By Elizabeth Carter
Seven of Nine, former Borg Drone, formerly of Tertiary Adjunct Unimatrix Zero-One, formerly the Queen's Prime, had survived much. She survived because she is Teflon-coated. Armored, Camouflaged. You try and look inside her and your gaze is deflected. Your questions are turned aside. Your curiosity seems to slip and slide off her, leaving no trace. Is she hiding something? Or is she really just arrogant? Is she supremely insecure or supremely confident?
Miral didn't know.
The Klingon woman liked Seven, she trusted Seven. She even found respect for the blonde. But she knew her daughter-in-law was trying to conceal something, and, worse still, so too did the Queen of the Borg.
The Queen's feelings for Seven were complicated. The Queen's feelings for Voyager and Janeway weren't. She hated Janeway. The Queen hated B'Elanna Torres even more. This was why she chose Miral, Daughter of L'Naan. How better to eradicate the memory of a lover than to have said lover's mother as a Prime's Second? Even if Seven never forgot her connection to B'Elanna Torres, the young hybrid would never forgive Seven for assimilating Miral and making her a part of Royal Protocol. Klingons were very direct in their allegiance to honor. By making Miral the Second, Seven would have brought great dishonor to the house of Prasba, forcing discommendation upon her wife, thus severing all holds on Seven for such a heinous crime. Again the Queen would win, even if Voyager managed to rescue their estranged crewmember.
"You've got a plan to get out of here. Tell me," Miral demanded.
"My plan has been altered, with your presence," the tall blonde said in the clipped tone of someone too occupied with something else to give full concentration to verbal intercourse.
"It's not like I planned on being taken ." For a Klingon to admit being a hostage was disparaging in the very least, so Miral chose a lesser semantic phrasing of prisoner, "aboard a Borg vessel, Stick Girl."
"Nor was it in my plan to be here, but we are," the younger woman said. " Voyager will no doubt be making plans to rescue me and now you. But I need to make sure that the Queen and her pursuit ends here."
"You plan to blow the ship?"
"No. Something more damaging."
"Stick girl, self-destruct is pretty damn destructive." Miral crossed her arms in a very B'Elanna like stance, but of course it was perhaps more accurate to say that B'Elanna took after her mother's posture.
"Not enough. I intend to neutralize the Borg," Seven said without any hint of passion at all. Her heart seemed to be coldly analytical. Miral might have asked for the daily weather report for all the emotion displayed in the blonde.
"The greatest threat to the Borg is chaos." Seven flashed a very large toothy smile, which Miral thought was very unlike this young woman. For some reason, the Klingon woman had the notion that the emotionally impotent Vulcans had reared her daughter-in-law. The malicious expression that flashed on the former Borg Prime's face was, to say the least, extremely disturbing, even for a Klingon warrior. "I intend to be Chaos."
"Kah'less! You are going through with this Royal Protocol bullshit aren't you! You are sabotaging the Borg from within."
"Yes," Seven declared directly.
"No!" Miral growled. "As honorable a sacrifice as that is, no. I forbid it."
"You forbid! Who are you to forbid me?" Seven raged.
"I, Stick Girl, am matriarch of House Prasba! And you," she stabbed Seven in the chest with her finger, "are a daughter of that house. You are by marriage a daughter of the Empire and you, girl, will COMPLY with me."
Miral thought that the range of emotions that flittered across the blonde's normally cool features were worthy of an opera diva. "I see fire in those eyes of ice."
"The Queen threatened my mate. Do you expect me to allow that! She threatened our children, she sent Hirogen hunters after the boys. Azan and Rebi were murdered brutishly by dishonorable Pa'taq, and you think that your words will stop me from acting against my enemies. As a KLINGON you above all people understand honor. I have every right to evoke a blood oath against the foes of my house."
Miral was stunned, and pleased. Her daughter had chosen well for a mate. "Yes, you do. Puqbe' 'e'nal Hilob."
