lost my temper?!" said B'Elanna incredulous.

Seven looked remarkably like a child that had been caught with their hand in the forbidden cookie jar at that moment. B'Elanna couldn't decide whether to be angry or amused at the obviously inadvertent admission. "Why did you do that Seven? and the truth Seven not some polite answer."

Seven looked at Lt. Torres uncertainly and flushed slightly, she had not meant to ever let the woman know she had sometimes purposefully angered her. Seven was desperate to not anger Torres any further so she softly admitted, "Your emotions, you always display them so clearly. I have always been fascinated by your ability to feel. So sometimes I would anger you just to see them."

B'Elanna gaped at the admission, everyone on this ship tried to not anger her, except apparently for Seven who sought it out. "You purposely angered me… to watch my emotions. Because you couldn't feel them?" hazarded B'Elanna.

Seven nodded, "I could only feel mine fleetingly, I can always discern yours clearly." Seven continued speaking almost to herself, "It's why I included you when Kayaln asked me what things I thought were beautiful."

B'Elanna looked at Seven closely her irritation derailed completely by the last comment. Seven looked back at her evenly, no sign of uneasiness apparent on her face. B'Elanna was confused, what had Seven meant by that, was Seven telling her she thought she was beautiful or was Seven saying her emotions were beautiful. B'Elanna felt she was suddenly floundering in unexpectedly deep waters, looking for solid land she asked, "Who is Kayaln and why was she asking you that?"

"Kayaln was one of the High Priestess of Mulara. She is the one who taught me unarmed martial arts. She asked me what I thought was beautiful to help me with my training. Kayaln told me that I should bring what I felt was beautiful into my katas so I could bring them closer to perfection." Explained Seven.

B'Elanna was completely confused now, "You want to show anger in your katas?"

Seven shook her head, "No, not anger…" Seven frowned slightly thinking, trying to clarify why she had included Lt. Torres in her list. Hoping the woman wouldn't get angry again she finally said, "Passion, your ability to feel and project emotions so clearly."

B'Elanna knew how she would take that admission from anyone else but Seven. With Seven however she just wasn't sure, B'Elanna looked searchingly into Seven's eyes but saw nothing but sincerity. Uneasily she wondered if Seven would even recognize attraction if she did feel it. With one more searching glance B'Elanna asked lightly, "What else made it onto your list?"

Seven was relieved; apparently Lt. Torres had decided not to be angry with her. "The Omega molecule, the three flowers that I have paintings of, the design of my exoskeleton, you and the Captain."

B'Elanna glanced at Seven at the last, and almost felt like laughing. B'Elanna glanced at the flower paintings in the room and had to agree that all of them were indeed beautiful. As for Seven's exoskeleton, well she would take her word on that, though her imagination helpfully supplied her with the flash of an image of a nude silver adorned Seven. "The Captain, what about her do you find beautiful?" asked B'Elanna carefully.

Seven considered the question, "Her strength, her compassion, and her decisiveness in dangerous situations. I feel protected when she is near. I was confused by my feelings before today; now that we have agreed that she fills a parental role my feelings make sense to me."

B'Elanna felt adrift again, "Parental role?"

"Yes, the Captain asked if it was permissible for her to consider me as a daughter and I agreed that it was. Therefore she is in a parental role, Correct?" asked Seven.

B'Elanna nodded, feeling slightly jealous of Seven. No wonder Janeway looked out for Seven's interests so fiercely.

Seven commented pensively, "Kathryn is a better mother than my own. She took me away from the Borg instead of delivering me to them."

Suddenly B'Elanna felt ashamed, remembering that Seven had just commented that Janeway made her feel safe. Seven certainly deserved someone to look out for her given what she had been through during her life. B'Elanna rubbed her forehead ridges, a headache was starting. She almost laughed aloud at herself; she had been so sure how things would be when Seven got back. Seven would be her usual self and she would struggle with her anger and take the honorable route and try to help Seven understand what she was doing wrong.

