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 1: Phoenix

Chapter 1

As Seven slowly regained consciousness, the first thing she was aware of was the pain in her head, and the second thing she realized was that she was lying on a hard grey floor. The last thing she remembered was turning around to reply to one of the Mualan security guards on the space station and registering that the guard was firing at her before pain exploded in her head and everything went black. The pounding pain in her head made it difficult to focus on her surroundings, but Seven made the effort to raise herself to a sitting position and proceeded to examine the bare room that she found herself in.

The floor, ceiling, and three walls of the room were uniformly light grey in color. The fourth wall of the cell was not a wall at all but a steady shimmering bluish force field. Seeing no immediate way out of the room Seven began to evaluate her physical condition.

Gingerly she examined her face and head with her Borg enhanced hand, using its advanced sensory capabilities to assess the extent of the damage, the results were not promising. From her initial investigation she could tell that her cortical node had been damaged and the flesh around it was deeply bruised. Looking at the floor beneath her she could tell that she had bled slightly from the injury as well but that appeared to have been healed by her nanoprobes.

Of more concern was the fact that her continued headache and dizziness indicated that her cortical node might be beyond the capabilities of her nanoprobes to repair. If that was the case she only had a few days for Voyager to find her before her system started rejecting the implants and she died. Seven refused to further consider that line of thinking and instead continued to evaluate her physical condition. After a few more seconds she decided that aside from a few bruises on her legs she was functioning adequately.

With the self evaluation finished Seven decided it was time to see if she could free herself from what appeared to be a holding cell. She stood up unsteadily using the wall to balance herself and walked closer to the force field to look out into the corridor. Across the way from her and slightly further up the corridor she could see another cell identical to the one she was in, it appeared to be empty. Past the next holding cell she could tell the hallway extended further but she could tell nothing else. Straining her senses she tried to gather more information, but she could hear nothing aside from the faint hum of the force field.

Seven began a careful examination of the force field that barred her cell. After an exhaustive examination she could tell that the cell was constructed similarly to Voyager's brig and was just as impassable. Seven sighed to herself and reviewed the events that had lead up to this point in the hope that she might garner some insight as to why she had been attacked.

Species 3567 – humanoid, prominent facial ridges, similar genetically to the Kazon. They called themselves the Mularan after the energy being they believed to be a goddess known as Mulara. The Collective had assimilated them nine years ago in the hopes they would find out the secrets to long disused buildings that their "goddess" Mulara had apparently built. The Borg came to the conclusion after 3000 Mularans had been assimilated, that one of the more powerful energy beings had once taken a personal interest in the Mularan but that being had apparently left them to fend for themselves around 100 years ago, leaving behind useless technology and artifacts that only Mulara could power. The Collective had attempted to assimilate the technology but had failed. Seven had recited all of this to the Captain at the senior staff meeting before they decided to accept the Mularan's offer.

Seven had been on her way back to the ship after a meeting with some of the Mularan astrometics scientists. Once the Mularan scientists realized that she had been Borg they had become very upset and tense around her, evidently they expected her to turn and assimilate them at any moment. Such reactions were not uncommon but they never failed to distress Seven even though she was certain that she was able to successfully hide her emotions from the Mularan's.

Seven had taken the earliest opportunity to leave what had become a tense situation, by stating that she needed to return to Voyager in order to complete her analysis of the most recent nebula Voyager had come across. She had been walking along a relatively deserted corridor when she was hailed by one of the Mularan security guards that had just passed her. The fact that the guard had a weapon drawn and aimed at her caught her by complete surprise, giving the Mularan guard a perfect shot.

In another part of the complex, several Mularans were arguing over what to do with the Borg they had just captured. She had been taken at the Space Station by the orders of the Commander of the Guard and transferred, while unconscious, to the planet below. Now she was in the custody of the Intelligence arm of the Mularan military. Or more specifically, one Ahaoe Muahe, whose entire family had been wiped out by the Borg nine years earlier.

The Intelligence complex was very close to one of the major Mularan temples and nearly all of the Mularans serving there were devout believers. The idea of physically harming the humanoid woman in the cell, Borg not withstanding, could only be justified if she was guilty of assimilating Mularans. If she was not, what the Ahaoe Muahe wanted to do was not only illegal according to their justice system, but also completely detestable in the eyes of their religion. Even if she was guilty, the proper response was a quick death and everyone in the room was uneasily aware that Ahaoe Muahe seemed to have other ideas for the Borg.

Such was the subject of the intense debate that was being held in the room. Finally Ahaoe Muahe yelled, "I don't care if the Borg drone was personally involved in our people's assimilation! They have a collective mind therefore all of them are equally guilty of what any of the Borg do. This discussion is over; bring the drone to the interrogation room for questioning immediately!"

Though still reluctant his sub-officers rushed off to do his bidding leaving only his immediate subordinate Buaea Vauar in the room. Ahaoe Muahe stared at his subordinate and snarled, "Are you disobeying me?"

Buaea Vauar calmly replied, "I am officially informing you that I am going to notify Commander Mlaer of your actions."

Ahaoe Muahe stepped in close to Vauar and said, "You do that, and you had better pray that he agrees with your interpretation or you will find yourself assigned to the worst hell hole I can find."