For the moment Seven said nothing, not against Miral's command that she obey her, and not in response to the fact that the older woman had addressed her as daughter, indicating that Seven was accepted as a part of her family. And for a moment the younger woman had truly wished her wife could have heard the words, for they would have meant much to her beloved.
"I must protect my mate, my family, SoS," she said at last.
"I know, and so must I. If there is not an alterative, if the door is locked, then, yes, Soch-Hut, by all means take up your plan and strike the Borg from within. However, as you have told me, only a fool fights in a burning house. We won't be looking for guards when we escape, and I wish to see my daughter's face when she sees her old mother along side her mate!" Miral clapped Seven on the back hard enough to almost cause Seven to lose her balance. Almost.
Miral was impressed with the belying frailty of her Stick-Girl daughter- in-law. Her clap on the back would have caused any mere human to lurch forward. Instead, this tall amazon scarcely moved at all. The older woman had to admit she definitely found favor with her daughter's choice of mates. However, Miral was extremely surprised they got along at all. She saw so much of her child in this woman that they could have been clones. It was one of the reasons Miral and B'Elanna rarely got along since the younger Toress had reached puberty since she and Miral were so much a like. B'Elanna and Seven were so alike in demeanor that at times Miral almost had to remind herself this willful blonde human was NOT her spirited daughter but another person altogether. Pure Human DNA and Borg tampering aside, Annika Toress, mate to B'Elanna of House Prasba, was Klingon.
"Care to tell me what this contingency plan of yours is, Spike?" Mizoti asked of her friend as they reached the end of the Jeffries tubes, which led to the shuttle bay, were the new stingray vessel was docked. They lifted the access door and were making ready to climb out when Naomi answered.
"We engage the Cute Protocols."
"Clarify." The young ex-drone demanded.
Naomi new that Mizoti and her former-Borg family did not mean to be harsh sounding when they spoke in their clipped monotones. It was simply them. She loved Seven with all her little heart and she cared deeply for her best friend Mizoti and even her dorky brother Icheb. Actually, Naomi thought of Icheb as her dorky brother as well and loved him for it.
"You know about the Adult Conspiracy right?" Naomi asked.
"Yes," Mizoti nodded her head. Of course, all children knew of this Conspiracy. "The Conspiracy engaged in by all adults that has them altering their normal behavior when in presence the of children. Even their vernacular changed when around children, save for the Klingons who allow their children to curse, all except for B'Elanna, but that is because she his hybrid.
"You are not allowed to go out of your quarters wearing only undergarments even though swimwear is virtually identical. You are not allowed to see members of the opposite gender with no clothing on at all, though it's okay to see infants and toddlers in such a state. You are forbidden to eat non-nutritional supplements after 1800 hours and you are not allowed to be out of bed past 2000 hours. All homework must be finished, as well as menial tasks, before fun can be engaged in."
"Right." Naomi confirmed. "Well, there is another aspect to it. Cute Protocols is one of them. Adults are suckers for it, especially grown males. Even the Vulcans, if you play it right."
"Play what?" Mizoti raised a very Seven like eyebrow.
"Being all cutesy. See, with Vulcans you have to use logic .and the question: 'How am I to learn and be a functional member of this crew if I am not allowed to at least observe this activity.' Vorik falls for it every time. Ensign Paris used to let me fly the Delta flyer . all I had to do was make my eyes really big and smile and ask in a soft voice the same question.
"Don't use that voice on your SoS'oy, B'Elanna or the Captain, though. That gets them irritated. B'Elanna says only boys do that and it's irritating, a girl has more fire. So use your strong side. Fold your arms across your chest with B'Elanna and say 'I wish to learn from the best, and I can't learn from anyone else. Would you settle for less!?' Then spout out a few technobabble things, stumble on a few words, and she'll fall for it. Same with the Captain. She falls for it, too.
"Oh yeah! Stand like Seven with the Captain. She gets this funny quirky half smile on her face and she'll bend a little easier. Don't forget to always have your shirt tucked in, don't sweat, and never leave a crewmember behind that's her rules."
"What about Seven?" Mizoti asked as they moved the panel from the access to the Shuttle bay's Jeffries tube.
