By Elizabeth Carter
B'Elanna Torres wanted to know just what Kellian could do now that she was more mature. She had already seen her in a mini-battle and she was astonished at the Jelly-torpedo deployment that completely dismantled its targets. The young Klingon slipped Kellian into a loose combat speed.
Captain Janeway was just was excited to see what the living ship was truly capable of, which was why she gave the go-ahead on the test runs. A good captain always knew what she had in her arsenal and under her command. She watched the whole event from astrometrics knowing it would give her the best viewing of the flight. Beside her was her love Amanda Rothery and cadet Icheb. Officially both ladies were off duty, but they wouldn't miss this chance for all the marsupial surprise in the mess hall. Icheb himself was he had to admit a bit excited over what Species 342 was capable and still being truthful he had wished his duties had allowed for him to be aboard the living ship.
'You have a go, Kellian let's see what she is capable of.' Janeway's voice came over the Kellian's intercom.
"Copy that, Captain," B'Elanna answered. Turning she winked at her wife then turned back to the helm controls. She loved the interface between her and the living vessel. It wasn't as clumsy or awkward as the 'joy stick' of the Delta Flyer and it wasn't as smooth as the com-panels of Federation vessels, instead it was more akin to the keyboard of a piano. A single touch indicated what B'Elanna wanted to do and Kellian responded instantly.
B'Elanna climbed twenty-eight thousand kilometers above Voyager's port nacelle. From the tactical station, Seven told her wife to come left twenty degrees. This was the start of a long slow circle that would position them behind the Federation vessel. Then Voyager changed course heading directly for Kellian. Seven told B'Elanna to come forty degrees right. Voyager once more changed course. It was still closing on Kellian. B'Elanna knew just how sensitive Voyager's sensors were. Having established the control test, it was now time to open up the full potential.
First the cloaking device.
"Kellian now cloaked." Tuvok's voice came over the captain's combadge.
"Increasing sensors." Janeway answered as her hands tapped in a few commands upon the kiosk panel before her. She could see the rippling effect of a cloaking ship. At first Voyagers scopes could detect nothing. Then....a small distortion in the starfield.
Kellian's reaction time to events was excellent. B'Elanna banked Kellian hard right starting to make a tight turn that would position her behind Voyager once more. The saucer section was 1,000 feet in front of Kellian. The large ship spun into a sharp left turn at 500 feet proximity. She had 'seen' them, and was letting them know it.
Kellian maneuvered under Voyager practically skimming hulls. Kellian zoomed into a right-hand turn as she climbed .into a barrel-roll so she was now parallel with the saucer section. Like a dolphin playing with the much larger orca Kellian continued to dip, roll and spin as close as she could to the larger Federation ship, all while cloaked.
Voyager's Borg enhanced sensors were too sensitive to let a little thing like a cloaking device to get in the way of detecting the 'enemy' vessel. Once more Voyager let the smaller ship know she had been 'seen' by hitting her with a pulse from the tractor-beam. For a moment Kellian's responses were sluggish as they were caught up in the field like a fly on an antique flytrap. Voyager let go of the sleek devil-ray shaped ship who zinged away quickly as if to lick its wounds, or rather her pride.
Kellian spun back around and Voyager lost her off their sensors. Janeway expanded the limits of the sensor array and still nothing more than cosmic dust, typical gamma radiation off of the stars, she even picked up a few L-class planets but no other ships. Nothing.
B'Elanna opened up full throttle, spinning and twisting Kellian into a series of banks rolls and loops. The stealth capacity had gone on beyond her cloaking device she was now mirroring Voyager's own signatures.
"Kellian, lets see how well we fair, de-cloak but keep the mirror in place." the Klingon ordered.
"I will comply." Kellian answered the order.
To the outside eye, the devil ray phased into existence, but she would not appear on the sensors of Voyager, only those looking out the portholes would see her, she didn't even register in astrometrics. The test proved more than successful the last test on Kellian's abilities was to see if she could cloak and utilize the sensor mirror. Once more the living ship proved to be undetectable. And once she dropped the cloaks, Voyager automatically went on Red Alert for the sheer proximity of Kellian.