Vauar merely nodded calmly and with a respectful salute sharply turned and exited the room. Ahaoe Muahe paced for a while and then upon being told that the prisoner was in the interrogation room smiled cruelly and left to extract his vengeance upon the Borg drone. First he would have to make sure that all of his subordinates were well away from the chamber, they would not agree with what he was planning on doing.

Seven had drawn herself up straight with her hands behind her back when she heard the sound of several humanoids moving toward her. She contemptuously examined the group of ten guards that came for her, and was about to inquire as to their intentions when the force field dropped and several of them immediately fired upon her rendering her temporarily unconscious again.

When she awoke she was strapped securely to an upright platform, and a Mularan male was the only other occupant of the room. The cold glittering look in his eyes as he noted her awakening chilled her, as did the menacing nature of his posture.

Seven asked coolly "Why have you detained me?" hiding her unease behind a calm veneer.

The Mularan sneered and said "For your crimes Borg. You will die for all the Mularans you have killed. And I shall take great joy in being the one that kills you. Nine years ago you assimilated or killed my family, and their blood cries out for vengeance."

Seven replied, "I was one of the Borg that assimilated the Mularan. What proof do you have that I assimilated your family?"

Ahaoe Muahe blinked and then growled out, "I am Ahaoe Muahe, it looks like Mulara smiles on me today… to find one of the actual drones that killed my people shows that she favors what I am about to do."

Seven replied, "I do not know the individual names of the Mularans that I assimilated, how do you know that I assimilated your family?" Seven was frightened but also curious as to why Ahaoe Muahe believed that she was responsible for his family's assimilation.

Ahaoe Muahe smiled coldly and replied, "That is… as you would say… irrelevant. The fact is that all Borg are responsible for what you did the Mularans, the fact that you were actually involved is just a bonus."

Seven shifted in her bonds and Ahaoe Muahe said, "Don't even bother, not even you can break those." Seven looked back at him coldly and stated, "Captain Janeway will search for me, she is probably already aware of my disappearance. By what legal right do you hold me?"

Ahaoe Muahe simply sneered, "Captain Janeway is the only one on the Voyager who would miss you. We have been quietly asking questions about you Borg, you have no friends on that ship, and most of them would not mind your disappearance at all. Especially the Chief Engineer, she had quite a few things to say about you Borg. As for legal rights, the fact that you admit to being one of the Borg who murdered the Mularans is quite enough."

Seven paled but said "I have showed my loyalty to the crew of the Voyager many times, you are lying."

Ahaoe Muahe laughed and said "What? Do you think they actually care about you drone? I've heard how rude you are to all of them. How you sneer at them and treat them as lesser beings, showing your Borg arrogance." This last was practically screamed at Seven, and it was quickly becoming apparent that Muahe was loosing control of himself.

Seven was trying hard to hide her trembling at this point and said defiantly "I have risked my existence several times for the crew of the Voyager, they are my Collective."

Muahe laughed mockingly and said "What? Do you think you bought acceptance from them with that? I can tell you that you didn't, they don't want to be your Collective Drone. They reject you and your pathetic attempts to win their approval. The only one who wants you on that ship is the Captain and that's only because you are some type of project to her."

Seven decided not to dignify that with an answer, as she was more concerned with new evidence that her cortical node was malfunctioning. She was experiencing several uncomfortable sensations including constriction of her throat and chest and a feeling of nausea. The symptoms seemed to have been triggered by Muahe's words and Seven realized that she was feeling severe emotional pain at the thought of the crew of the Voyager telling all this to the Mularan.

Ahaoe Muahe looked at her coldly ignoring the signs of Seven's distress and said, "Enough of this, time for you to pay for what you did to my people."

With that Ahaoe Muahe turned around and selected an instrument and began to sever Seven's Borg arm, at first she was shocked by the extreme pain to scream, but that soon changed. Ahaoe Muahe ignored the drone's cries and continued severing Seven's arm, when he was done he sarcastically asked "What? you must have done this to countless Mularans."

Seven had ceased screaming and was attempting to focus on something besides the pain, nevertheless she replied in a weak voice, "New drones are sedated during the process of Borg attachments, Borg do not intentionally cause pain."

Ahaoe Muahe stared at Seven of Nine, and completely lost what little control he had left. He glanced around the interrogation chamber and found a length of metal. With it he began to beat the drone that, in his mind, represented the terrible mindless Borg who had taken his family away. He started by beating her across the abdomen trying to break the implant he could see under the silver suit she wore. Ignoring her screams when she could no longer restrain them, he continued beating her, far past the time when her cries stopped.

At some point several guards piled into the room and pulled him off the drone and subdued him. His superior, Huiah Mlaer, hurried into the room and stared, shocked at the blood on the floor and walls, and then looked sickened at the torn and bloodied body on the interrogation platform. In a shaking voice he called for medical assistance, though he had no hope that the Borg drone known as Seven of Nine was still alive.

The medic that rushed in a few seconds later quickly confirmed to that the drone was indeed dead, and in a flat tone he pronounced, "There is no heartbeat or brain activity, the pelvis has been broken at several points, as have the bones in the remaining hand, forearm and arm. Several ribs have been broken and driven into the lungs and other internal organs. The upper leg bones are fractured on the left and broken on the right; both lower legs are broken as well. That's beside of course, the obvious damage to the skin and muscles and the extensive blood loss." The medic finally concluded, "There is nothing we can do for her, she is dead."