"Easy. Stand like B'Elanna or like Seven herself. Again, spout out technobabble and ask a lot of questions about science. Seven likes to talk about it. But don't ever use Borg designations with her because she kinda feels bad about having been Borg. Especially with what that frigging Queen did to her. Seven is kinda no she is really sensitive about it."
Naomi could never understand why people thought Seven didn't show emotions. Her hero had a ton of them. You could always tell in her eyes. Her blue eyes showed everything. Naomi saw very deep emotion in those blue eyes all the time. And she could always hear what her hero was feeling in Seven's voice. It became cold, very cold when talking about something that made her uncomfortable. There was softness to her cerulean eyes as well as to her monotone voice when she was very pleased or happy about something. You just had to listen, you just had to look and it was all there. Maybe it was a part of the Adult Conspiracy that only children can see the un-seeable in another's eyes.
"Spike, I am Borg." There was helplessness to Mizoti's voice.
The girls and climbed out of the Jeffries tube, mindful to shut the panel behind them before they vacated the area. They crouched behind large yellow barrel canisters, seemingly to bide their time.
"Well, you're different. Seven get super protective of me and you with the crew, she doesn't want them to think bad about us for emulating her, so she doesn't approve of using Borg designations," Naomi explained.
"She uses them." Mizoti quibbled.
"Adult Conspiracy rules: 'Do as I say, not as I do.' Even Seven follows that one. So does my mom." Naomi rolled her eyes.
"I hate that rule," the Norkadian huffed.
"Me too." Nomi nodded as if that was the worst of the Adult Conspiracy regulations. "Now see, the Bollens and Humans are out there good," the Katerian pointed to the milling Engineers. "All we have to do is march up to Kellein, like we belong there, like we are studying her or something. Keep chatting about the hull and stuff. Look at data PADDs and if or when we are stopped, we look all cute and tell the engineers we are doing a report on the living ship for exobiology and say we won't bother anyone because we are so small we won't get in the way. And say it will okay to be on the living ship because we won't touch anything like the helm."
"If we touch the helm we will break our words and we need to touch the helm in order to get out of the shuttle bay." Mizoti stated the obvious flaw in the plans.
"Ha, the one thing I learned well from Seven is how to phrase something carefully. So we say we won't touch the helm as we are studying."
"Aw. That works out well," Mizoti said smiling. Then a frown replaced the smile. "How do we propose to get out of the shuttle bay?"
"I still have my voice command deck." Naomi held up the Macgivered PADD.
"Well, yes, but you need to punch in codes to the airlock." Again Mizoti pointed out a possible flaw.
"That's where you come in Zot, you and those tubules of yours," Naomi explained. "You command Voyager to do it remotely from here. Have a five-minute count down to opening up the airlock, we get on board, and zip out. B'Elanna said the baby ship has a cloaking device, so we cloak. Voyager can't get a lock on us with the tractor beam and we are free and clear. Easy."
"Easy." Mizoti echoed sardonically. "Hijacking a ship, I do not think is easy."
"I like to think of it as proactive redistribution of property. Besides Kellein is sentient so it's more like kidnapping."
"Unless of course Kellein complies, then it is simply AWOL," Mizoti said. "And what's a week of confinement to quarters compared to having my mother back?"
"Exactly my point," Naomi smiled. "Come on, we have a ship to kidnap."
B'Elanna's mind was buzzing with her thoughts as she was trying to assimilate them in a cohesive manor. She was failing miserably. And she did not deal well with failure.
The Captain was right however, the young woman admitted. She should check on Mizoti. She had nearly three hours before her visit to the Captain's quarters, plenty of time to visit her new daughter.
Walking into the sickbay she scanned the area quickly and spotted Mizoti sound asleep on the biobed.
"Computer, disengage the force field, authorization Chief Engineer: Toress, delta nine sigma twelve."
