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 5

After Seven bathed, ate, and drank again she immediately fell deeply asleep, it had been a very tiring day. Seven dreamed of waking up on the interrogation platform, she remembered the cruel words that Ahaoe Muahe had spoken to her. She remembered how she had thought they were true, that B'Elanna had told this man how much she hated the drone.

Now though she knew it was not true, seemingly suspended above the establishment where the agents had approached the Chief Engineer, Seven watched as the scene unfolded. B'Elanna was immediately suspicious of the Mularan who offered her drinks, then began asking questions about Voyager and had told him in no uncertain terms to leave her alone. A very few of the other members of the crew though had not been so suspicious and had accepted the offers of free drinks in exchange for news about Voyagers crew, and especially about Voyager's ex-Borg.

Seven experienced what occurred next in a state of remote detachedness, she knew that she had experienced terrible pain during the torture but what horrified her most was the unreasoning look of hatred on Muahe's face. She suddenly understood why hatred was an emotion to be avoided; it made one into something much worse than what one hated. Muahe had let his hatred for the Borg consume him to the point that, when he acted upon his hatred, he became a monster.

Seven watched as her own body was taken down from the interrogation platform. She followed as she was taken to the Arch of Judgment, and she knew what Mulara had seen when she scanned Seven. Resistant at first, Seven eventually accepted the conclusion Mulara had reached, she was not guilty of what she had done as a Borg. Guilt required the ability to choose between what was right and wrong, it required free will. Without the ability to choose one's actions guilt was irrelevant as Seven had once stated to B'Elanna.

Seven felt a gentle agreement that she could feel remorseful over what she had been forced to do, she could feel angry that she had been used in such a manner. She could even hate the Borg Queen for what she had forced Seven to do, but with Muahe's hate filled face fresh in her memory Seven understood only too well what a perilous emotion hatred could be.

Seven observed as Mulara's guardian was activated and moved to pick up her body and take it deeper into the temple where she was immersed in the healing tank as High Priestess Analea watched in wonder. Then the guardian healed her enough for her body to remain alive and reactivated her neural pathways. The healing tank gently removed all her Borg implants and replaced them with new implants specifically designed for her by Mulara.

Seven fell back asleep after the memories were finished and in the morning she awoke, slowly stretching and enjoying the feeling of the sheets against her skin. She had gotten into the habit of sleeping nude and discovered that she enjoyed the feel of soft sheets and bedding. Seven frowned as she recalled that she would have nowhere to sleep on Voyager and resolved to ask Analea if she could relay to Captain Janeway a request for quarters.

Seven sat up in the bed and thought back to what she had learned while she slept, she rubbed her left arm absently remembering how Muahe had severed it. Now looking at it she felt the remembered pain fade, everything she remembered had already happened, it could hurt her only if she allowed the memory of it too.

Seven tried to dismiss the memory of her torture as irrelevant but failed. Seven decided to comply with the desire she felt to walk around the garden for a while. She dressed in a leaf green blouse and pants and went out to wander the garden. Seven found the harmony and beauty of the garden comforting as she thought about what she had experienced before she died.

The garden reminded her that she was alive, and it dawned on her that her attacker had died several days ago by the ritual punishment of beheading. Seven wasn't sure how to react to the sudden realization, part of her was fiercely pleased that the one who had hurt her so badly was dead, part of her was relieved that she would never have to fear Muahe finding her again, and part of her sorrowed for what he had let himself become and his eventual fate. Such complex emotions were unfamiliar and particularly unpleasant decided Seven.

Seven wandered slowly back to her room and ate her morning juice and fruit. Curious, and wondering why it hadn't occurred to her before, Seven stuck a finger in a bead of juice on the glass interior and concentrated on analyzing it. Somewhat to her surprise she realized that the 'juice' was probably anything but fruit juice, unless Mularan had some fairly unusual fruits. The juice was composed of various proteins, complex sugars, and carbohydrates. No surprise there except for the high protein content, what was surprising were the presence of several different metallic elements, enough to probably kill a human of heavy metal poisoning. Several chemical's that were not usually considered 'food' were present as well.

Seven knew that she had suffered no ill effects from the 'juice' and thought about why the metallic elements and chemical might be present. It was only a second before she realized that the chemicals and metallic elements in the juice were precursors for the metallic alloys and chemicals used in her exoskeleton and in the fibers that ran through her body.

Seven picked up one of the red skinned fruit and bit into it and then laid an inquisitive finger against the blue flesh of the fruit to analyze it as well. Her exoskeleton detected more proteins, complex sugar molecules, and several minerals and vitamins. Seven raised her ocular implant pattern at this finding and she quickly grabbed one of the green skinned fruits to test as well. The green skinned fruit was much higher in carbohydrates than the red skinned one, but otherwise they were very similar.

Seven drained the rest of the juice and considered the empty glass; obviously the juice was required for her non-organic systems. Idly she thought that the Doctor was going to find the composition of it interesting, and then with an audible groan she realized how interesting the Doctor was going to find her, she would never escape from Sickbay. Seven finished off both fruits and wondered if she would see either Analea or Kayaln this morning. Seven waited twenty minutes after eating then, when neither of the women appeared, decided to proceed with her schedule for the day and picked up the padd with her exercise protocol. This morning she would be exercising in her enhanced state, and Seven was looking forward to the experience.

Seven noted she was supposed to use something called a resistance belt while she was exercising today and wondered where she would find the item. A golden shimmer at the edge of her vision caught her eye and she turned and looked at her bed. A thick black belt now rested upon it and Seven walked over to the bed and picked it up in order to examine it. The belt was three inches wide and about an inch thick, the back was covered by a soft cushion and the front was covered in a protective black acrylic except for a few buttons on the side that activated it. Seven wished for a moment that she had a tricorder so she could examine the belt closer and determine exactly how it operated.