Huiah Mlaer's thoughs turned to the very angry Captain of Voyager, who had been speaking to him earlier demanding to know why her crew member had been attacked by his security forces on the space station. How she had so quickly discovered the facts of the Borg drone's abduction was a mystery to him. Huiah Mlaer said, "Ahaoe Muahe you have chosen to take justice into your own hands, we will have to convene a court to determine whether or not you were right to do so… however this appalling level of violence cannot any way be justified."

Ahaoe Muahe said, "I demand my right for this to be decided by Mulara, I demand that I be taken to the Arch of Judgement. Mulara brought this drone to me to be punished, let her show the justice of my actions."

Huiah Mlaer stared shocked at Ahaoe Muahe for a moment but then nodded saying, "That is of course your right, it matters not that Seven of Nine is dead. Mulara can still determine her guilt or innocence and by that your guilt or innocence as well Ahaoe Muahe."

Huiah Mlaer called for a stretcher and ordered that the body of Seven of Nine be carried to the Arch of Justice. Carefully the guards released the restraints on the body and lowered it to the stretcher; one of them gingerly picked up the severed arm and placed it next to the body on the stretcher. They waited until Huiah Mlaer exited the room and proceeded to follow him to the temple, Ahaoe Muahe brought up the rear of the procession, head held high despite the watchful presence of the guards around him.

Ten minutes later the High Priest ushered them into the room containing the Arch of Justice. The room contained what looked like a simple diagnostic bed under an undecorated arch comprised of some type of yellowish stone. Two stone statues of Mulara stood at the head of the bed. The statues were humanoid in shape and about seven foot tall; the features were smooth and vague only hinting at a face that did not show any Mularan characteristics.

The High Priest was obviously trying not to become ill at the sight of the body of the accused as the guards placed it on the bed under the arch. The paleness of his complexion and the perspiration dotting his forehead bore silent witness to his struggle.

Immediately the arch began to glow and what looked like a golden scanning beam passed over the body of Seven of Nine. A disembodied voice stated, "What is the accusation?"

Ahaoe Muahe stated, "That the Borg Seven of Nine is responsible for assimilating and murdering several thousand Mularans. She is guilty personally by her own admission that she participated in the assimilation, and because of the nature of the Collective Mind of the Borg, for all the assimilation's and murder's of three thousand Mularans."

The beam once again swept over the body of Seven of Nine then its focus changed to concentrate over the head where it stayed for several minutes. The High Priest shifted nervously saying, "Perhaps there is too much damage for a judgment to be made?"

The disembodied voice replied, "Memories are undamaged, still determining judgment." Ahaoe Muahe who had previously looked so confident started to look nervous and his eyes flickered about the room obviously looking anywhere but at the bloodied body of Seven of Nine.

Finally the voice spoke again, "Seven of Nine is innocent of all charges, the nature of the Collective mind of the Borg is such that there is no individual will, without individual will there can be no guilt assigned to any single member of the Borg. Perhaps the entity known as the Borg Queen at the time of the attack upon the Mularan might be found guilty of the accusation since she directed the hive mind. However, the Borg drone Seven of Nine is innocent of the accusation; in addition due to the unusual nature of her past she has been found to be insufficiently emotionally and socially developed to be considered an adult by Mularan law. Ahaoe Muahe is declared guilty of misuse of his authority, kidnapping, torture of a minor and murder of a minor. Any person who directly assisted in the kidnapping of Seven of Nine is guilty of assisting in the murder of a minor."

The voice fell silent and an anguished scream was heard from Ahaoe Muahe as he fell to his knees in disbelief. Finally he stared at the body of Seven of Nine as it sunk in what he had done. Then the guards lifted him back onto his feet and he was lead away unresisting to his fate.

Huiah Mlaer stared at the body and started wondering exactly how he could explain what had occurred to Captain Janeway, perhaps they could get rid of the body before the angry woman saw exactly what had been done to her crewmember.

As he was thinking this something occurred that had not happened in several hundred years, the lights came on in the deeper part of the complex and one of the statues of Mulara beside the diagnostic bed began to glow with a faint golden aura. As the Mularans stared in amazement, the stone statue began to move as if it were alive. The statue walked around the diagnostic bed and picked up the body of Seven of Nine, including the detached Borg arm and turned and walked deeper into the complex.

All of the Mularans had stared speechless while this occurred, even the High Priest. When the statue disappeared into the depths of the temple they suddenly all started speaking excitedly, trying to understand the meaning of what had just happened. The High Priest quickly shook himself out of his astonishment and attempted to follow the statue but was stopped by a golden force field that had unexpectedly appeared only a few steps down the hallway that the statue had taken.

Chapter 2

Several hours later Huiah Mlaer found himself staring at a very angry Captain Janeway, he had agreed to come aboard Voyager to meet her personally, simply stating that he had a duty that he must discharge to her and her crew.

He was met in the transporter room by the ship's First Officer and a stiff and formal Captain Janeway who immediately said "I demand to know what has happened to Seven of Nine."