Instead Seven had come back with the Borg superiority apparently knocked out of her; she was still confident but uncertain of her place and welcome. This Seven was polite, but the reasons behind the politeness made B'Elanna feel sickened and angry. No one should have to feel they had to perfectly adapt to the majority culture just to feel safe on Voyager, yet Seven felt just that way if B'Elanna was interpreting what she said correctly.

"Janeway to Seven," interrupted Seven's com badge.

Seven answered, "Yes Captain."

"Seven, I forgot to mention that you need to go get an examination in Sickbay, the Doctor just called to ask when you would be in. And would you like to come to my quarters for dinner this evening? We can do an informal debriefing on what happened on Mulara." said Janeway.

"I will report to Sickbay as soon as possible Captain, what time should I report to your quarters for dinner?" asked Seven.

"1900 hours sound fine Seven?" said Janeway.

"1900 hours is fine Captain." said Seven.

They both heard the communications channel close and B'Elanna took the opportunity to escape from what had become an increasingly confusing situation. She needed time to think over all that had happened and all that she had learned. "I should get going, you need to go visit the Doctor, and I'm supposed to meet Tom and Harry at Sardines." said B'Elanna.

"Certainly Lieutenant," said Seven standing.

"Seven call me B'Elanna when we aren't on duty. And Seven don't tell everyone about your list of what's beautiful. I would only tell the Captain and maybe Tuvok, no one else." B'Elanna saw the question in Seven's eyes and before she could ask replied, "just trust me on this one, ok?"

Seven nodded and said, "I will comply."

B'Elanna smiled at this sign of the old Seven, "Have a good evening Seven," she said as she left and the door closed behind her leaving a curious Seven behind.

Chapter 2

Seven had barely escaped from Sickbay in time to arrive at Kathryn's door by 1900 hours. She was finally able to persuade the hologram to stop running various scans on her, only by informing the Doctor that she was expected to report to the Captain.

Seven rang the admittance chime and after a few seconds the door opened and Kathryn greeted her with a smile and invited her to enter. The dinner Kathryn had prepared was simple, pasta with alfredo sauce and chicken breasts, accompanied by a light white wine.

After the meal was completed Kathryn invited Seven to sit on the couch with her and asked Seven to tell her about what she had experienced in the inner temple. Seven began with her first awakening in the healing tank and over the next few hours related the events up to the point where she had beamed up to Voyager.

Kathryn had asked her questions about the discussions she and Analea and Kayaln had about how to read body language. Kathryn had sighed and after verifying that the Doctor had never mentioned the subject, apologized for not considering that Seven needed to know about such a thing.

Kathryn grumbled aloud that perhaps the Doctor had not been a good choice for a teacher after all. Seven assured her that the Doctor had helped her quite well the first few months, lately though he seemed to have reached the conclusion that Seven knew all she needed to know.

Seven looked at Kathryn and said, "I suspect that the Doctor feels I know all I need to know…in order to get along with the Doctor."

Kathryn looked at her and said, "I suspected he was attracted to you, I never thought that he would purposefully limit what you knew so you would be dependent on him."

Seven frowned slightly, "I did not mean to imply that, I have been imprecise. I do not believe he would do such a thing consciously. However, I do believe the Doctor may be concerned that I will…outgrow him and choose not to interact with him if I progress much farther in regaining my humanity. From his perspective the fully human members of the crew do not care to interact with him unless forced to do so, it would be logical for him to assume that I would do the same."

Kathryn replied with some heat, "That doesn't give him the right to limit what he chooses to teach you. Now I wonder what else he hasn't mentioned in his lessons. I'll have to go over his lesson plans and see exactly what he has taught you." Kathryn paused then asked, "How do you feel about the Doctor Seven?"

"He is a friend, I believe he would like to be more, but I do not share that desire. I have no wish to be more than a friend to the Doctor. I was…disappointed that he would bet on the state of my social development with Lt. Paris and then choose to win the bet by inviting me to the reception for the Kadi Ambassador," replied Seven.