According to the padd the belt would generate a field that would provide resistance to her movements, allowing her to exercise in her enhanced state without having to perform any more repetitions of an exercise than she would in her normal state. Seven put the belt about her waist and went out into the garden to find a good place to complete today's exercise protocol.

Janeway sat at her desk in her Ready Room reviewing the reports from Voyager's different departments. The Mularan government had been very apologetic about Seven's death and had been very generous when trading with Voyager for supplies. Indeed, Janeway had come to the conclusion that the Mularan government was actually giving them too much dilithium and had firmly informed Huiah Mlaer that no more was needed. Janeway didn't want them depleting their reserves for Voyager at the expense of their own ships.

Lt. Torres had Engineering working around the clock making repairs to Voyager's external hull. Knowing that Voyager would be at the space station for at least another week the Chief Engineer had felt comfortable in requesting that they take full advantage of the extra time to make more extensive repairs. Lt. Torres had even requested that they implement some of Seven's suggested upgrades to the ESP Systems while they were in space dock, they had not been seriously considered before because they required taking shields and weapons systems offline while they were upgraded. Janeway had authorized taking the systems down and the upgrades were due to be completed today.

The admittance chime sounded at that moment and Janeway said "Come in," looking over to see who wanted to see her.

Chakotay entered the room, "High Priestess Analea would like to bring some items onboard for Seven's quarters. She also mentioned that she would like to talk to the Doctor and anyone else usually involved in Seven's care and let them know about the changes in Seven's physiology."

Janeway looked surprised for a moment and then thoughtful, "Do you think this means that they will be releasing Seven soon?"

Chakotay said, "I would say so, if they are bringing things for Seven's quarters and briefing us about what we need to know for Seven's health. I would think they are planning on releasing Seven fairly soon. Perhaps the High Priestess will let us know when today."

Janeway replied, "I think so too, tell the High Priestess that she can come up as soon as she is ready. Let me know when she is ready to be transported up, you and I will meet her as will Tuvok, I want him to do as unobtrusive a scan of what the High Priestess is bringing aboard as possible. I don't want to offend her but I need to make sure they aren't transporting anything aboard that isn't permitted."

Chakotay nodded, "Understood, I will let him know. I'll let the High Priestess know that she can come up as soon as she is ready to as well." Chakotay waited for Kathryn's answering nod before she turned back to her reports and then turned and exited the Ready Room.

An hour later Chakotay contacted Janeway on her combadge, "High Priestess Analea is ready to come aboard. We transported up the items for Seven first and Tuvok is going over them right now. They sent up clothes, some pictures, a Bat'leth and some data padds. Tuvok wants to examine the data padds further; it looks as if they are sending up replicator patterns and holodeck programs."

Janeway raised an eyebrow at hearing holodeck programs, "Interesting, especially since they don't have holographic technology that I'm aware of. I'll be right there Commander." Janeway tapped her combadge again to close the channel and exited her Ready Room to head toward the Transporter room on Deck 4.

Janeway arrived at the Transporter room a few minutes later and nodded to Chakotay and Tuvok, then looked at the transporter operator and said, "As soon as the High Priestess is ready beam her aboard Ensign."

A few moments later the form of High Priestess Analea appeared on one of the transporter pad with a short stack of data padd's in her hand. "Good morning Captain, Commander and this must be your Security Chief, Lt. Commander Tuvok," she said as she stepped off the transporter pad she smiled at the people awaiting her.

The two men returned the pleasantries and Janeway said, "Good morning High Priestess Analea, I understand you have a few things you brought up for Seven's quarters." Janeway glanced at the two containers that had been transported up earlier and said, "Site to site transport authorized to Seven's quarters, Ensign." As the two containers disappeared Janeway looked at the data padds Analea carried and asked, "Those have the information about Seven's physiological changes that you need to go over with us?"

"Yes, they do. What time did you want me to discuss them with your Doctor?" Analea asked.

Janeway looked at the chronometer and said, "Which did you want to do first? Unpack the items you sent for Seven's quarters or brief my staff?"

Analea looked surprised, "Staff? I didn't know so many people were involved in Seven's medical support."

Janeway replied with a small smile, "I would have to have the Doctor repeat everything to them if you only briefed him. I would like for Commander Chakotay, Lt. Commander Tuvok and Lt. Torres to attend the briefing in addition to the Doctor."

Analea nodded, then said, "It should not take me long to unpack the items for Seven if there is a way to display the pictures and her Bat'leth easily. I would prefer to do that first then meet with your…staff."

Janeway knew she really didn't have the time to help the High Priestess unpack but she was intensely curious about what the Mularan woman had brought so she said, "Certainly if you will follow me I will show you where Seven's quarters are located. I understand you brought some replicator patterns and holodeck programs along as well?" Janeway asked determined to find out how if there had been a violation of the Prime Directive.

Analea answered, "Yes, Mulara made those for Seven. I understand the replicator patterns are for the liquid supplement that she drinks, and for the Pujaa and Quara fruits that she has been eating. I don't really know much about the holodeck programs, I gathered from Mulara that you have some technology that allows you to make a room look like other places. The program Mulara showed me was one to make the room look like the inner temple gardens. I don't know what the other programs are of, except that they are exercise programs."

"The inner temple gardens? Perhaps before you go you can show me around those in the holodeck, I would like to see where Seven is recovering." Janeway turned to Chakotay, "Commander would you contact Lt. Torres and the Doctor and let them know of the briefing, and you have the bridge while Tuvok and I show High Priestess Analea to Seven's quarters."

Chakotay's lips twitched and his eyes laughed at Janeway but he only said, "Of course Captain," and turned to leave for the Bridge.

Janeway knew the Commander was laughing at her curiosity, he knew she hadn't finished with the departmental reports yet. "This way High Priestess Analea," said Janeway. She waited for the woman to follow her then headed for the turbolift for Deck 9.