The force shield dropped and the young scientist stepped forward, but then paused. Something was wrong, not quite right with the girl. Cocking her head, the brunette stepped forward, drawing in a breath of air. Something was off something wasn't right at all. Mizoti carried no scent with her. None at all. Not the distinctive metallic scent unique to the ex-Borg, not the Norkadian musk that smelled like sandalwood, and not the baby powder scented shampoo the child used. She was completely scentless as the photonic physician.
Dark eyes glowered into a frown. "Computer, locate Mizoti Hansen."
"Mizoti Hansen is in the Sickbay."
"Computer, locate Naomi Wildman."
"Naomi Wildman is in her quarters."
"Somehow I doubt both statements are correct," the woman said more to herself than to any other. "Computer, scan for the bio-signs of a Norkadian adolescent, and a Katerian-human hybrid."
"Scanning." The monotone female voice of the computer's synthesized voice reported. "Subjects located in Shuttle Bay Three."
B'Elanna turned from the bio-bed nearly colliding with the photonic doctor.
"Lieutenant, why are you leaving so soon? I am sure Mizoti would love to see her "
"That isn't Mizoti," the Klingon growled. "Maybe you should be more observant of your patients, Doctor!" It was a mother's voice that snapped. She had no time to argue with the EMH as she took off for Shuttle Bay Three. If she knew her girls, they would be hip deep in a well meaning but ill-advised rescue attempt.
B'Elanna sprinted through the corridors mindless of the traffic cluttering the labyrinthine halls. If they were in her way they either moved quickly or the Klingon pushed them out of the way.
Miral decided to redirect the conversation, so that she would have the upper hand for the moment, for she would not allow a needless sacrifice. The Klingon always tried to act as a woman of thought and think like a woman of action.
"I know my daughter didn't chose a stupid woman for a mate, so do not disgrace her by acting stupid. She is a woman of great honor "
Seven stared disbelieving. "There was a time she was convinced she was a disgrace to you." The words almost caught in her throat.
"What Pac'ta gave her that idea? Her father?" Miral spat.
The battle plan to redirect the conversation had worked well too well.
"No, not her father. B'Elanna believed it herself because she wasn't Klingon enough for you. She was . tired of the Klingon ways being 'shoved down her throat'."
"I did what I did to protect her." Miral was not excusing herself. "She is a child born of two races. It is difficult for her. You must have an understanding of this, Stick-Girl, being Borg and Human. B'Elanna had to be strong. Stronger than Kah'less himself. She was tormented as a child, so much so she was ashamed of her Klingon heritage, going as far as to hide her proud crest! I placed her in a Klingon monastery so she wouldn't be so different than everyone else. When every one is one way and you are another it is difficult to survive, but my daughter did!" There was no mistaking the pride in this mother's voice.
"Survival is inadequate," Seven said in a clipped monotone voice.
"It was what I had to offer B'Elanna after her father abandoned us," Miral snapped, feeling disposed that she had to defend herself against the girl's silent accusations that she had not done enough for her daughter. "He had no honor nor courage."
"Why then did you mate with him?" Seven asked reasonably.
Miral sighed heavily. It was so like B'Elanna's measures of restrained claiming that took the blonde by surprise, but then it should not have. Like mother like daughter
"At the time it was the reasonable thing to do. And I wanted my daughter to have honor. She would always be considered a mongrel child in the Empire, and an outsider with the Humans. I had hoped her father would bring her peace. He thought he loved me; in truth he liked the idea of having a Klingon lover. It was a rush for him. When we found out I was with child, he decided to marry me."
Seven could say nothing. She had no idea, no clue that there were such similarities between Tom Paris and John Toress. Right down to the conquering adrenaline rush of having a Klingon girlfriend.
"I was going to leave him, it wasn't a good match. He was always more preoccupied with his friends and his projects and could hardly be bothered to give his lover attention. Not that a Warrior always needs such, but one does not like to be shot out an airlock because something new comes along." Miral growled. "And despite what the Federation would have you think, Klingons are passionate lovers, enjoying the act as well as the depth of love between mates. Tell me Stick-girl, do you not simply like the hand of your wife upon your chest in a silent message of her love for you; do you not enjoy her scent? Love doesn't weaken a warrior; it makes a warrior stronger, more vibrant, and more alive. John Toress is rust upon the blade. But one does not need to enjoy virtue."