'An effective demonstration ladies,' Captain Janeway complimented over Kellian's communication systems. 'Kellian is more than capable of defensive protection against hostile elements. And her maneuverability and size make her more than advantageous for exploration just like the delta flyer.'
"Captain, we'd like to experiment with Kellian's more scientific and technical abilities on a longer range scouting mission." Seven informally requested
'Granted.' The Captain gave her approval. 'Investigate the sector ahead of us. With our harvesting of the Borg vessel we have reserves of dilithium but that isn't to say we can't use more and of course there are several other consumable stores we need replenish, report back in seventy-two hours.'
"Hunting and Gathering," B'Elanna translated. "Will do Captain. See you in three days, Voyager, Kellian out."
B'Elanna turned to Seven sitting near her in the semi-circular bridge of the living vessel, she saw her mother and the girls near by and smirked. "Kellian I know what I can do at the helm, I want to see what your capable of. Take over helm-control."
"I will comply." Kellian answered in her 'Borgish' monotone voice. The mothership had a more warm inflection in her voice, whereas Kellian seemed to mimic Seven. Considering that she was partially assimilated though explained much in the vessel's 'mannerisms'
Aboard Voyager Commander Chakotay watched as the vessel Kellian disappeared, she was once again cloaked. "Cloaking must be a natural running maneuver for her." The large man said, "Why else slip into stealth mode?"
"Could explain why we have never encountered them and they eluded the Borg and Hirgoen so effectively." Janeway added. "Kellian has developed into a very interesting vessel. You know with her presence we just added to our chances of survival out here in the Delta Quadrant. She can accommodate passengers, assist in reserves, and as she is now go on extended scouting missions for consumables."
"It's been assimilated Captain, how do we know we can trust it?" Always suspecting, Chakotay wasn't so ready to trust this Borg vessel. "All we have is Seven's word that it won't try to contact the Collective. And on that note Captain, Seven herself was in the Queen's Chamber undergoing 'Royal Protocol'."
"What point are you trying to make, Commander?" Janeway's voice dropped an octave. She leaned closer to the bear of a man, her blue-steel eyes steady and alert. "I would think you are accusing Seven of insurrection. Mutiny?"
"Twice before I told you she was a scorpion..."
"Tuvok take the Bridge, Commander you're with me." Janeway didn't look behind her as she headed for the Ready Room. As soon as she turned around she met the Native American with a 'Force Ten' Glare.
Beneath his tribal tattoo, Chakotay's eyebrow crooked, agreeing with his Captain's decision to talk of Seven and B'Elanna in private. Captain Janeway had never held Seven's ignorance against her, even when others were bent on doing so. The stalwart Captain also never tried to make too big a deal out of Seven's lingering alienness. The girl-woman was human, but had so long been infected by the cyborg horror that she still as acted as much machine as alive. Only her new life as a mother and wife had Seven blossomed in her recaptured humanness even if that humanness was Klingon by nature.
Purpose and protectiveness surged through Janeway such as she hadn't felt since the last time she faced off against the Borg Queen, now she faced off against one of her own. Five years of strife and trouble had made those aboard Voyager hesitant to easily trust, especially the Senior Staff. Apart of the Captain understood the questions asked of her 2IC, but her understanding extended only to Kellian, they still didn't know enough about her yet which was why the tests were so crucial.
"Seven of Nine will not be judged by you Chakotay. There is no reason and in case YOU have forgotten it was YOUR narcotic drugs that allowed for my lieutenants to switch bodies. And it was B'Elanna inside Seven that went into the chamber that initiated Royal Protocol. And it was a MAQUIS program invaded the Central Nexus of the Borg and shut them down." Janeway's fists were balled on her hips, her gaze never lifting its intensity. "The Borg are not defeated but it will take time for them to recover from what B'Elanna, a Maquis I remind you, did to the Hive Mind while 'she' was in the Central Plexus."