The three of them made their way to the quarters that had been assigned to Seven of Nine. As the door opened they walked into a large open room, a table was placed immediately to the left. The room was rectangular with openings on either side that lead to the bedroom on the left and to the bathroom on the right. A sofa in a blue-grey fabric was placed against the wall farthest away from the door, in front of it was a nondescript grey coffee table. Another couch and chair were placed next to it on the right hand wall. The walls of the quarters were the usual metallic grey of the rest of the starship.

High Priestess Analea examined the room and winced at the monochromatic nature of it. "Can the lights in this room duplicate natural sunlight?" she asked.

"No, that takes hydroponic lights," said Janeway. "I can have engineering install some if they are needed." Puzzlement was obvious in her voice.

Analea said, "Yes she will need an area where she can absorb natural light at least a few hours each week for maximum health. Her exoskeleton is designed to use thermal and light energy as part of her energy sources. Perhaps around the bed or the couch area?" proposed Analea.

Janeway took another look at the room trying to decide which area would be better and replied, "The bed would probably be the easiest, a set of ceiling lights should be sufficient. I'll get engineering to fix it later today."

Analea walked over to the two containers and opened one of them revealing several paintings. Janeway walked over to look at them and was amazed; they ranged from scenic landscapes, studies of flowers, and impressionistic compositions of various complex shapes. One of which, she realized with surprise, was an impressionistic drawing of the stable Omega molecule. This was the first painting that High Priestess Analea picked up and she walked to the far wall and looked at Janeway inquiringly, "How do I hang these?"

Janeway walked over to her and examined the back of the painting and then walked over to the replicator and replicated the proper hanger. A metallic clamp would affix it to the wall. She took the painting from Analea and attached the hanger then with a raised eyebrow asked, "Where did you want to place it?" She lifted it above the couch and looked at Analea.

Analea smiled and said, "That's where I was thinking of placing it." They both stepped back and examined the placement, the painting was rather large and its cool whites and blues added a touch of light to the wall. Analea pulled out two other paintings, this time smaller ones of flowers and said, "I was thinking of placing these on either side of the bed."

Placement of the paintings continued while Tuvok busied himself with examining the replicator and holodeck programs with the occasional raised eyebrow at the two women as they discussed the best placement of the paintings Analea had brought. Finally finished, the two women stood back and examined the effect. The art completely changed the tone of the room, altering the impression of monochromatic emptiness, to one much more welcoming and colorful.

Next Analea carefully unwrapped the silver poly-deutonic Bat'leth, Janeway came over and examined the weapon, admiring the workmanship. Tuvok came over as well and together, the three of them appraised the Bat'leth. Light shimmered along its surface, revealing that the blade was composed of many layers of metal, giving the metal of the blade a watered effect similar to old Earth Damascus steel. The outline of the Bat'leth was different from modern Bat'leth blades, the tiq and van at the ends of the main blade were more flared than the typical Bat'leth. Inscribed onto the length of the blade, one word under each grip, were the Klingon words for Duty, Loyalty, and Honor. Qu', matlh, and batlh.

"Beautiful," commented Janeway. "But why give Seven a Bat'leth?"

"Seven will need to exercise to maintain her enhanced strength and agility, unarmed combat and weapons training is part of the exercise program that was developed for her. She chose the Bat'leth as the weapon she wanted to learn," said Analea.

Janeway tilted her head to the side as she considered Analea's words and said, "I'm starting to really get curious about the briefing you will be doing. Let me replicate a hanger for this."

They choose to place the Bat'leth on the wall to the right side of the door; finally all that was left to unpack were the clothes that Analea had brought up with her. As they unpacked the clothing Janeway asked, "Why bring clothing instead of replicator patterns?"

"Power cost," replied Analea, "This material is somewhat like the biosuits Seven used to wear. Like them these are designed to work with Seven's implants, they are also designed to work with Seven's new exoskeleton. They are threaded with poly-deutonic and tritanium fibers which not only provide protection but also work with Seven's systems to maintain her body temperature and allow her to sense different environmental information. It will all be clearer after I explain some of the things her exoskeleton can sense and analyze."

They unpacked blouses and pants like those Seven had been wearing, they also unpacked blue science Starfleet uniforms. Janeway looked in surprise at them and Analea asked, "This is the proper uniform that Seven should wear?"

Janeway nodded, "The Doctor designed her outfits, I never thought about having him make ones that looked like Starfleet uniforms. Perhaps it might have helped her fit in better, I assume that she will be wearing these while on duty?"

"I would suggest it, for the reason that you mentioned. It will help her fit in with the rest of the crew, especially since she is the Chief of Astrometics," answered Analea.

Tuvok spoke up at that moment, "I would like the Doctor to go over these replicator patterns. I see nothing wrong with the two fruit patterns but the liquid supplement would appear to be deadly to most humanoids. The amount of metallic and chemical elements would appear to be poisonous."

Analea nodded, "To us yes it would be poisonous, but not to Seven. She needs those elements; they are the precursor molecules for the fibers that support her nervous and muscular systems."

Janeway looked at the now empty containers and the time and said, "I believe that we are done here? It's about time for the briefing."

Analea took one last satisfied look around the quarters and nodded to Janeway. "Lead on," she said.

Janeway smiled and lead the way back to the turbolift, "Briefing Room," she said. When the doors opened Janeway lead the way to the Briefing room and took the seat at the narrow end of the table and indicated to Analea that she should take the seat on her immediate left. The rest of the senior officers filed into the room within a few moments and settled themselves. Janeway said, "You already know everyone here except for the Doctor and Lt. Torres my Chief Engineer."

The Doctor said, "I understand you have information on Seven's medical condition?"

Janeway frowned at the Doctor slightly but Analea merely handed the hologram one of the data padds she was carrying. "All of these contain the same information; I only brought three though so you will have to share." With that statement Analea handed Janeway the other two remaining padds, leaving it up to her to decide who received the third one. Janeway handed the extra padd to Lt. Torres and then looked expectantly back at the High Priestess.