Huiah Mlaer sighed then said, "I do not think this is the place for me to discuss this matter Captain Janeway." The tone of his voice must have made it apparent that the news he had was dire, for the Captain paled and swayed slightly, her First Officer immediately supported her with a firm hand under her elbow and nodded to Huiah Mlaer saying "Follow us to the Captain's Ready Room." Huiah Mlaer wracked his brain for the man's name, Commander Chakotay he thought it was. Huiah Mlaer said "Certainly Commander Chakotay…"Huiah paused to see if he had pronounced the human's name correctly and was rewarded with a nod and a small smile as the First Officer lead the way out of the transporter room.

Huiah Mlaer stared as they passed through the ship wishing that he could ask for a tour but the nature of his news made it unlikely that it would ever occur. Too soon for his taste they had passed through the ship and into the Captain's Ready room. Captain Janeway seemed to have regained her composure and she said firmly "What news do you have of Seven of Nine."

Huiah Mlaer waited until both of the humans were seated then nodded and said formally, "Two days ago Seven of Nine was illegally kidnapped from this space station and taken to the Intelligence Base on Mularan. There she was…" Huiah Mlaer paused and paled, trying to think of the kindest way to say what had been done to her crewmember and trying to block out of his mind the vision of the interrogation room. He continued in a shaking voice "There she was..." Huiah Mlaer could not continue looking at the woman he was speaking to and instead he dropped his eyes to the carpet in shame and continued, "…brutally beaten by the head of the Intelligence Department, Ahaoe Muahe. I was informed of his intent but arrived too late to prevent the death of your crewmember." A stifled gasp drew his attention back to Captain Janeway.

The woman looked pale and shocked, he hurriedly continued, "Ahaoe Muahe claimed the right to use the Arch of Judgment. As required by tradition and law we took the body of Seven of Nine and Ahaoe Muahe to the temple, where judgment was rendered in favor of your crewmember. Ahaoe Muahe is due to be beheaded within the hour; all of his lands and titles are forfeit to the government. The guard who initially attacked her and the Commander of the guards of this station are also sentenced to beheading. Any guard determined to have been involved in the transportation of Seven of Nine will be confined and sentenced to no less than 10 years."

He finished the last in a rush, earnestly holding the Captain's gaze, determined to demonstrate to Captain Janeway that the Mularans took the crime seriously. Captain Janeway focused on the litany of beheadings, trying to remember the law code that had been transmitted to them before their arrival at the space station and said, "Beheading is not the usual punishment for murder, is it?"

Huiah Mlaer shook his head and said, "Not usually, but in this case the judgment was rendered by Mulara herself, Ahaoe Muahe claimed that Seven of Nine was guilty for all the Borg assimilations and murders that occurred nine years ago on Mularan. She was found innocent of all accusations, Mulara said that since she had no individual will she could not be found guilty of any of her actions while she was part of the Collective. Since Mulara rendered the judgment the sentences are more severe. Mulara found Ahaoe Muahe guilty of misuse of his powers, kidnapping, torture of a minor and murder of a minor. Beheading is the traditional punishment when Mulara's judgment is invoked and the resulting charge is murder. Forfeiture of all lands and money is an additional punishment since the person involved was a minor. The 10 year sentence for anyone involved in the kidnapping is, of course, the standard punishment for kidnapping a minor."

Captain Janeway looked at Huiah Mlaer and said, "Minor? Seven of Nine is… was twenty-seven years old. At what age are Mularan's considered to be adults?"

Huiah Mlaer said, "Mulara said that her emotional and social growth was not that of an adult and that she was to be considered a minor. The age of adulthood varies in Mularan law; one must prove that they have the emotional and social maturity to be considered an adult. The average age varies between eighteen and twenty one years of age."

Janeway nodded then asked, "When can we have the body of Seven of Nine for burial?"

Huiah Mlaer looked suddenly uncomfortable and said, "Ah… I'm not sure, as we do not have access to Seven of Nine. One of the guardians at the Arch of Judgment took her body and force fields have been erected around the lower parts of the temple and the inner temple gardens. We cannot enter the area where the guardian took her body to find out what has happened to her."

Captain Janeway stared at Huiah Mlaer, "Where exactly is this temple located, have you scanned for any signs of Seven of Nine?"

Huiah Mlaer said, "Our equipment cannot penetrate the force field that surrounds the temple but I will be happy to give you the coordinates, perhaps your equipment will be allowed to penetrate the shield."

Captain Janeway gave Mlaer an odd look at his phrasing but merely nodded, remembering that the Mularans devoutly believed that their goddess was real and also remembering Sevens reciting of the Borg findings that a higher energy being was involved. Janeway had asked Seven if Mulara was one of the Q and Seven had indicated that the Borg knew of the Q but were unsure if Mulara were one of them or another type of energy being.

Suddenly hopeful despite the odds of any reason to be so, Janeway requested the coordinates from Huiah Mlaer and relayed them to the bridge instructing them to specifically scan those coordinates for any sign of Seven of Nine. It was not long before Ensign Kim reported back "Captain, we are able to pick up the signs of a human life form at the indicated coordinates. I am unable to detect any signs of Borg implants though. I am still trying to get a more detailed scan through the force field that surrounds the entire area."

Captain Janeway stood with hope upon her face and said, "If you will accompany me to the bridge Mr. Mlaer?"

Huiah Mlaer who was also suddenly hopeful that events might not be as dire as he thought, nodded and they exited the Ready Room and stepped onto the Bridge. The view screen showed a close up of the Mularan Temple, the force field showed up as a golden dome covering part of the temple grounds.