Chakotay knew he was treading unsafe ground. The mood had changed between them becoming more and more grim. He knew his protests against Seven, the Borg and her freedom with this living ship to be tenuous at best. The ship responded to both B'Elanna and Seven equally it was a sentient life form and it had a right to exist. Starfleet's Standing Orders was to 'seek out new life forms and new civilizations.' Seven and B'Elanna had done just that. Kellian's presence only benefitted Voyager. But he could not ignore the heavy Borg influence on the young living vessel or the fact that she was tactically superior to Voyager or the fact she only complied with either of the two young women.
"And if Seven and B'Elanna decide to vacate Voyager and remain on Kellian..."
"You're grasping at straws, Commander. I will not second guess my junior officers. Frankly I am surprised you question B'Elanna. And in case you've forgotten what's like to find a new technology perhaps you should review the logs from when we first created the Delta Flyer."
"You're saying the kids want to play with the new toy'?"
"That is exactly what this is Chakotay, and bear in mind B'Elanna is remarkably reunited with her mother whom she believed to be dead. Perhaps B'Elanna and Seven wish to prove their worth as officer in Miral's eyes as well as show off for mom. And spend quality time together for legitimate reasons. Klingons don't do family reunions like we do, Chakotay, this away mission gives both proud ladies an excuse and I for one think its important for Seven to have time with her mother-in-law, as a process of expanding her humanity even if it is Klingon based. Now return your duties."
"Aye, Captain." Chakotay said stiffly, turned on his heels and left the captain's ready room a sour _expression plastered upon his wooden features.
"Now that was a test!" B'Elanna said, pleased with the ships performance.
Miral was impressed herself, with a fleet of ships like this the Empire would be unstoppable. Firing while cloaked, naturally masking ship signature and weapon that tore a ship apart from the hull and totally disabled its systems for easy boarding and conquering. If the Empire had a fleet of species 342 the Dominion war would come to a swift end. Even this one vessel striking in Maquis style would place dent in the hull of the Dominion fleets.
Seven was pleased as well she had found the whole experience exhilarating and she felt something coursing through her she was not quite familiar with. But it was a similar feeling to the one she had experienced when Astrometrics was first created and operational.
"Hey you okay Seven of Mine? You look a little lost?" B'Elanna asked her concern felt through the touch on Seven's lanky arm.
"Lost?' The ex-drone frowned trying to make sense of the metaphor. Her confusion must have shown on her face because B'Elanna took pity on her and explained.
"I mean you were so deep in thought that you focused your attention somewhere else."
"I understand now. Yes I was 'lost in thought.' I do not understand why Kellian's accomplishments have made me feel.....'proud' but I did not contribute to her success."
"Well she is our new baby, and because she's more than a ship maybe its like when Mizoti accomplishes something complicated and you feel proud because she's your little girl."
"I have much of the same feelings with you B'Elanna and you are not my little girl."
"No, but we are mated....and....it's all connected. Kellian is a kinda part of you since your nanoprobes are coursing through her systems and have become a part of her DNA and subroutines."
Seven pondered the words her wife spoke and found herself agreeing with them. She did feel connected to Kellian in the sense she was connected to her children and retained even a vague connection to the Collective. She always would. Nineteen years she spent on a Borg Cube...well that wasn't true there had been twelve cubes in all. The Collective designated drones even prime drones to optimize efficiency. Seven had never felt disorientated, after all, all Cubes were identical and she adapted each time she was transferred. If Seven wanted to be truthful there were times she still missed the unified mind....the Hive Mind, within the Collective there was such order and such driven single goals.
But looking at her wife, indeed her entire family now aboard Kellian, minus her son Seven felt a deep sense of completeness and in a sense she had found perfection in a hybrid Klingon. "I wish to test a theory." Seven said from her station at tactical and moved to the pilot's chair.