Analea said, "I am not an expert in engineering or chemistry so you will probably understand more of the data contained on those padds than I do. I was present when the guardian brought Seven's body into the inner temple and placed it in one of the healing tanks. I assisted the guardian by inserting the breathing tube and mask and then the guardian brought Seven back to life. She was still severely damaged though; her cortical node had been damaged by phaser attacks to her head prior to the torture. Her abdominal implant was severely damaged by Muahe's attack. Over the next six hours I watched as her Borg implants dissolved away and her body healed. Six hours after that her new implants and exoskeleton started appearing."

Analea paused for a moment to see if anyone had any questions but they were all silent and obviously waiting for her to continue, "Mulara moved her to the reborn's room off the inner temple gardens the next day. I understand she woke briefly the day she was moved but did not stay awake for long. The third day Mulara removed her from the healing tank, I know she woke that day and walked around the garden for a short time but we were not permitted to see her. On the fourth day she had regained enough of her memory to know who she was and remember everything leading up to her kidnapping. This morning I was informed that she remembered everything leading up to her death. She is dealing with the information very well, I understand that she walked in the garden some and then began her exercises for today or her exercise protocol as she calls it."

The Doctor asked, "Do you know why it took her so long to regain her complete memory?"

"I believe it was a combination of the damage done to her cortical node before her torture, then the removal of all her Borg implants and the need to fully adapt to her new implants," said Analea.

The Doctor nodded, "Do you know how many more days you will keep her before releasing her?"

Analea answered, "Three more days, she's still needs training on how to use her new muscular and nervous system enhancements. We want to make certain that she can safely use them without injuring herself or others."

B'Elanna said, "Your talking about these metallic-organic fibers that are incorporated into her muscles aren't you?"

"Yes, and the fibers that assist her nervous system," said Analea.

B'Elanna frowned at her data padd and said, "This would be easier to understand if I could program it into a holoemitter, I'm not a molecular biochemist. Doc these descriptions of Seven's support structure…is it saying that the support rods expand and contract?"

The Doctor replied, "Yes, using almost the same mechanics as your ligaments and muscles. I could create a hologram of this information within a few minutes down in Sickbay. Commander Chakotay and Lt. Commander Tuvok would then be able to see the data as well then."

Janeway looked at him and then over at the High Priestess who nodded and said, "That would be very helpful."

Janeway nodded to the Doctor and said, "We will meet you down in Sickbay then Doctor."

A few minutes later the five of them walked into Sickbay, the Doctor was in his office and as they entered the area and arranged themselves around his desk a hologram appeared of Seven's exoskeleton and support structures. They all looked at the hologram for a few minutes then B'Elanna said, "Can you take out all the fiber systems for now?"

The Doctor made a few adjustments and the haze that had obscured the rod support structure disappeared, giving everyone a clear view of Seven's new exoskeleton and the skeletal support structure.

Janeway said, "What's the metal that's covering her skeletal structure?" As she looked at the silver representation of Seven's skeleton.

Analea replied, "A tritanium-poly-deutonic alloy matrixed with an organic, I don't know the name of the organic, sorry. But I do know that it's tagged with Seven's own immune markers so that her body will not attempt to reject it."

B'Elanna asked, "Doctor can you get the hologram to bend and move, I want to see how those support rods react to movement."

The Doctor nodded and made a few adjustments and they all watched as the exoskeleton support structure reacted to the simulated movement. A side projection showed a greatly magnified section of the rod, detailing at a molecular level the specifics of how they were expanding and contracting.

B'Elanna examined the exoskeleton and rods with a practiced eye, admiring the aesthetics and functionality of it. "Look at how these rods are arranged to dissipate force by dividing it along several rods instead of just one. It reminds me of Voyagers hull reinforcements."

Janeway nodded, "Yes it does. Oh, before I forget, B'Elanna engineering needs to put in hydroponics lights over Seven's bed. Now, I would like to see how this exoskeleton transforms light and thermal energy into a form Seven can use."

The Doctor nodded and the expanded view of the rod disappeared to be replaced by a magnified cutout of the exoskeleton. "It's rather ingenious actually," the Doctor said with a smile for Analea, "These fibers extending through the exoskeleton contain molecules that react to photonic and thermal energy. Then the energy is transferred to produce Adenosine Triphosphate or ATP, which of course is the molecule the body uses to supply energy to our cells. The exoskeleton system is very similar to the method plants utilize to process photonic energy. Next the ATP molecules are transferred to these specialized nanoprobes, which then travel through the bloodstream and migrate into the cells where they remain until the body's own ATP has been exhausted. Then they release their ATP into the cell and return to the exoskeleton to be replenished."

Analea nodded, "That's correct, the exoskeleton can also excrete a complex enzymatic and acidic liquid that can break down most inorganic into molecules that can either be absorbed if they can be used by her body or molecules that can be broken to produce energy. It can also recombine molecules to produce more energy or to produce useful molecules. The energy produced is then transferred in the same way that light and thermal energy."

Janeway looked amazed, "Chemical fission and fusion reactions? Federation science hasn't really done much with either since it's easier to produce energy by other means. The complexity of the chemical reactions required though…" Janeway shook her head, "All of this takes place in the exoskeleton? I don't see how…"

Analea replied, "Oh no, the exoskeleton only breaks down the molecules so far, then they are transported by nanoprobes to the bio-implants that are connected to her stomach and intestines. The exoskeleton doesn't have the ability to break down the molecules further. Only these bio-implants have the ability to break and recombine molecules. If the Doctor would bring up just the digestive tract data?"

The Doctor made a few more entries and everything cleared away except for what were obviously the modifications to Seven's digestive tract. To everyone's surprise the modifications extended almost the entire length of Seven's digestive tract, from her mouth through to her lower intestines.