Seven looked down, quietly contemplating. "You didn't leave him because of "
"B'Elanna? Yes. I wanted her to have honor, and so I stayed. John was such a Pa'taq, he didn't even give his child his own proud Spanish heritage. He left that to his own mother. He was disappointed that I didn't give birth to a male." Miral smiled a full-toothed grin. "I knew B'Elanna was destined for great things. I even thought one day she would be inducted into the Order of the Bat'lath, as had her mother. She was so smart as a child, always excelling in the sciences," Miral chuckled.
"There were times when her curiosity even out grew my patience as she tore apart replicaters, the engine in my aircar, John's fishing equipment, anything she could get her little hands on, in an effort to improve them, enhance them, make them more powerful, more efficient." Miral smiled. " At the same time I was proud of her and frustrated she would take something apart without asking first. I had to drill that into her head. I hope she finally understood you don't go into someone's territory and begin to muck around with their things, despite the fact you can improve it."
Seven looked down, trying to hide the rueful smile as she thought of the words coming from the older woman. "I think she finally understood. So much in fact that she has passed those same lectures along to another."
Miral laughed fully as she realized 'Stick Girl' must be talking about herself. 'Good. The boot has another foot. Give my Lanna some of her own medicine having to deal with someone exactly like her in that regard.'
"There was nothing to stand in B'Elanna's way but her own anger," Miral added sadly. "She was so filled with anger, it would blind her."
To that Seven looked up. She opened her mouth wanting to say something, but changed her mind. She knew the Queen was monitoring her. It was already too dangerous as it was, talking as she was with the older woman. Anything more and the Queen would have yet another weapon at her disposal.
A rich caramel hand moved to touch Seven's alabaster skin, shaking her out of her reverie. Miral moved the blonde tresses aside to show the bite scare on the jaw line. "She took the Oath with you." There was a smile on her face at revealing the small scar. John Toress would never take the oath, in fact he was insistent on a pure human marriage. He wanted little to do with Klingon heritage. He wanted little to do with his own Latino heritage saying that both were overstated.
"Yes," Seven said, her voice only a whisper. "Miral daughter of L'Naan of house Prasba, your daughter is not the same angry woman you knew back in the Alpha Quadrant."
"No, she isn't. A lot has changed since then. Ten years have passed since I truly spoke with her."
"Miral, you know I can not sit back and allow the Queen to torment my wife. Why do you think I am here? I have not gone to this end without clearly thinking everything out. Miral, your presence . " Seven stopped as three drones entered.
The blue eyes stared back into Three of Five, a man that had once meant something to young Annika Hansen.
"You recognize him, Stick Girl, " Miral said with almost kindness in her voice. "Who is he?"
"Magnus Hansen," Seven answered dispassionately.
"Your father!" Miral was stunned.
"The man who was Annika's father died on the Raven. That is Three of Five, and he has no love for his child. If he can not be separated from the Hive Mind, I almost think it's better that he die."
'Spoken like a true warrior of the Empire,' Miral thought privately. Yet she knew the pain that her daughter-in-law must be in to see her father standing before her ready to take her before the queen. Nearly twenty-three years ago his stubbornness and refusal to listen to reason had caused Annika to become a trophy to the Queen. Seven of Nine would forever be scarred.
The blonde looked past Magnus to the two drones beyond him. Their names somehow found their way to her mind, though she did not know why it was so. Lursa and Be'tor, of the House Duras.
"Pa'taq!" Miral spat as she laid eyes upon the dishonored Klingons. "My mate sent me and my ship the Trigak to hunt the Romulan whores. They were trading with the Spoonheads ."
"Mate!" Seven wheeled around stunned. "You are . remarried?"
"To Chancellor Martok, yes. Some three years ago." Miral smiled, for the moment forgetting her anger at the sight of the Duras sisters.
Seven opened her mouth but nothing came out.