Ensign Kim nodded to the Captain and said, "I have confirmed that the human life form DNA matches that of Seven of Nine, she's alive Captain, but there are a lot of differences in the data I'm seeing compared to the information we have for her. With your permission I would like to forward it to Sickbay for the Doctor to analyze."

Janeway nodded thoughtfully then said, "Let the Doctor know I would like that analysis to be completed as soon as possible, what have you determined about the force field Ensign?"

Ensign Kim grimaced, "I have not been able to determine the power source that's causing the force field, and I cannot get a transport lock on Seven of Nine. That force field is incredibly strong. I can't understand why I can't find what's powering it; I'm not sure why our scans are penetrating it at all. From what I can tell about the force field we shouldn't be able to."

Janeway nodded to Ensign Kim and said, "Remember what Seven said during the briefing, the power source of that force field may not even be in this dimension. Look for any spatial anomalities or singularities that might be feeding it power."

Janeway had made an effort to persuade Huiah Mlaer that perhaps those condemned to death should be spared since Seven was alive, but he was quite adamant that Mulara had declared that she had been murdered. Nothing could change that fact, not even whether or not Mulara had decided to restore her back to life.

Janeway lodged an official protest of the sentences, which was taken as a noble gesture by the Mularans and promptly ignored. In their viewpoint Mulara had been very clear about the nature of the crimes committed.

It had taken a lot of persuading, but the Mularans had finally sent along copies of all the information they had about Seven's abduction, torture, death and the few pictures they had of the events at the Arch of Judgment.

Commander Chakotay had escorted the grateful Huiah Mlaer around the ship while the information had been gathered and the Mularan had taken his leave as the information had been sent to Voyager with a grim look on his face. He admitted to Janeway that he had no desire to view Seven's death; the memory of walking into the interrogation room was such that he was having problems with nightmares already.

With that as a warning they looked through the reports of the events leading up to Seven's disappearance first. Both Janeway and Chakotay were extremely disappointed to learn that the engineering crew was the main source of the negative information Ahaoe Muahe had obtained about Seven of Nine. Apparently Muahe had actually come to believe that except for the Captain of Voyager and a few of the crew, the majority of Voyager would not regret the disappearance of Seven of Nine.

Thankfully the information made it clear that the main source of the discontent with Seven of Nine had refused to gossip with the Intelligence agents. But every report made it clear that the Chief Engineer of Voyager Lt. B'Elanna Torres was the greatest critic of Seven. Brief mention was also made of Commander Chakotay's continuing lack of trust in the drone.

The report glossed over all the times Seven had risked her life for the crew of Voyager, dismissing it as Seven of Nine trying to justify her continuing existence as a member of the crew.

All of the information had been gathered within a few hours at the request of Ahaoe Muahe, apparently it had been all the information he needed to decide that Seven of Nine was the perfect target for his vengeance.

Janeway sighed and looked over at her First Officer; there were only two more pieces of information to look at, the detailed information on the torture and what had taken place at the Arch of Judgment.

Chokoty said "Perhaps a break would be a good idea before we look at these; I've read over the data the medical personnel took when they were called to the interrogation. It reminded me of some of the things I saw as a Marquis that the Cardassians had done. Maybe the Doctor has some information for us; I for one would like to know that Seven is alive despite these reports."

Janeway nodded thankfully, the medical reports had been very sickening to read and she had understood why Huiah Mlaer had been so adamant that he did not want to see any more than he already had.

Janeway tapped her combadge, "Janeway here, Doctor I was wondering if you had finished your analysis of the data Ensign Kim sent you?"

The Doctor replied, "Yes I have, would you like me to send it to your console there? Or come and tell you myself?"

Janeway said, "Why don't you come up here, I also have some medical data that I need to show you that was given to us by the Mularans."

The Doctor replied slowly, "I've heard that Seven actually died from being tortured. Is it the medical data from when they examined her?"

Janeway said, "Where did you hear that Doctor, I haven't released any of this information yet."

The Doctor replied, "The Mularans officially announced the death of Ahaoe Muahe twenty minutes ago for the kidnapping, torture, and murder of the minor Seven of Nine. It's all over the ship by now. The medical listing of her injuries leading up to her death and a short segment showing the ruling at the Arch of Judgment was made available Captain, it's part of the public record of the execution."

Janeway sighed and said, "Come to my Ready Room Doctor and give me your report. Sounds like I may need to make an announcement that Seven is alive, though honestly after what I've read in these reports a little ship wide guilt might do some good."

It was only a few minutes before the Doctor arrived and with a consenting nod from Janeway began his report. "From the data Ensign Kim sent me, Seven's physiology has changed considerably. There is more human physiology present than Seven had three days ago, the good news is that the extra mass could be accounted for if her Borg arm were replaced with a human arm."

The Doctor grimaced and then continued, "The confusing part of the data is the extra metallic alloy elements. Seven used to have about 10% metallic alloy elements present in her physiology. This has increased five fold to 50% metallic alloy elements. I am uncertain as to what this could mean, it might mean that her Borg armor has been replaced or it might mean something else entirely. The metallic alloy elements include tritanium and poly-deutonic alloy. All of the metallic alloys are in some type of matrix, perhaps with better data I, or engineering, could figure out the specifics."

After the Doctor left Janeway and Chakotay looked at each other and sighed before Janeway said, "Well only two data files left. Let me know if you want to stop watching at any point, and I'll certainly do the same."