"As you can see Seven's mouth and esophagus are protected by an artificial epithelial layer, this ensures that metallic and chemical compounds that would damage her tissues are not absorbed until they reach the stomach. Once they arrive at the stomach they can be broken down for use by the body. Any toxic elements that are left over are neutralized and can be safely expelled through her urinary tract." Analea explained.

"What is this?" asked Tuvok indicating what appeared to be linkages between Seven's mouth and nasal passages and her brain and cortical node.

Analea answered, "She has conscious control over how sensitive her sense of taste and smell are she can modify either or both to be very sensitive or conversely rather insensitive depending on the situation."

"Lucky her," replied B'Elanna dryly, thinking of some of Neelix's cooking. Analea's eyes danced and B'Elanna wondered if Seven had said something about the spicy food the Talaxian cook frequently served.

"Redundant cortical nodes," muttered the Doctor and everyone but Analea stared at him curiously. He tapped his console and suddenly the digestive system information disappeared to be replaced by what was obviously Seven's nervous system. "Redundant cortical nodes in the chest cavity and legs, can she use them concurrently with the main cortical node?"

"Yes, she has not learned how to do so yet, but she has that ability," replied Analea. "As you can see every part of her nervous system is augmented by fibers that can transmit nerve impulses much faster than her organic systems. Her exoskeleton is also connected to her nervous system and can detect a large amount of environmental information. The exoskeleton also contains thermal and pressure sensors exactly as her organic skin does and feeds into the same area of the brain. The amount of tactile sensitivity she feels is under her conscious control."

They were all silent for a few moments studying the data they had been given, "Anyone have more questions right now?" prodded Janeway.

"Oh, she used to have an ocular implant. It was visible and I see the exterior part has been replaced by exoskeleton. But the ocular implant doesn't appear to have been replaced; if I understand this correctly she now has two organic eyes. But there appear to be several of the nervous system fibers directly interacting with her eyesight and the cortical node," said the Doctor.

Analea answered, "I don't believe that part of her nervous system is completely finished. From my understanding she will eventually regain a lot of the functionality of her ocular implant, for now though she just has enhanced visual acuity. A lot of that will depend on what she consciously chooses, I believe that's one of the area's that Seven will have control over how it evolves."

Janeway looked around the room again, the Doctor and B'Elanna were still studying their padd's, but looked more thoughtful than confused. "If that's all I for one would like to see the holodeck program High Priestess Analea brought along of the inner temple gardens. Provide of course that my Security Chief agrees?"

Tuvok said, "I see nothing wrong with the program, I too would appreciate seeing where Seven is staying." Tuvok paused and then handed the Doctor the replicator pattern padd and said, "I would like for you to go over these replicator patterns as well, as soon as you clear them they can be added to Seven's replicator in her quarters."

The Doctor nodded to Tuvok and said, "I'll go over these today, in the meantime I would like to examine this data further."

B'Elanna said, "I'll pass for now, I'd rather go over this data with the Doctor. Will the program be public so I can see it later?"

Analea replied, "All of the programs I brought were designed for Seven, but they can also be used by others. I see no problem with making them public."

Janeway, Chakotay, Tuvok and High Priestess Analea left for one of the holodecks, leaving the Doctor and B'Elanna engrossed in the data the High Priestess had brought.

Chapter 6

Seven finished with the day's exercise protocol, the resistance belt had functioned perfectly. Even when she had used her full strength the belt had provided enough resistance that every repetition of an exercise had been difficult to complete. Now feeling drained and tired, Seven wanted nothing more than something to eat and drink, as well as rest, to regain her energy.

Seven walked back to her room and helped herself to the juice and fruit available there, then she laid down on her bed and dozed lightly. She wasn't feeling particularly sleepy so she didn't actually fall asleep; instead she ran over her Bat'leth moves in her head as she waited for her energy levels to return to normal.

After an hour had passed Seven felt refreshed and she sat up, wondering when Kayaln or Analea would arrive today. As she gazed out into the garden she saw Kayaln approaching along the path. Seven swung her feet off the bed and stood up, eagerly exiting her room and going to meet the woman.

Kayaln smiled at Seven and asked, "Anticipating your first Bat'leth lesson are you?"

Seven quirked her lips slightly, "Yes, I am also curious to find out how I will be trained."

"As a matter of fact, so am I," said Kayaln, "why don't we head over to the training area and find out who awaits us."

"Mulara gave you no indication?" asked Seven curiously.

Kayaln replied, "Not this time, but then Mulara likes to surprise people. I suspect this will be one of those times."

As they spoke the two women walked toward the training area, when they approached the pavilion they saw a tall form awaiting them. As they got closer it was clear that the form belonged to what appeared to be a Klingon woman. A weapons rack holding three Bat'leth's was also a new addition to the pavilion area.

The two women approached the Klingon who stood with her arms at her side giving them both an intelligent penetrating look as they approached. Her gaze rested longest on Seven of Nine who straightened under her regard as they paused in front of the woman. "I am M'ara," said the Klingon woman, "I understand you think you are worthy of learning how to fight with the Bat'leth."

Seven was uncertain how to respond to the Klingon, it sounded as if the woman was challenging her to prove that she was worthy. Finally she chose a cautious answer. "I desire to learn how to fight with the Bat'leth."

"Desire!" laughed the Klingon woman, "You can desire many things, I am speaking of honor. Why should I teach you how to fight with Kathless's Sword, why are you worthy of learning? You are not even Klingon, why don't you choose to learn how to fight with a sword or axe?"

"I want to learn how to fight with the Bat'leth, not the sword or axe. If you did not want to teach me how to use the Bat'leth, then it should not have been one of the weapons that you taught me while I slept," said Seven with a decidedly arrogant tone, not backing down an inch from the Klingon woman.

Kayaln had to resist chuckling over the scene. The ex-Borg was certainly not lacking in courage, or maybe foolhardiness in this case, considering who she probably was confronting.

"Well you certainly are not lacking in courage. But what of honor?" said M'ara.