Kathryn stilled for a moment and asked, "How did you learn of this bet?"

Seven's face tightened, "Lt. Paris discussed it with the Doctor during the reception."

Kathryn asked, "Where were you when you heard them?"

"Standing beside the Doctor," clarified Seven.

Kathryn closed her eyes a moment, "I will discuss with Mr. Paris the appropriate subjects for betting and the inappropriate ones. That was inappropriate of Mr. Paris to bet on and inappropriate of the Doctor to accept. I'm sorry their behavior hurt you Seven, especially since it was your first date?"

Seven said, "Second date, my first was with Lieutenant Chapman. The premature ending of the evening was unfortunate; I accidentally dislocated the Ensigns shoulder while dancing."

"Any dates since the reception?" asked Kathryn hesitantly.

Seven answered, "No, I determined that there were no potential mates for me aboard Voyager."

Kathryn looked at Seven puzzled, "How exactly did you determine that? It takes time to decide if you are attracted to someone, you have to get to know people before you can establish whether you are attracted to them or not."

Seven stared at Kathryn, "The Doctor told me to pick a suitable candidate from among the male members of the crew. I prepared a program that created a list of candidates based on work performance and compatible interests."

Kathryn sat back on the couch and looked out for a moment to the stars streaking by, "Seven, you really cannot make a decision on who might be a suitable partner by that method. There are other variables that you need to consider besides work performance and compatible interests. But, perhaps now isn't the time to discuss this, not after what you've been through. Perhaps in a couple of months you might be ready to reconsider your decision."

Seven was puzzled, "Why not now?"

"You have just been though a very difficult experience Seven; it would not be the best time for you to begin a romantic relationship with someone. Not while you're going through so many changes, in a few months when things have settled down for you would be a better time," explained Kathryn.

And give me more time to get used to the idea, thought Kathryn. I'm getting used to the idea of being her 'mother' I'm not sure if I'm ready to deal with the worries of her dating on top of that right now. Not to mention the fact that she would have to explain to Seven that she might also want to include the female members of the crew.

Seven considered Kathryn's explanation, "I will comply. Though I will research the subject on my own, apparently the Doctors explanations were not complete."

Kathryn took a deep breath and yielded to the inevitable, "That might be a good idea, you will probably have questions afterward, and I'll do my best to answer them…Unless you would prefer to ask someone else?" Kathryn remembered that she hadn't wanted to discuss certain things with her mother at all.

"I can think of no one else I would ask besides you, or maybe Lt. Torres," responded Seven.

"Lt. Torres?" questioned Kathryn, wondering what had changed between the two women to cause Seven to suddenly look upon her as a suitable confidant.

"Lt. Torres, though we have frequently been antagonistic towards one another, has always been honest and direct in her dealings with me," said Seven.

Kathryn had to admit that Seven was probably correct, B'Elanna was not one to be anything less than honest and direct. However, Kathryn wasn't certain that B'Elanna met the criteria for someone suitable for the type of discussion Seven would probably want to have after her research.

"Yes, well you should probably choose a friend for those discussions, I'm not certain that you and B'Elanna are friends quiet yet, though I believe you could be given time," said Kathryn.

Seven replied, "We discussed several issues today when B'Elanna came over to see my Bat'leth. I believe her invitation to call her B'Elanna while not on duty was an indication that she intends our relationship to change from an antagonistic one to one more amicable."

Intrigued Kathryn asked, "What issues did you discuss?"

Seven began explaining that they had discussed the reason behind Seven's decision to be polite. Kathryn did not react quite as negatively as B'Elanna had to her reasoning, but she seemed upset nonetheless.

"Seven, while I agree that you should probably be more polite than you have in the past, I am upset because it sounds as though you feel that you are not safe from the crew unless you are polite to them. I understand why you feel that way though, it's just that it upsets me. I hope that everything works out to where you feel you can trust them again, and they realize that you aren't the person they assumed you were," said Kathryn.