"No reason you should recognize the name, Stick Girl, living all your life here in the Delta Quadrant. He is the Chancellor of the Klingon Empire and a great general of high renown. He had even performed R'uustai for B'Elanna, the bonding that accepts her into his house. He had done so for Worf son of Mog as well, so in effect they are Housemates. She and I will always be of House Prasba, but Martok knows my daughter is an honorable warrior and has accepted her as his adopted daughter as I am now his wife." Miral chuckled at the stunned expression on the blonde's face. "Not to worry, Annika Puqbe' 'e'nal. He will accept you as B'Elanna's mate. You have proven your steel."
The young woman was still reeling from the new information that Miral just piled on to her plate. It was time, the blonde thought, that mother and daughter have a very, very long 'philosophical discussion', following, of course, a proper reunion.
The only thing that the younger woman knew that could top Miral's proclamation was the information the scientist held herself. Using a human euphemism ' another time another place' was aptly put into play for this moment. And so it was that the secret carried within the neo-cortex of the ex-Borg would remain just that, a secret.
As B'Elanna hit the gold badge pinned to her chest the Klingon continued to run at a full gate down the corridors. "Toress to Bridge, we may have a possible unscheduled launch from Shuttle Bay Three. Activate Tractor beam and lock on to the bio-signatures of Naomi Wildman and Mizoti Hansen."
"Chakotay here. B'Elanna, what's going on? Ops reads Mizoti in Sick Bay and Naomi is "
"They took off their combadges," B'Elanna snapped. "I don't have the time to discuss this with wasted protocol, Commander."
"B'Elanna!" Chakotay's inflated impatient anger rousted him from the command chair in one breath and by the time he exhaled he faced the officers behind him. Young Harry Kim turned to the commander, while Tuvok rose an eyebrow so high it nearly hit his trim hairline.
"Tactical, do as B'Elanna 'ordered'. Harry, get a transporter lock on the girls."
"Aye, sir," both men answered.
"I swear, she's more like Seven now that they're married. I saw hints of it before, but now B'Elanna is as belligerent as she was before we joined Voyager. Next she'll be running around in Klingon armor," dripped the sardonic words.
"Indeed," came Tuvok's unsolicited response. Of course, to his Vulcan analytical mind he was stymied as to why it was only now that it dawned on the Commander just how close in personality both lieutenants Seven of Nine and B'Elanna Toress were. It surprised Tuvok further that this match between them had not happened a year earlier, as they were logically well suited for each other. Of course, neither the Human nor Klingon races were logical, and though the Borg were flawlessly logical, they were not seekers of compatibility between mates, as such things were inefficient and therefore irrelevant. Arranged marriages at birth were the easiest way of joining with one's mate.
The Vulcan had only donated three point three six seconds to this thought as he studied the panel in front of him. One did not have to be Vulcan to see the extreme change in his dark eyes. Both arched eyebrows furrowed ever so slightly into a 'V' as he re-read the data displayed. He keyed in the commands to activate the tractor beam once he saw that the shuttle bay was launching.
The warning that flashed across the controls alerted both Harry Kim and Tuvok that Shuttle Bay Three was indeed opening up to launch a shuttle.
"Commander!" Kim's voice cracked as he belted out to gain Chakotay's attention. "Sir, power is being re-routed from tactical / ops to Engineering."
Tuvok tried in vain to circumvent the flow of command controls.
"Stop it!" Chakotay ordered.
Kim's olive hand danced across his own kiosk, his face becoming paler as he realized that he couldn't stop the redirection of command control. He shook his head. "Sir, Borg- Maquis encrypting codes have locked out ops stations." Harry felt the weight of Voyager on his shoulders, as though it was his fault he could not regain control.
Looking up, the Asian officer noticed the same concerned expression in Tuvok's dark eyes. Obviously the Vulcan tactical officer was having the same problems, and feeling the same weight of the ship upon his shoulders. Harry and Tuvok both tried everything they could think of, all the codes they knew, all the protocols. but nothing worked.
"Tuvok?" Chakotay barked, praying to his spirit guides that the Vulcan had a positive answer for him.