"jInepbe', jItojbe', jIHoS, wanI'mey vIqaSmoHbogh vIlaj, batIh jIvang," growled Seven.

"MajQa'!" laughed M'ara. "Let us begin then with your kata's then." M'ara indicated the weapons rack and waited for Seven to select a Bat'leth.

Seven paused for only a second, then walked over and chose the uppermost Bat'leth. Carefully holding it under her arm she walked over to a spot several feet away from M'ara and began her kata's.

In a few moments M'ara said in disgust, "Stop! You are not chopping down trees. If you want to chop down things take up the axe. The movement of the Bat'leth should always be fluid, it should never stop. The end of one motion should flow into the beginning of the next. Begin again."

Seven glanced for a moment at Kayaln recognizing that she needed to move with the Bat'leth the same way as she had learned the day before in unarmed training. Taking a breath she paused for a moment to think of the Omega molecule then began the first Bat'leth kata again.

M'ara watched her for a few minutes nodding to herself then asked, "Can you clearly visualize the moves by your opponent that you are countering?"

Seven considered the question for a moment then shook her head, "No I cannot."

M'ara nodded looking satisfied, "I thought that might be the problem." She turned and picked up a Bat'leth and walked over across from Seven. "Begin the first kata again; I will demonstrate the opponent's moves."

Seven began the first kata again, and M'ara moved with her, gracefully and powerfully demonstrating the counter moves. The two of them worked through the afternoon, until they had completed the final kata.

"Well done," complimented M'ara after they had finished, "Meet with me again tomorrow after you have completed your exercises and we will continue your training."

With that statement the Klingon woman walked over to the weapon rack and hung her Bat'leth upon it, she then disappeared in a golden shimmer of light.

Seven raised her ocular implant at this and turned to Kayaln and stated, "My Bat'leth training appears to be completed for today. Did you want to continue my unarmed training at this time?"

Kayaln smiled, "Lets get a bite of something to eat and drink first. I also want to go over a few things with you before we begin your training. More body language information," Kayaln clarified seeing Seven's questioning look as they began walking back to Seven's room.

Seven looked pensive for a moment, "Kayaln would you relay a request to Voyager for me?"

"Quarters," guessed Kayaln with a smile.

Seven was surprised, "Yes, a request for quarters. I do not need to regenerate anymore. I will need a place to sleep… the thought of sleeping in the Cargo Bay is…unpleasant."

"You need your privacy Seven, it's something you have the right to. You should have been given quarters already…at least that's my and Analea's point of view. In any case, the request has already been made and accepted, you have quarters on Deck 12 waiting for you. Analea requested that quarters be assigned to you during her first trip to Voyager," said Kayaln.

Seven replied, "Thank you," and graced Kayaln with one of her rare smiles.

"Your welcome," replied Kayaln looking at Seven and watching the minute play of emotions that were running across her face. Kayaln realized that Seven was experiencing several different emotions at the thought of having her own quarters. "It's quite a change isn't it," she stated.

Seven nodded thoughtfully, "I will adapt."

B'Elanna sat in the mess hall slowly eating her dinner and studying the information High Priestess Analea had given them about Seven. B'Elanna and the Doctor had thoroughly went over the information earlier in the day. Now B'Elanna was going over how the bio-implants generated energy using chemical fission and fusion reactions. She had a second padd that she was entering notes into; her mind was germinating the idea for a chemical reactor for Voyager's use based upon Seven's bio-implants.

The Federation had not deeply researched chemical fusion and fission due to the fact that other energy sources were available that were far simpler to use. In the Delta Quadrant, however, resources such as dilithium, were far more scarce and difficult for Voyager to obtain. Seven's new bio-implants were very sophisticated, and the matter to energy conversion rate was very efficient. It wasn't as efficient as the warp engines matter anti-matter energy conversion but any type of matter that didn't produce dangerous waste products would work as fuel. The trick would be to replace the end product, adenosine triphosphate, with something that was compatible with the existing plasma grid.

The seating of Tom Parris and Harry Kim across from her drew her attention from her reading. "Those the technical specifications for Seven," smirked Tom. Harry frowned slightly at his friend, he had never been happy with the way Paris spoke of Seven.

B'Elanna frowned, "What do you mean by that, Paris."

Tom rolled his eyes and said, "What's up with you, you're the one who always called her a machine. Now she's even more of one."

"And I was wrong," replied B'Elanna shortly.

"Hey, just because your feeling guilty doesn't mean your were wrong. She does act like a machine, all efficiency and little emotion. As you've said, the perfect Borg Ice Princess," replied Tom trying to needle B'Elanna. After all he wasn't the one who had made up most of the nicknames for Seven, where did B'Elanna get this self-righteous attitude from all of a sudden.

B'Elanna grimaced at the reminder of one of the derogatory terms she had made up for Seven, "Why would she want to show us whether or not she was hurt by what we said? I wouldn't if I were her. Did you know she can hear even better than I can? She could before she died," B'Elanna tapped the data padd Analea had brought. "This information makes it clear that the new implants provide the same auditory sensitivity as the Borg implants did. I doubt that there was much that was said in whispers around her that she didn't hear. Somewhat like I hear everything that's said about me." B'Elanna finished with an angry look at Tom.

"I've never said anything about you B'Elanna," protested Tom.

Harry had been silent throughout the exchange but now he spoke up, "But you've said several things about Seven. And most of them were when she was near. What B'Elanna's saying is; why would Seven want to trust you enough to show her emotions, you treat her like a friend to her face but you talk about her behind her back."

Tom turned to Harry with a betrayed expression on his face, "What's this, the defend Seven club?"

B'Elanna stood up with her tray, "I treated her dishonorably, I won't allow you to sway me into doing so again, Tom. If you want to remain friends you'll change your attitude." With that she turned and left a gaping Tom Paris and a pleased Harry Kim sitting at the table.