Seven said softly, "Arrogant, rude and superior? But I frequently did act that way. Even if sometimes it was unintentional on my part."

Kathryn sighed, uncertain of what to say, "You are prideful of what you know, and for good reason, you are one of the brightest people I have known. You just need to learn how to express yourself …"

"More politely?" broke in Seven. "I am trying to do that but both B'Elanna and you have reacted negatively to my solution. How else can I correct the problem? People perceive me as being arrogant, rude and superior. My research indicates that the method of correcting my communication error is to be more polite." Seven finished with some agitation.

Kathryn reached over and took one of Seven's hands in both of hers, hoping that the contact would calm her. Seven looked at her wonderingly, and then down at their joined hands, tentatively she returned the reassuring pressure. Seeing that Seven was calming down Kathryn tried to explain, "Seven, I don't disagree that you being more polite will help matters. I am upset though, with the events that lead you to this point, I'm upset that some of the members of this crew betrayed you. I don't disagree with your conclusion, I'm just unhappy with the incentive behind the rationale."

"My reasoning is correct; you are upset with the events that lead me to make the conclusion. You can do nothing to change what happened, I can do nothing to change what happened. I can only modify my behavior so that it is unlikely to happen again," said Seven.

"I know Seven; I know that I can't change what happened. I just wish…I could do something to lessen your pain," said Kathryn with suppressed emotion in her voice.

"I am not in pain," said Seven, not quite meeting Kathryn's eyes.

Kathryn raised an eyebrow, "Emotional pain Seven, which I think you know I meant."

Seven looked at their joined hands, "I do not wish to feel this pain, how do I make it go away? It does not seem to have a hormonal component; I cannot command my nanoprobes to do anything about the cause of it."

"Time helps Seven, and talking about how you are feeling, like we are now. It also helps to know that people care about you; I think there are more people than you know of that care about you Seven. I do, as does Chakotay, Tuvok, Harry, B'Elanna and of course the Doctor. And I haven't mentioned how much Naomi was concerned about you," finished Kathryn.

"I wish it to go away now," said Seven, then she sighed "But I accept that it will take time."

Kathryn thought that it was probably a good time to change the subject, she couldn't think of anything else to say about Sevens decision to be polite. "Would you like some coffee and some desert?"

Seven remembered how she had said just before going back to the Borg Queen that one day she would try coffee, maybe now would be a good time to please Kathryn and try some of the beverage. "I would like that," Seven said, not adding on the please that she would have before their conversation. Kathryn's smile rewarded her and she felt that she had gauged her response correctly. Apparently a decrease in the formality of her responses was warranted to calm Kathryn and probably B'Elanna.

Kathryn replicated two black coffees, some milk and sugar and two cheesecakes. Seven looked curiously at the milk and sugar when Kathryn brought them over. "Not everyone likes their coffee black like I do Seven, milk and sugar are commonly added to coffee according to taste. Try it without either first and see if you like it or if it's too bitter."

Seven tried the coffee and grimaced at the taste; Kathryn obligingly added some milk to her coffee and urged her to try it again. This time the taste was much more acceptable, the milk having sweetened the coffee. "Is that alright or would you like to try sugar?" asked Kathryn.

"Perhaps next time," said Seven. "It is acceptable with just the milk."

Kathryn nodded and the two women chatted over the cheesecake about some of the holodeck programs that Mulara had provided and arranged a Velocity match in two days. Seven admitted afterwards that the coffee had been a pleasant choice with the cheesecake and Kathryn was certain that she had a new convert to her favorite obsession.

Finally Kathryn noted the time and mentioned that they both needed to get some rest so they would be ready for the next day. Seven hesitated before she left and shyly asked if it were permissible for her to hug Kathryn. With a warm smile Kathryn said, "That would be most acceptable, Seven."