"I take it you want control." B'Elanna said with a wiry grin, "Okay she's all yours." She stood and moved past her wife but not before giving the former drone a peck on the cheek. Seven smiled a bit, the tiniest of expressions but to B'Elanna, Seven might have been flashing a wide toothed Cheshire cat grin.
The tall lanky blonde took her station now at the pilot's control interface and instead of placing her hands upon the kiosk she commanded her tubules to connect.
"Annika!" B'Elanna yelped a bit surprised as Seven's unorthodox method of taking command.
"You said it yourself, Kellian is assimilated I am merely extending the control I already have over her." Even as Seven was talking the ship jumped into warp 10, far faster than Voyager, warp 11...warp 12 ...there was felt a slight lurching only an Engineer or a Borg would have noticed but Kellian had launched herself into the slip-stream drive, a faster mode of travel than warp-drive. Kellian's natural abilities allowed her to create a quantum window in hyper-space and jump several light years. The blast would not last long rather like a cheetah going from zero to seventy-five miles an hour in three seconds. As Kellian slowed once more in arresting increments back to the cruising speed of warp seven the had sensors had indicated they had traveled fifteen light years from their previous location!
"The nanoprobes had already begun to restore Kellian's reserves, we will be able to return to Voyager without the twenty-seven hour rest species 342 normally requires after opening the slip-stream drive, nor does she need the extended fuel reserves. She will need to regenerate however if we intend to utilize the transwarp drive or even a trans-warp conduit. If she is able to stabilize a window we might be able to return to the Alpha Quadrant," Seven looked over her shoulder to Miral and again she flashed a small smirk, "The Beta Quadrant, I am sure Chancellor Martok will be anxious to have his mate back." Blue eyes fell on her own wife. "I know I would be so."
Captain Miral seemed to be shaken, she had not expected to survive the encounter with the Borg, nor had she expected to recover her lost daughter who now had a family of her own, and she had not expected to be able to go home so quickly. "Martok no doubt had considered me dead. It is expected a warrior die before they submit to assimilation."
Neither Seven, Miral nor B'Elanna would speak of the Klingon warriors who were indeed drones. In fact the Klingons and Hirgoen made superior tactical drones. "But you're not assimilated." B'Elanna pointed out. "Besides, I know only this general by his reputation, I want to know what sort of male this Martok is that has taken my SoS as a mate."
"He is far different from your father, Lanna." Miral said in a voice that sounded more like a warning than a statement. "He has tremendous respect for the way of the warrior, but he recognizes the power in the female warriors, after all The Order of the Bat'lath was founded by Lakara.
B'Elanna thought of the first woman, and smiled Lakara was actually one of her favored heroines. She had fought along side Kah'less at Qam-Chee, and then there was the heroine Melota who was Aktuh's equal in battle and of course going back generations their own ancestor Azetbur who had taken up her father Gorkon's mantle and carried on his work. It seemed to B'Elanna that Martok wanted a brave commanding wife just as the past heroes of the empire had, Lakara, Melota and Azetbur. Martok wanted to make himself in the image of Kah'less, Gorkon and Aktuh: to do that not only did he need to make an honorable epic heroic path from himself but he needed a mate unto like the heroes he emulated. Miral daughter of Prasba was exactly thus.
"Perhaps in regard to interplanetary peace we should arrive in the Beta Quadrant, so that we present ourselves to the Empire first, Miral who faced down the Borg Queen and aided in her defeat." Seven interrupted. "This would further the reputation of a warrior would it not? Miral who was hunted by the Borg, and she returns triumphantly not only besting the Queen but having recovered the lost Federation vessel Voyager."
"Stick Girl you have a knack for the theatrics!" Miral grinned veraciously. "Do it." She commended in a captain's voice. "The Federation owing the Empire isn't a bad idea. But are you sure you can make it happen?"
"I am Borg." Seven said in a very cocky voice that would rival any proclamation of a Klingon warrior. "I will not fail."
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