Kayaln finished off her piece of fruit and looked thoughtfully at Seven, unsure of where to begin. A raised ocular implant caused her to grin at the blond woman. "Ok, body language lesson part 2," said Kayaln. "Ah…what did I leave out last time." Kayaln paced around the room some trying to order her thoughts. "Oh, don't imitate male body language. Men generally have a different way of holding themselves than women." Kayaln paced some more thinking, Seven watched while she helped herself to another green skinned fruit. "Don't be too obvious about watching people if you can help it, it makes people uncomfortable if they think you are analyzing them. And yes I know you are examining them Seven, just try to be discrete about it."

Kayaln paused a moment then continued, "Everyone's body language will be to some extent uniquely their own. Most people learn their body language while they are still children. Thus, they learn it mostly from their family, peers and teachers. Your Chief Engineer for example will probably have a unique body language; she would have learned Klingon mannerisms from her mother and human ones from her peers. You will have to develop your own body language; a personal 'accent' might be an accurate term. It will probably be a blend of what you see others doing on Voyager."

Kayaln looked inquisitively toward Seven and asked, "Do you have any questions? Any thing you used to do that caused a reaction that didn't make sense to you?"

Seven considered the question and said, "Yes, I was constantly asked to sit when others sat. Due to my abdominal implant sitting was not comfortable, therefore I would decline the request. It seemed to frequently cause an antagonistic response; at the time I could see no reason why whether I sat or stood should cause such a reaction, so I decided such reactions were examples of human irrationality and thus irrelevant. I wonder now if I was unknowingly saying something in this 'body language' that caused the antagonism."

Kayaln nodded, "You were, there are two ways that your refusal to sit would be usually interpreted. The first would be that you were intending to be rude, the second that you were stating that you were of higher social rank than the person inviting you to sit. Sometimes it is interpreted as both."

Seven looked pensively out the window, "I did not mean to imply either of those, it was merely uncomfortable for me to sit." A flash of anger crossed Seven's face and she said in a tight voice, "It would have been more efficient if I had known of this 'body language' sooner. I have offended several members of the crew, it is not surprising that they dislike me and call me Ice Princess and Borg Queen."

Kayaln put a comforting hand on Seven's arm attracting her attention and said softly, "Seven I think you will find that your death and the finding at the Arch of Judgment has caused several of you fellow crewmembers to reevaluate who they thought you were. Many of them have decided that they judged you unfairly, what they though was arrogance was actually unfamiliarity with human customs. I think you will find that several people are willing to 'start over'. If you try your best to adapt to your Collective I think you will find that you will develop several new friends."

"Now about whether or not its appropriate to sit or stand. You should sit if you are invited to do so; if you are not invited to sit then you should remain standing. Both of these actions show respect for the other person. If you are in your office or quarters and someone comes in it is polite to offer them a seat. Unless of course the amount of time you are planning on speaking to them is less than a few minutes. If you plan on talking to them for say over five minutes and you don't invite them to sit then you are usually implying that you are displeased with them. Your Captain when she is disciplining someone probably does not invite them to sit, though she may sit herself," Kayaln paused with a questioning look at Seven.

Seven said, "Sometimes when she is angry with me she invites me to sit, sometimes she does not."

Kayaln nodded thinking, "The times when she's asked you to sit, has she been angry over professional issues or more personal issues."

Seven considered the question trying to decipher the difference between what Kayaln would consider professional and personal. Finally she said, "Personal."

Kayaln said, "That's the difference then, its fairly standard in military organizations to have a person whose being disciplined have to remain standing until their superior is finished chastising them." Kayaln sighed, "Most of this will just take time to learn. One final thing about sitting and standing, if you are not being disciplined and you wish to sit but have not been invited to simply ask politely if you may take a seat. Sometimes people simply forget, and in your case they may have grown so use to you standing that they don't make the offer anymore."

A silence ensued while both though over what had been said, finally Kayaln asked, "Any other questions?"

Seven looked thoughtful for a few seconds, "I can think of no other questions at this time."

Kayaln smiled, "Well we have three more days counting today before you are released back to Voyager. If you think of any between now and then just ask either I or Analea."

Seven looked sharply at Kayaln, "Three days until I return to Voyager…" Seven wasn't entirely sure what to feel about her return. She missed Astrometrics, the challenges that she faced almost every day on Voyager. She missed the times when she and Lt. Torres were discussing new engineering ideas or working against time to solve a problem. She even missed their arguments; there was something so open about her emotions that fascinated Seven. The Chief Engineer showed what emotion she was currently feeling so clearly, Seven found herself sometimes behaving irrationally by intentionally doing things she knew would elicit strong emotions from the woman.

Yet she valued the peacefulness she was experiencing in the inner temple, she enjoying talking to Analea and Kayaln, their calm thorough explanations. The way they never seemed to get angry or irritated when she did something that was incorrect. She was also enjoying her training more than she anticipated, the movements of the unarmed combat, the feel of the Bat'leth in her hands. She was used to extending and exercising her brain, not her body, and the feel of extending her physical strength and agility to her limits was more satisfying than she had imagined.

"How will I continue my training when I return to Voyager?" Seven asked.

Kayaln said, "Mulara has already prepared several holodeck programs for you to use, you don't have to worry about ending your training. I think you will find the programs quite satisfactory."

Seven tilted her head slightly surprised by the information, "I am sure they will be sufficient."

Kayaln smiled, "I have no doubt they will be. Now what about some unarmed lessons?"

Seven's remaining days went by quickly, she did her exercise program in the morning, stopped for a quick lunch then went to Bat'leth training. In the afternoon was unarmed training, then dinner. After dinner Kayaln gave her various lessons.

The first night Kayaln brought a strange device that looked somewhat like a wind chime, a metallic wire frame supported several hanging four inch squares of some type of whitish metal. Kayaln grinned at her as she brought it in and hung it up and then tapped one of the squares. Seven watched as the square changed color from white to blue before it faded again.