Seven bent down and hugged Kathryn about the shoulders and said softy, "Thank you."

Her embrace was returned as Kathryn hugged her back and said, "Any time you need to talk to me let me know," Kathryn released her and then said with laugh, "Well unless there is a yellow or red alert." Seven smiled back and nodded then turned and left, Kathryn stepped out into the hallway and watched her new daughter walk to the turbolift. She was pleased to see that Seven appeared to be walking more confidently than she had earlier in the day.

B'Elanna, along with the other senior staff, was surprised to see Seven walk into the Briefing room the next morning wearing a science blue Starfleet uniform. The Captain had smiled proudly and the other senior staff complemented Seven on how good the uniform looked on her. After Seven briefly blushed from the attention they stopped, surprised at the show of emotion.

The meeting turned out to be a short one since the only Department with anything of significance to report was Engineering. After B'Elanna had reported that repairs would be completed in the next four hours the Captain hurried though the rest of the meeting so she could go arrange for Voyager to depart from the space station.

B'Elanna caught up with Seven after the morning brief, "Seven you mentioned practicing the Bat'leth together? When were you thinking?"

"I have Holodeck One this evening from 1800 to 1900 hours, would you like to accompany me?" answered Seven.

"I'll meet you there then," replied B'Elanna with a small smile.

Seven was surprised and without thinking she returned it with a shy smile of her own before she stepped off on Deck 8, while B'Elanna stayed on the turbolift to descend to Deck 11.

B'Elanna thought back to the meeting and was certain she was the only one who noticed when Seven briefly closed her eyes and breathed deeply to activate her nanoprobes. It brought home to B'Elanna how that one change made so much difference. Seven had to consciously choose to limit her emotions, before they had been limited for her and everyone had wrongly assumed she had none. B'Elanna resolved to keep her ears open for gossip about Seven; she didn't want anyone being hurtful towards her.

Janeway finished the last of the diplomatic communications with the Mularans. Once again assuring them that Seven was fully recovered and that she had forgiven them for not stopping Muahe in time.

Janeway didn't know whether the last was true but felt reasonably certain enough to make the statement to reassure the Mularans.

After the last communication was done Janeway stepped out onto the Bridge and fixed her eyes on Tom Paris. "Mr. Paris if you would come to my Ready Room," she said in a flat voice. She was rewarded by the sight of his head whipping around at her tone and a worried look that entered his eyes. Janeway turned and went back into her Ready Room, not waiting on the Lieutenant.

In a moment the chime sounded and she said "Enter." Paris walked uncertainly to stand in front of her desk, waiting for her to tell him to sit down. Instead she stood and leaned over the desk looking him in the eyes. "Mr. Paris unfortunately this is coming a bit late, however, I want you to understand something. Your betting is getting out of hand. If I hear you making another bet dealing with another crewmember's personal life I will bring you up for conduct unbecoming an officer."

Janeway could see his eyes flicker with understanding and resentment. Janeway decided to stomp any ideas he might have, "More specifically I had better not hear of you making any bets that pertain in any way to Seven of Nine. Consider that a direct order, Lieutenant. I don't believe I have to explain myself further." The last was said with a definite chill that Janeway hoped got through Tom's ego.

Janeway didn't really want to be too harsh with him but the idea that he had made such a callous bet and had humiliated Seven had severely disappointed her. "You are dismissed Lieutenant," finished Janeway. She sat back down in her chair and watched as he smartly turned around and left the room.

Seven arrived outside of Holodeck One at 1755 hours precisely. B'Elanna was already waiting for her wearing a pair of black tights and tank top. Seven was wearing her Mularan clothing, a cream colored blouse and blue pants. She had changed her exoskeleton from silver to blue as well and B'Elanna gave a start of surprise when she saw her.

"It changes color," B'Elanna exclaimed.

"Yes, it can also change to red and there is a means for me to cover the entire surface with a thin layer of skin as well," stated Seven. Seven glanced once again at B'Elanna, experiencing a sense of appreciation of the woman's apparent strength revealed by the musculature of her arms and shoulders.

