DISCLAIMER: The story and characters belong to Paramount, etc. They are so not mine and no money is being made from this and no copyright infringement is intended.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: This is very much an AU; I wanted to reveal that TPTB are impotent when it comes to understanding of what makes a good interaction and a powerful bond. For some reason (no offense to any men on the list) a lot of male writers think powerful women always must engage in fragile-ego futile pissing contests. (Men who write for CSI have done the same thing there as well.) It is true just because there are strong females doesn't mean they have to have slumber parties and be members of "we're woman in a man's world so we have to bond club" either. However I'm playing B'Elanna as a true Maquis someone who sees atrocities and fought against it. I want to play her as if she had seen first hand Cardassian Concentration camps and 'in the like of' Stockholm syndrome refugees freed from those nests of horror. I want to write her as I think she might have reacted to Seven given her background.
AUTHOR'S NOTE 2: B'Elanna isn't rebelling against her Klingon self in fact she embraces it despite her past is the same as it is in Canon. No declawed Klingons here!
SOILERS: Directly for Scorpion I-II, The Gift, Day of Honor, off-hand First Contact, previous seasons of Voyager and all Borg related episodes of the Trek series. Time line and canon are a little off but you are fanfic readers and can adapt.
WARNING:please take careful note there will be mentions of pain and torture as B'Elanna recalls the things she had seen in the Cardassian concentration camps, bearing in mind Voyager Canon as well as Jean-Luc's torture at the hands of a Gull it isn't too hard to believe the crimes they committed against another soul. I have used much of what I heard from survivors of the camps in Germany, documentaries as well as what is available on the net. Please bear in mind I am not trying to exploit this dark history but use the information in this story as writers of the show have done in the past to shed some light on the troubling context. We must remember.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
By Elizabeth Carter
"Species Eight Four Seven Two has penetrated Matrix Zero-One-Three, Grid Eighteen. Four planets destroyed... two hundred thirteen vessels disabled... two million, seven hundred ninety-three Borg eliminated."
The voices had been suddenly silenced. For the first time since her assimilation the Queen felt fear. Resistance is futile, no one knew this better than the Borg but they would resist their eminent extinction. This marked the fourteenth attack on the Collective.
The Queen had ordered tripled efforts for replacing those worlds lost, those drones that had been wiped out. It wasn't a logical move for the Collective as it was more of an expenditure to hunt down and assimilate than it was to find a way to annihilate their nemeses. All attempts to assimilate species 8472 had failed.
Even now with the armada obliterated the surviving drones had one goal above their own survival and that was to assimilate their enemy. If their enemy became Borg they would not have an enemy.
Seven of Nine was one of three Adjuncts responsible for spreading the intelligence of what they knew of species 8472 to all Borg distribution nodes. It wasn't much but it was all they had to go on. Star-maps the Collectives diagrams and telemetry of each variety of Borg Vessels. Cubes, spheres and the Queen's diamond as well as Unimatrix Zero One.
Over the span of five months, three weeks, twenty seven days, nineteen hours, forty seven minutes and twelve seconds the Collective had sustained attack after attack. The defeat had come swiftly.
Direct attack had failed and the Queen had ordered the Borg cubes within the sector to pull back and conjoin with greater numbers. The singularities the species generated had created a stretch of space that was filled with intense gravimetric distortions. From what the Borg had observed every time a quantum singularly appeared more of the bio-ships would penetrate from fluidic space and encroach on Borg territory and wipe out whole systems.
It would not be long now before Species 8472 would move on to a new grid and start their termination process all over again and still the Borg failed to stop them, failed to assimilate them failed to destroy their enemy.
The Collective was growing desperate.
Engineering was well in hand with Nicoletti, Cary, Vorik, Chell and the others maintaining the warp core and seeing to the diagnostics. The failure of the drive hadn't been due to any technological error on Voyager but somehow the Bio-ships had been able to render any non-living vessel to become static.