With almost identical grim looks the two began watching the information the Mularans had discovered detailing the specifics of Seven's torture. Thankfully the video portion of the information was poor and though they could tell basically what happened to Seven they were not assaulted with detailed scenes. Fortunately or unfortunately the audio was excellent and they were able to make out every word of the conversation between Seven and Ahaoe Muahe.

Janeway had watched in disbelief as Ahaoe Muahe had coldly amputated Seven's Borg arm and had been amazed by Seven's continuing defiance of him and her statement that the Borg did not intentionally cause pain. Fleetingly considering the statement she realized it was entirely accurate, the Borg might cause pain during assimilation but if so it was accidental. They had no sympathy or pity if it did but they had no malice either.

When it became obvious that there would be no more conversation besides Seven's screams they gratefully turned down the audio, the pain filled cries had torn at both of them. Finally they watched as Huiah Mlaer and the guards pulled Ahaoe Muahe away from Seven's mutilated body.

They continued watching until the guards with Seven's body marched out of the room for the Arch of Judgment and the data disk ended.

Janeway picked up the last data disk and with an inquiring look at Chokaty, who nodded, she inserted it into the console. The Arch of Judgment was monitored closely and the video and audio was of excellent quality. It was the first detailed view either of them had of the devastation Ahaoe Muahe had wrought upon Seven's body and both of them stared horrified at the blood-drenched form on the diagnostic bed. Only Seven's face had been left untouched except for some blood spattering.

Both of them continued watching in silence, listening to the disembodied voice and Muahe's arrogant assertion that his savagery against Seven was justified. The announcement of her innocence and Muahe's guilt drew deep breaths from both and they watched as Muahe was dragged away. Then Chakotay pointed at the screen and said, "Look at the statue; it's changed, it's glowing. Everyone's attention is on Muahe but it began glowing a few seconds ago."

Janeway backed up the data to the point Chakotay indicated and they both focused on the statue as first the eyes and then the entire body glowed. By this point the Mularans were also staring and Janeway and Chakotay were as silent as the Mularans had been as they watched the statue move gracefully over to pick up the body of Seven of Nine and bear it into the depths of the temple.

After the last of the data had finished playing Janeway said, "What do you make of that," Janeway indicated the frozen last picture on the console, "Given that we just found signs that Seven is alive again and somewhere inside that force field?"

Chakotay steepled his fingers together and looked pensive, "Mulara has obviously taken an interest in her, not surprising given the mythology surrounding her. I looked it up when we first arrived out of curiosity. Were you aware that the first time she showed up on Mularan was 500 years ago? The Mularan's were split into several opposing kings and violence between these groups was very common. One of these kings kidnapped the teenager daughter of another and had her raped and tortured. When she died a golden light formed around her and she disappeared, at the same time the king and all the men who had participated in the kidnapping and violence died as well… by decapitation as a matter of fact, probably where the traditional punishment began. The daughter showed up almost two weeks later with a tale of a goddess who had gathered up her body and healed her."

Janeway looked at Chakotay and said "Sounds rather a lot like Seven's experiences, does this mean that we will have to wait two weeks for her?"

Chakotay shrugged and said "The story says almost two weeks so I would guess that it was around 10 or so days. She died yesterday, if the story is correct, we have somewhere between seven to twelve days before she will be returned to us. The story describes her time with the goddess as healing and peaceful, if we are lucky Seven will be treated the same."

Janeway nodded, "I hope so because I don't know what Seven's emotional state will be after going through that. That story, if it's accurate, tells me that she will remember what happened to her." Janeway paced some and picked up the PADD with the Intelligence reports, "Is the situation between Seven and the crew as bad as this makes it out to be? Does she really have no friends beside the Doctor and I on Voyager?"

Chakotay paused, trying to choose his words carefully, "I know she is friends with Naomi Wildman, but Seven's mannerisms have not made her many friends, especially in engineering. I'm certain they don't realize that neither you nor I consider her to be as mature as she appears, so they don't understand why we let her continue to behave the way she does. They just see her getting away with behavior that wouldn't be tolerated in them."

Janeway nodded and said, "I guess I haven't done her any favors by doing so but she didn't exactly want to join Voyager so I've tried to be easy on her. Did you know that less than six months ago when we found Artruis's ship that she didn't want to go to the Alpha Quadrant? I told her that she had no other place to go but Voyager. I thought at the time she was merely afraid of the unknown, now I wonder if she wasn't more afraid of meeting more people that might react to her the same way."

Chakotay said, "Kathryn you can't blame yourself for wanting her to experience her humanity. She's grown so much this last year, we just have to figure out how to fix the situation that exists between her and the crew and how to make sure it doesn't happen again."

Kathryn Janeway nodded and asked, "Any suggestions?"

Chakotay smiled, "As a matter of fact, yes. Given that the Doctor said that the medical record and pictures of the Arch of Judgment were posted publicly I'm betting that the entire ship has seen them by now. B'Elanna is stubborn but she's also honorable, and I bet she's feeling pretty bad about how Seven was treated about right now. If we can get her to change how she treats Seven, the engineering crew should follow her."