B'Elanna absorbed this information realizing something important, "You can conceal the entire exoskeleton and appear fully human. Why don't you?"

"I am not fully human; I am part Borg even though my implants are not anymore. It is part of who I am," said Seven.

"Aren't you ashamed of your Borg past," blurted B'Elanna. She then realized what she had said, "I'm sorry, I shouldn't have asked that. Forget it."

Seven knew how hard it was for the half-Klingon woman to apologize, and she knew something of how hard it was for the woman in front of her to accept her dual nature. She had overheard enough comments over the past year and a half for her to know that B'Elanna did not always appreciate her Klingon half.

Seven choose to answer, "I am angry that I was used to assimilate and kill others. I feel remorse for the things I was made to do. But my Borg enhancements allow me to be stronger than anyone aboard this vessel, they allow me to operate for far longer than anyone else, and my cortical node allows me access to the knowledge of thousands of species. It would be hypocritical for me to be ashamed of being Borg when I enjoy so many advantages from it."

B'Elanna listened to Seven and was silent for a moment after she had finished. The holodeck doors opened and two crewmen exited, their Velocity outfits mute testimony as to their previous activity. Seven waited until they had left then said, "Computer activate holoprogram Seven Mulara Temple."

Shortly the computer beeped and replied, "Holoprogram activated."

Seven nodded to B'Elanna and they walked toward the holodeck doors which opened at their movement. Seven wondered where they would enter the program and smiled slightly when the doors closed and she found herself standing outside the glass door that lead to the room she had stayed in on Mulara. Looking curiously into the room she noted that it was completely bare.

"The training area is to the left along this path, the gardens are to the right," Seven said and then proceeded up the left hand path. B'Elanna followed her looking curiously around at the park like area.

"This is a recreation of the inner temple where you stayed?" B'Elanna asked curiously.

"Yes, we entered outside of the doors which lead to my room; it was not bare though when I stayed here." They passed the path leading off to the bathing pool and Seven paused, "This path leads to the bathing pool and a waterfall that is used for rinsing." B'Elanna peered up the path and hesitated, Seven stopped looking at her curiously.

"Do you think we could see if its still there?" B'Elanna asked.

Seven nodded and they turned aside to walk single file along the path, it was not long before they reached the bathing pool and waterfall. B'Elanna stared at the large rock lined thermal pool and the small waterfall that fed the stream that meandered through the area. Seven looked at her and said, "I will be training on the holodeck three times a week, if you would like to use the pool at one of those times for bathing you may."

B'Elanna looked a bit embarrassed but finally she chuckled, "I think I will take you up on that sometime. This looks relaxing."

Seven nodded and asked, "Are you ready to proceed to the training area?"

B'Elanna looked at Seven, "You're not being so formally polite, not that I want you to be," B'Elanna said the last in a rush, "just why the change?"

"It seemed to bother you and the Captain. I determined that a less formal mode was required in order to not annoy you. It also seemed to cause both of you pain, which was not my intention," explained Seven.

B'Elanna regarded her soberly, but just nodded, "Well it sounds more natural. I still wish though that you didn't feel that you have to be polite."

Seven almost smiled, "You and the Captain sound alike, she too was not pleased with my reasoning and wished that circumstances were otherwise."

B'Elanna nodded then looked ahead as they came around a corner and stared at the large pavilion. Two women stood by the structure, a Mularan woman dressed similarly to Seven and a Klingon woman. A weapons rack beside the structure held four Bat'leths.

Seven paused saying, "B'Elanna there is something you should know."

"What?" asked B'Elanna curiously.

"The holograms may be more than just holograms," stated Seven. She watched to see if B'Elanna understood what she was saying and seeing the other woman whip her head around to look at the holograms, knew that she had. Seven started forward again toward the waiting woman and in a moment B'Elanna followed.