"Pressure sensitive coating," said Kayaln, "Its set for you to practice controlling your enhanced state strength. Its set for humanoids, blue means you haven't damaged the skin, red means that you have either bruised or broken the skin. If you change this setting," Kayaln showed her a small input area at the top of the structure, "You can change it to combat conditions, at that setting red means that you have used excessive force and probably broken a bone or severely injured your opponent. I want you to practice with both settings each day; its yours, so take it with you to Voyager. If you need to use your enhanced state to rescue someone you don't want to accidentally hurt them while doing so. If you are subduing someone that is hostile then you don't want to accidentally kill them, I think your Captain and Security Officer would rather they were alive."

Seven nodded, she did not necessarily agree that hostile boarding parties should be captured alive but she knew it was preferred by Janeway and Tuvok. "How do I utilize this device?" asked Seven.

"Touch each square as quickly as you can without turning it red, each time you practice change a variable. Stand close to it, stand far away, or change your angle. Its meant to teach you to gauge the speed and force with which you interact with an object," explained Kayaln. "Try it out," she encouraged.

Trying to touch the various squares that seemed to move most erratically without turning them red proved to be more difficult than Seven had anticipated at first. She finally had to slow down her movements and pay close attention to how hard she touched each square before she managed to touch all of them without turning them red.

The next night Kayaln told her about one of the holodeck exercise programs that Mulara had sent to Voyager. The program could replicate several different landscapes, mountainous, forested, scrub covered flatland, and swampy terrain were some of the choices. The program could be run alone or with up to four others. If a group played they could either cooperate, form two teams, or play against each other. The goal of the program was to start out without any weapons or supplies and make ones way through various guards and obstacles to the mission objective. You could choose to disable or kill the guards and take their supplies or choose to try and get by them without being detected.

Kayaln told Seven that she thought it would be a good way for her to interact with the others in the crew. She pointed out that Janeway, Chakotay, Tuvok and Lt. Torres would likely be highly interested in playing through the program with her. After Seven thought about the four people Kayaln mentioned she agreed that Kayaln's assessment was probably correct.

Kayaln and Seven spent the next few hours going over the basics of moving silently, how to move without being detected, how to observe your surroundings to spot others and how to approach your target so that you could incapacitate or kill them.

Seven was not pleased with her progress after the evenings practice but Kayaln assured her that the program had training routines built in; she could practice whenever she had the time.

Seven's final night upon Mulara was spent much more sedately than the previous two. Both Analea and Kayaln came to walk with her around the garden and talk. The discussion ranged over several topics as they discussed how Sevens training was progressing. Analea related the events of her visit to Voyager and assured Seven that she would like the paintings she had put up in her quarters. Seven was not sure about some of the paintings but she was intensely curious to see the painting of the Omega molecule.

"Seven, you are not going to loose contact with us tomorrow. Mulara will keep in contact with you, and through her us," said Analea realizing that some of Seven's uneasiness was coming from the thought of never seeing her or Kayaln again.

Seven turned and looked at each of them, "Through dreams as she has before?"

"Yes," replied Kayaln, "though I suspect the dreams will be less like the lessons you have had previously and more like what is happening now. A dream of a walk through these gardens and discussing things. That's more like what my dreams are like when Mulara talks to me. And, I suspect that you may find your holodeck instructors to be…more than what their program allows."

Seven paused and seemed to absorb this information, then nodded. "I…" Seven paused and looked at Analea then at Kayaln, "It is comforting to know that I will be allowed to contact you from Voyager."

"You are concerned about what your reception from the crew will be on Voyager," said Analea.

Seven didn't directly respond but looked her in the eye for a moment then dropped her gaze. Seven didn't really want to think about having to listen to the hurtful comments that she was sure she was meant to hear.

"Seven, one thing everyone has to learn is that not everyone will like you. I have people who whisper behind my back as well, it's a fact of existence. Just make sure you are treating people properly and if they do not treat you well in return then ignore their opinions. Some people are just small minded and petty," said Analea.

Kayaln said, "Value the friends you have now and when people reach out to you in friendship when you return to Voyager make new friends. Remember to make friends you have to be a friend in return."

From there the discussion quickly evolved to delve deeply into matters such as how one developed a friendship, and how friends treated one another.

The night ended on a positive note and Seven went to sleep in a much lighter frame of mind than she had begun the evening.

The next morning Seven awoke and felt a thrill of anticipation, this was the morning that she was going back to Voyager. Looking about the room she saw a small bag by the dresser. After she had eaten Seven went to enjoy one last bath in the bathing pool then dressed in her favorite set of clothing the sapphire blue shirt and black pants.

When she was done she packed her belongings in the bag and went out to walk about the garden for one last time. She was still walking around the garden when she saw Analea and Kayaln approaching. Kayaln was carrying her bag and as they approached Analea held out a combadge to Seven which she took and affixed to her shirt.

They looked for a moment at each other then Kayaln stepped up and embraced Seven, which was enough for the younger woman to begin crying. Kayaln just held Seven until she stepped back and said, "I will see you again, this is not goodbye. Believe me Seven."

Seven nodded, "I know but I am still feeling sorrow at the thought of leaving. Though I want to go to Voyager."

Analea said, "Understandable Seven, emotions are not ruled by logic. I shall miss you too, even though I know this is not goodbye either." With that Analea stepped close and gave Seven a warm hug as well.

Seven calmed herself and picked up her bag looking at them and wiping her face dry. "Until we meet again then, my friends…" Seven said hesitantly.

Warm smiles rewarded her and Kayaln said, "Yes you are our friend Seven. Until we meet again." Analea repeated the sentiment and then nodded to Seven indicating to her that it was time for her to contact Voyager.

Seven took a breath and activated her combadge, "Seven to Voyager."

A voice replied, "Voyager here."

Seven looked one last time at the two of them and straightened, "One to beam up."

Part 2

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