In engineering the mood was anything but jovial, there had been a guilty sense about the crew ever since Seven's disappearance and especially after Tuvok found out that several of them had been gossiping about Seven of Nine to Mularan Intelligence agents. The fact that they had not known the identity of the friendly Mularans who had wanted to know more about the ex-Borg had not diminished the decidedly disapproving look the Security Chief had given each of them.

None of them had been looking forward to the inevitable note that would be placed in their records about their indiscretion. Torres had already dressed several of them down for falling for the tactic, she had been instantly suspicious of the Mularans curiosity and her Marquis experiences had kept her from sharing any information about Seven of Nine. She might dislike the arrogant Borg but she would never betray a shipmate like that.

The transmission from the Mularans of the execution of Ahaoe Muahe for the death of Seven of Nine had upset everyone. The images of Seven of Nine's body had been graphically shocking evidence of her abuse and the news that she was declared a minor under Mularan law just piled one shock after another in the minds of the engineering crew.

Torres had disappeared into her office shaken by the sight of the dismembered body of Seven of Nine. She had read the dispassionate medical report and had looked up the Mularan law to find out what was considered the age of adult hood. Now finished with her research she sat with her head in her hands thinking of how Seven of Nine had always acted and comparing it to her own teenage years and seeing entirely too many similarities.

Why hadn't Janeway made it clearer that Seven was not an adult? But then memories of Janeway and Chakotay continually telling her that she was expected to be above reacting to Seven's behavior intruded, and in the light of this new information, B'Elanna saw their admonitions with deeper insight. If the Captain and Chakotay considered Seven to be socially around the age of eighteen or so, then of course they would tell her that she was expected to be above reacting to Seven's actions.

Now she would never have the chance to apologize for all the hateful things she had said to the Borg. Never have the chance to show the Captain that she was capable of dealing with Seven in a mature manner. She also accepted that the antagonism between Seven and most of the engineering crew had been in part her fault; she had not bothered to discourage it and by doing so had indicated to her crew that the hostile behavior was acceptable. If she had stopped the behavior instead of tacitly encouraging it Seven might not be dead.

Her summons to the Bridge to meet the Captain and First Officer in the Ready Room came as no surprise to her. She stepped out of her office and met the eyes of her engineering crew and said, "I must apologize to all of you. I should have said something sooner about the gossip and behavior you displayed towards Seven. I should have stopped it but I didn't, instead I said nothing and by that I pretty much encouraged all of you to continue. I'll accept the responsibility for the information that was given to Mularan Intelligence; if I had behaved more like a senior officer I'm certain the security lapse would have never occurred."

With that she turned and left engineering and headed for the Bridge with a decidedly grim look on her face that had everyone in the hallways moving to the side to stay out of her way.

B'Elanna Torres strode through the Bridge ignoring Ensign Kim's attempt to catch her attention and asked for permission to enter the Ready Room. When the door opened she strode in and stood stiffly at attention in front of the Captain and Commander Chakotay.

Captain Janeway raised an eyebrow and said, "Lt. Torres I think you know why you are here. Would you like to explain to me why engineering had the need to share their opinions of Seven of Nine with Mularan Intelligence?"

B'Elanna took in a deep breath and said, "That's my fault Captain, I should've stopped the gossip and their behavior toward Seven months ago, but I didn't. I realize that by doing so I was encouraging the behavior because of my dislike of Seven. I accept full responsibility for my crew's actions on the space station."

Captain Janeway said, "Well this is a change; we've been trying to get you to realize how much influence you had over your engineering crew for months. Too bad Seven had to die before you realized it." Janeway was not going to pull any punches, she was fairly irate that the situation in engineering had been allowed to continue as long as it had.

Lt. Torres flinched, "Yes Captain."

Commander Chakotay asked, "Why did you let the situation in engineering continue Lt.?"

B'Elanna paused in thought then answered, "From the first she was rude to me; she always behaved as if she had the right to do anything in engineering she wanted. And I resented that both of you allowed her to. I guess I was also jealous that she got as much of the Captain's attention as she did." B'Elanna hadn't wanted to be as honest but with what little honor she had left she figured honesty was the only way of regaining any of it.

Janeway blinked, "You were jealous of the time I spent with her? Did you not realize that she needed it? I made the choice for her, against her will, that she would become human; I decided that she was unable to make her own decision about the matter. I took on the role of her guardian B'Elanna, I thought you realized that."

B'Elanna shook her head and said, "I'm sorry Captain, I only realized that you and Chakotay were treating her as a minor a few minutes ago. The news that the Mularans had declared Seven a minor caused me to think about it. I was too wrapped up in my own reactions to see I guess."

"And now," Janeway questioned, "How would you treat her now B'Elanna?"

B'Elanna laughed bitterly, "If she were still alive you mean? She would still get on my nerves and infuriate me, but I hope I would react differently. I would try to tell her what she was doing wrong and if she continued it I would tell her to leave engineering until she could behave in an acceptable manner. I guess I'd be more inclined to report to you and Chakotay when she really did something out of line, instead of just yelling at her. But I'll never have the chance now to make things right, will I?"

Janeway tilted her head to the side when B'Elanna had started speaking but had let her finish, now she said, "B'Elanna you don't know that Seven may be alive do you? We can't get a transporter lock on her but we have detected her life signs in the main temple complex where the Arch of Judgment is located. I'm sorry, I thought that you knew."