"M'ara," Seven respectfully greeted the Klingon woman. "This is B'Elanna Torres, Chief Engineer of Voyager."

"I know who B'Elanna Torres is," said M'ara. "Kayaln is sleeping right now, why don't you go and practice your katas with her Seven."

Seven looked at her curiously and then asked, "She is here then?"

M'ara nodded and Seven started toward the Mularan woman then paused looking back at B'Elanna.

"I will evaluate her training," said M'ara. "Go or you won't have time to talk with her."

Seven turned at that and went to join the Mularan woman, B'Elanna was surprised to see the two embrace in a quick hug before they walked to the other side of the pavilion. She hadn't been aware that Seven had gotten so close to either of the High Priestesses she had spoken of. B'Elanna had gathered, from the somewhat odd discussion, that in some manner Mulara was enabling Kayaln to actually be here while she was dreaming and that's why Seven had been so eager to talk to her friend while she could.

B'Elanna turned her attention toward the Klingon hologram, she wasn't afraid but she was wary. The holograms words had affirmed what Seven had said, this wasn't just a hologram. Obviously Mulara had no intention of letting Seven go unsupervised on Voyager. B'Elanna wasn't certain if she should mention this to the Captain or not, Seven seemed entirely unconcerned about it, perhaps the Captain already knows thought B'Elanna.

"Shall we begin," said M'ara and walked over to the weapons display to choose one of the two Bat'leths left.

B'Elanna walked over toward her but found herself distracted by Seven. She hesitated for a moment watching Seven perform her Bat'leth katas. There was something different about how she moved with the Bat'leth than from what B'Elanna had seen when Seven had been doing her unarmed katas. B'Elanna was puzzled, Seven still moved gracefully and powerfully. But there was something else, finally B'Elanna realized the difference, Seven had looked calm while doing her unarmed katas. These however, had an element of emotion to them; there was an intensity that had been missing from the unarmed katas.

Suddenly it dawned on B'Elanna what she was seeing. Seven had said that she tried to bring what she saw as beautiful into her katas. Seven had said that she saw her passion as beautiful, and B'Elanna was sure that this was what she was seeing in Seven's kata. B'Elanna had decided not to think of what Seven had admitted, but now seeing Seven striving to bring a sense of passion to her Bat'leth katas, B'Elanna had to admit she was flattered that Seven thought her passion was beautiful enough to want to emulate.

"She comes closer every day to displaying her own passion, her own people's warrior spirit," said M'ara.

B'Elanna jerked, surprised, she had forgotten for a moment that M'ara was there. "Her own people's?" asked B'Elanna.

"She is descended of Viking blood from both parents, there is a banked fire under the ice she shows the world. For her to reach the perfection she desires she will have to touch her own fire. For now though she uses your fire as a guide, perhaps it will lead her to her own." M'ara paused and then turned her attention to B'Elanna, "Enough of Seven though, let us see what you know of the Bat'leth."

B'Elanna was not particularly surprised when M'ara frowned at her after a few minutes of sparring and had asked if she had ever learned the katas for the weapon. After admitting that she hadn't M'ara had promptly began teaching her the first kata. B'Elanna was embarrassed, she was the half-Klingon, and the Borg knew more about how to handle the Bat'leth than she did.

Seven had completed her katas, but she was still dissatisfied with them. She knew there was something missing, they felt incomplete.

Kayaln gave her a one armed hug and said, "You are getting closer, that was much better than your last time. You need to use B'Elanna's passion as a guide to find your own passion, instead of trying to find her passion in yourself." Seven sighed, uncertain that she had a passion as intense as B'Elanna's inside herself.

Seven glanced at her hand and noticed that her exoskeleton was now red; she had initiated the change when she realized that B'Elanna had not known that her exoskeleton could change color. Seven looked at it puzzled, the color seemed to be deeper and darker than she remembered from before, checking the current color against her memory of the old she realized that it had changed, curious.