"Confirmed, Borg encryption algorithms. The problem, sir, lies in the delivery system. It's Maquis."
In hearing that, Chakotay bounded up the steps to the upper level of the bridge to investigate tactical for himself. What he saw surprised him. He knew this particular trick. It was one of B'Elanna's.
"As you see, sir, the Maquis codes are using the anti-viral nanoprobes as a delivery system. Each code we try to use is circumvented. The computer is reading the commands as gibberish and therefore they are locked out as a measure of security and safety. These commands were encoded by Seven in the nanoprobes to lock out the Queen's nanoprobes so that the Queen's tainted probes could not communicate together and would thus be impotent."
"Are you telling me that our anti-viral probes are doing this? That they think that Tactical and Ops are what .the Queen's nanoprobes?" Chakotay frowned.
"Partially, sir, but only the commands for tractor beam and controls for shuttle bays. We still have full control over shields and weapons," Tuvok answered. "Frankly, sir, it turns the bridge controls into nonsensical orders and the computer simply can not understand."
"We have control over sensors, communications and all other Opps controls," Kim piped up. "This is a surgical strike, sir. If it's those girls doing this, I'd say they are spending too much time in Engineering."
"Well, the woman they are emulating just happen to be one of those girls' mother," Chakotay said. "And we can't forget that little girl was a puppet for the Queen. Tuvok, if we have weapons, I want you to fire a warning shot across the bow of the shuttle they are stealing."
"Sir!" Harry coughed out. "They are children!"
"Ensign Kim Mizoti was a puppet. She may still be a puppet. Naomi might be a hostage. If we can scare them they might return on their own," Chakotay explained. "That Borg Cube is still out there. I want a firing solution soon Tuvok, before the shuttle rendezvous with it. Harry, I want complete control of Voyager before the Captain arrives on the bridge."
"Sir " Harry was skeptical whether he could neutralize the Borg encryption by then.
"You have your orders, Mister."
"Aye, Sir," Kim answered as he dove headlong into the task before him. Of course, if he had B'Elanna's aid it might go quicker as they could tag-team it. After all, the power had been circumvented to Engineering by her Maquis virus and locked out from Bridge command by Borg encryption codes.
'God, where the hell is Seven when you need her .wait Icheb.' Harry Blinked. "Sir, request permission to have Cadet Hansen assist from Engineering."
"Good idea. If a Borg set this about, then a Borg can help stop it. Alright, Harry, get him to help you."
"Aye, sir." This time there was a more positive note to the young Harry Kim's voice.
B'Elanna rushed into Shuttle Bay Three so quickly that she trampled over Susanne Niclolettie and nearly colllided into Vorik in her haste. But she was not fast enough, for just as she entered, Kellein vanished.
"No! NO! NO! NO!" B'Elanna roared out her furry. She spun fast on the balls of her feet, pointed an accusing finger at Vorik and snarled. "Get a lock on that ship!"
The young Vulcan was as helpless as Tuvok and Kim on the Bridge. The controls had been rerouted from Shuttle Bay Three to Engineering. The same Borg encryption codes and the Maquis virus had once again circumvented power and neutralized the computer's understanding of the commands to activate the tractor beam or controls over the air lock.
"Lieutenant, the computer will not comply," the Vulcan engineer informed his superior.
** Warning, airlock opening for launch protocols. Warning, stand clear of air lock, ** the computer said a beat after Vorik's proclamation.
"I already tried, lieutenant," said the Vulcan as he saw the command in the dark eyes of B'Elanna. "I can not override the computer's command to stop the launch. Perhaps if you were to look at it . Lieutenant...it's Borg ."
B'Elanna sprinted to the consol in a sudden burst of speed. Had Vorik not stepped back, she would have pushed him aside and into Niclolettie ,causing the poor woman to once again find herself on the metal plating of the deck.
** Warning, airlock opening for launch protocols. Warning, stand clear of air lock. **
B'Elanna watched in futile desperation as the secondary force shield fell into place, allowing the doors of the shuttle bay to open. The girls had hijacked Kellein and were running cloaked. They couldn't put a tractor on it, and all the sensors showed was the Borg Diamond, which even now was only a few hounded kilometers off the stern.