B'Elanna stared at her and said, "That's what Harry was trying to get my attention about, and I just walked past him. No I didn't know." B'Elanna closed her eyes and a feeling of relief swept through her, she would have the opportunity to regain her honor. B'Elanna opened her eyes and looked at the Captain and said, "I do have one request of you Captain."

Janeway looked at her and nodded and B'Elanna continued, "Don't let her get away with the way she treats people. If nothing changes I can ask my people not to be actively hostile to her, but I can't make them like her, and she still won't have any friends." B'Elanna thought but didn't say 'just like I didn't have any friends when I was a teenager.' "When I'm right and she's out of line back me up please."

Janeway rubbed her forehead and asked, "What is it that she does that annoys people the most?"

B'Elanna shifted her weight and considered the question and tried to respond to it as diplomatically as possible. "She treats people as if they were inferior to her, she constantly tells people they are inefficient, and their feelings are irrelevant. The way she corrects mistakes makes it clear that she believes that she would not have made it. Even though she may not want to rejoin the Collective she makes it obvious that she compares us to the Borg and finds us lacking. Being told that you are inefficient and your thoughts and feelings are irrelevant… well no one reacts well to that."

Janeway looked at her with understanding in her eyes and said, "I don't want to make radical changes immediately when she comes back, chances are she will remember everything that happened to her and she will need our support. I'm afraid she would take that type of change to mean that Ahaoe Muahe told her the truth, that she's not welcome here. Can you be patient for a while longer and try and treat her gently for a few weeks. Let's ease into the change instead of springing it on her all at once. I don't want to hurt her more than she's already been hurt."

B'Elanna looked puzzled at the Captain and asked, "What did Ahaoe Muahe say to her?"

Janeway reached over to her console and typed in a few commands and turned the screen around so that B'Elanna could watch the first few minutes of Seven's 'interrogation'. Janeway stopped it before Muahe moved back over to cut off Seven's arm.

B'Elanna rubbed her forehead ridges absently and sighed, the petaQ had taunted Seven with the things her engineering crew had told his people. Suddenly she straightened and said furiously, "That Ha'DibaH! he told Seven that I had told him those things!" B'Elanna got up and started to pace angrily.

Janeway watched her pace for a few moments and said, "Tuvok's reports and the information we got from the Mularan's make it clear that you did no such thing Lt. I'll make sure that Seven understands that you never told Mularan Intelligence anything."

B'Elanna turned and looked at her and said in an angry tone, "But she's going to know where the information came from, and that's engineering which means me." B'Elanna slumped and said in a quiet tone, "How can I make this right?"

Janeway said "Try to be patient with her, figure out whether or not she means to be rude or not. B'Elanna she hides behind that Borg mask when she feels uncertain or threatened. You react with anger to situations you don't like; she reacts by acting like the perfect Borg. Try to take that into account when you are dealing with her. Try and look for what's behind the behavior instead of reacting to it."

B'Elanna bristled at the comparison but then frowned and nodded to the Captain. "If that's all Captain I need to go back to engineering. Let me know if there is any more news about Seven?"

Janeway nodded and said, "I'll forward the sensor readings to you, the Doctor said he might need your help to figure out some of the changes in Seven's physiology. She has a lot more metallic alloy in her physiology than she used to and the Doctor isn't at all certain why. Maybe you can tell something from the data, if we get better sensor readings I'll send them to you."

B'Elanna frowned and asked, "The Mularans are holding Seven somewhere? The way they reacted to her death I wouldn't have expected that."

Janeway gave her a grim smile and said, "No the Mularan's aren't but it appears that Mulara is. There is some type of force field around parts of the temple. If the Mularan mythology is correct we won't be allowed to retrieve Seven for several more days."

B'Elanna nodded, "That's why we diverted all available power to the sensors, and we still can't punch through the force field? Could you send me the information on the force field as well? Maybe I can figure out some way to get through it."

Janeway nodded, "Thank you for offering to help B'Elanna."

B'Elanna left the Ready Room and walked over to Harry Kim, "What do you have on this force field?"

Harry smiled at her and said, "Look at it, see that power reading. I've never seen a force field this strong and I've finally found what's powering it, I think. I'm getting readings indicating some type of quantum singularity inside the force field and I think that where the force field is getting its power. The interesting thing is that before we diverted power to the sensors we were picking up readings on Seven from inside the force field, and we shouldn't have been able to. Not with that strong of a force field, even now we shouldn't be able to get the level of detailed readings that we are."

Tom who was at the helm said, "I don't see why everyone is so worried about Seven, she always turns up ok. I'm sure we will get her back ok and she will be her charming Borg self."

B'Elanna rounded on Tom angrily saying, "I'd hardly call being beaten to death ok Tom, it's not like she's just going to be able to forget that. Nor will she forget that it was engineering that was so eager to talk to her torturer's intelligence people and that's my fault."

Tom gaped for a second and then laughed nervously, "Hey, don't get mad at me, I mean she's the one who says emotions are irrelevant. And it's not as if she hasn't caused all of her problems on this ship with her attitude. Besides, it's not like she's dead…"

B'Elanna growled at Tom, "Ghuy'cha' No one deserves to be tortured to death! And certainly not Seven... Not after all the times she's risked her life for us. Just shut up Tom before I really loose my temper!"

With that B'Elanna strode angrily from the Bridge leaving a surprised looking Tom Paris staring after her.

Chapter 3

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