Seven and Kayaln wandered back over to where M'ara and B'Elanna were still training. M'ara had stopped the kata training due to B'Elanna's growing frustration and the two were now sparring, working out some of B'Elanna's anger.

M'ara called a halt to the sparring when the two approached, B'Elanna was feeling much better her anger had worked itself out and she was feeling energized from the fighting. Suddenly a new scent entered the immediate area, salty-sweet with a tang of metal. B'Elanna took in a deep breath intrigued with the scent, and feeling the sharp stirrings of desire. She shook her head to clear it and looked for the source of the scent.

M'ara chuckled and said, "I see that your exoskeleton is fully completed now Seven. I can scent the traces of your blood in the red coloration. Last time you tried the red it was not the proper color, now it is."

Seven raised her hand to her nose and sniffed bemused, "You are correct, the scent is very faint but it is present. I had not realized the Klingon sense of smell was that well developed, I can barely scent the blood traces."

"That is because it is your own," explained M'ara with an amused look at B'Elanna.

B'Elanna stared at Seven and the now deep blood red design around her eye stunned. Seven was the source of the scent, B'Elanna was suddenly overwhelmed with the desire to know what it would feel like to conquer the Borg, to lay claim to such a strong and intelligent mate. Her Klingon half said vay' DaneHbogh yIchargh.

B'Elanna fought off the desire, Seven was an innocent, and she was with Tom Paris. It was wrong of her to feel this way, looking into Seven's eyes she knew that Seven had no idea what the smell of her blood was doing to the half-Klingon. There was only concern there and B'Elanna fought hard to quell the desire to growl her desire to the woman.

B'Elanna knew that she had to come up with a reason to get away from the other woman. She couldn't tell Seven that the scent of her blood was bothering her it would only take Seven a short period of time to figure out exactly what that was likely to mean. She needed another excuse, luckily the computer announcing the five minute warning of the end of their holodeck time gave her the perfect one. "Well I'm going to head to my quarters for a quick shower, thanks for the invite Seven. We will have to do this again soon," said B'Elanna.

Seven replied, "There are two teachers, you are welcome to join me any time B'Elanna. I will be running this program Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday between 1800 and 1900 hours."

Seven realizing their time was almost up turned and thanked M'ara for her time and with a smile told Kayaln that she hoped she would see her again soon. The two holograms nodded and then disappeared as the holodeck returned to it's natural state.

"I'll have to get used to that," muttered B'Elanna belatedly realizing that she had been rude. Seven looked at her curiously and B'Elanna elaborated, "I didn't thank her for her teaching, I'm just not used to needing to thank a holodeck program."

The two of them exited the holodeck and greeted the two Ensigns who were impatiently waiting their turn. "Do you switch up training unarmed and Bat'leth?" asked B'Elanna curiously.

"Yes," replied Seven as they continued along the corridor to the turbolift. "Deck 9," said Seven.

After the two had agreed to meet again on Thursday night they separated and went to their respective quarters. B'Elanna leaned against the wall when she reached the safety of her quarters and took a deep breath of air. She desperately hoped that Seven had not been able to pick up the scent of her arousal, she really didn't feel up to the questions it would generate and she was quite sure Seven would bluntly ask her why she had been aroused.

B'Elanna wondered how Seven would react if she knew, with the past between them, would she reject B'Elanna? Or did the fact that Seven found B'Elanna's passion beautiful mean that Seven would welcome B'Elanna's desire for her? B'Elanna knew she would not try to find out, she would not dishonor herself by betraying Tom.

B'Elanna sighed and went to take a shower; with any luck Seven would not use that particular color of exoskeleton around her again. Maybe she would mention to Seven that she had thought that the woman had been hurt, no… she couldn't do that, it would be lying, she had never thought the faint smell had been from a wound. She would just have to control herself. B'Elanna hit the shower wall in anger, why couldn't she have had this reaction to Tom and why have this reaction to the Borg now?

Chapter 3

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