The last thing the young woman saw was the force field in front of the air lock blink indicating that a ship had gone through it.
Even as B'Elanna was running down the corridors talking to the bridge, Naomi and Mizoti boarded the orange stingray.
"Okay, Kellein girl, we need to do a few things ASAP," Naomi commanded the sentient ship as the two girls found their way to the Bridge.
When the ship didn't respond, Naomi turned to her companion, a deep-set scowl on her face, as if it was Mizoti's fault the ship wouldn't talk. "I thought you said this ship is sentient."
"She is," the Norkadian said defensively. "But maybe she will only recognize Seven."
"Oh, bloody great!" Naomi grumbled. "This could be a problem. I don't think the Maquis trick will work here. How are we supposed to get this stupid ship to recognize us?"
"She's only a baby, and thus easily fooled," Mizoti optimistically pointed out. "And she's partially assimilated, so we can take advantage of that."
"Wait she's partially assimilated? How can you tell?" Naomi looked around but she found none of the familiar black green illumination common to all Borg vessels. "Are you sure?".
Mizoti rose a Seven like eyebrow.
"Okay, dumb question."
"Kellein is like Icheb and me. We are connected to Seven. We are all free and individuals, but in a way have our own Collective despite not being connected to the Hive Mind. You know Commander Chakotay is still kind of linked in that regard. He used the remnants of his connection to the Hive Mind to infiltrate Seven so she " Mizoti stopped. "It doesn't matter. Kellein, like Icheb and I, will respond to Seven's commands."
"Well, yeah, Seven is your Mum. Add to that she is Queen of the good Borg, of course her demands are met."
Mizoti nodded her head. Not even the Queen of the Borg was a real Mother, not like Seven was. Seven had the Mom-voice and she had the Queen's voice .there was no way a drone would not comply with what she wanted if Seven willed it so. Resistance was indeed futile.
"Oh! Hey, Spike, we have that voice modulator. Kellein will comply if we use that with Seven's voice. She's too young to know the difference," Mizoti reasoned.
"Worth a shot," the Katerian agreed. She punched a few commands into the recorder's control PADD and the screen flashed the designation 'Seven Of Nine: Annika Torres.'
"Kellein, respond," it was Seven's voice, exact in pitch and cadence.
** Yes, Kellein ready.**
The girls high-fived each other.
"I require you to cloak, then use a Borg transponder signal to match the exact frequency of the Borg Diamond. We are on a covert Search and Rescue mission, Kellein, and it is a high priority that we are not stopped. I also want you to navigate a course for the Borg Diamond."
**Kellein will comply.**
"Good girl, Naomi praised, then clapped her hand over her mouth as the last phrase was not at all a Seven-ism. "I meant excellent work. Make it so."
Naomi shrugged as if to apologize to Mizoti's eye rolling.
"Oh no . we've had it," the Norkadian exclaimed, pointing at the main viewer to draw attention to the enraged Klingon charging into the shuttle bay.
"Now would be a good time to cloak!" Naomi yelped.
**Kellein will comply.** The ship had obviously not been hindered by the slip of the tongue nor the vocal deception of Naomi's invention.
"No! NO! NO! NO!" B'Elanna was heard to snarl just before she turned fast and pointed to the Vulcan ensign. "Get a lock on that ship!"
"We have to go now!" Mizoti urged. "She is extremely ticked off."
"We are sooo going to get it once we get back with Seven," Naomi said glumly.
"Lets take her with us. B'Elanna will want to come .and she can pilot Kellein way better than us. Besides, we won't be in as much trouble for piracy with an adult around."
"Naomi nodded. "Good idea, Zot. And the Queen won't win, now that we have a Klingon warrior going after her mate's abductors. In fact, I'll bet my next month's holodeck rations that B'Elanna neutralizes the Queen." Using the recording device once more, the girl commanded, "Kellein, transport B'Elanna Torres aboard."
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