The Klingon gave a long hard look at the parasitical ship attached to the Borg cube and shuddered thinking it as a massive leach - a blood worm attaching itself to the hull of Voyager and sucking the very life out of her.
Granted there was no love loss between herself and the Borg but the Klingon thought beyond the destruction of one of the galaxies greatest threats. If this thing, this new alien could neutralize the Borg what could stop them from doing the same thing to other worlds, innocents and even warriors like the Klingons, Nausicans, Norcadians.
This new race would rip through the fabric of space seize control of a system and send it to oblivion before anyone could even move to defend against them. So far B'Elanna reasoned it the Borg fell there was no resisting them, no stopping this new threat.
At least the Borg were predictable and with a lot of effort they could be waylaid. Captain Jean-Luc Picard had killed their Queen twice. And that was a mark of hope for every crewmember on any starship from the Federation to the Klingons.
B'Elanna was friends with her colleague in the Defense Force, Kurak the chief engineer aboard the IKS Gorkon under the command of Captain Klang. The older Klingon had admired the strength of Picard who was a great ally to the Home World and to the Council.
B'Elanna hated to think what would become of Kurak, to Qo'nos to her mother to the Maquis if this new alien ever reached the Alpha Quadrant. The hybrid Klingon couldn't shake the idea that they had been better off with the Borg as an enemy. At the very least their motives were on some level understandable.
That was why it surprised her when she arrived to the Bridge after being summoned to take the Engineering council in the lower aft section of the bridge, that Tom had made the comment he had.
"Look at that mess. I would have loved to have seen the Borg get creamed, tin-bastards. They deserve this."
Janeway folded her arms but said nothing, B'Elanna could however see the worry in her captain's face.
"Yeah and what if this new species isn't just content with Borg for supper? What if they decide we're just as tasty? Or how about the other systems out there, the other lives? If the Borg were killed so easily what makes you think we can put up a fight that won't result in our dying?"
Janeway turned to her chief engineer who had now taken the aft station. To this the captain did react. "Because we are not linear thinkers like the Borg, we can think out side the cube. This gives us an advantage. The Borg for all their power are myopic we have a greater scope on seeing the universe around us. This is why we will prevail should this new threat turn on us." Janeway didn't add 'I hope.' But her goal to muster the sprits of her crew had been achieved. "Besides they might be an ally not an enemy."
B'Elanna took one more look at the creature-ship still attached to the hull of the cube and couldn't bring herself to think that optimistically. The enemy of my enemy isn't necessarily my friend; in fact it could be a worse enemy.
B'Elanna watched them depart her own training took over making her levelheaded in this time of crises. Few starships were able to survived a confrontation with the Borg; how much more dangerous would direct, hand-to-hand combat with them be?
B'Elanna's wish, if she did not survive the day's battle, was to take more than a few of the Borg with her into death. Her one regret was that the enemy she faced was indeed powerful but utterly lacking honor.
The sight of the maze of Borg alcoves was one members of Starfleet were familiar with. They had seen the transmissions of the Borg missions form Enterprise-D. Every single Cube was identical to the next. The look of thoughtless accretion of exposed conduits and circuitry to those handsome structures wrought by instinct with the care of insects was a surreal experience for anyone not of the Borg seeing them first hand.
The Cube has taken heavy damage- walls scorched, lights flickered and a gray-haze filled the air with the arid stink of ozone. Slumped on the grated floor lay two dead Borg, Another near by slumped lifeless in its alcove, its implants still attached to the umbilical cording of the cubicle. It was in this setting of death the three men of Voyager materialized their phaser rifles already drawn and ready to fire.
Chakotay pulled out his tricorder from his holster at his hip studied it for a moment then gestured to one of the corridors leading off to the left of their current position. "This way..."
Cautiously the trio started down the corridor. Harry swallowing the bile in his throat the Borg in his young mind were creepy. The very idea that he was seen and not seen by certain drones was in his own words 'freaky'.
A nightmare thrill fired in the minds of the humans and even though Tuvok would deny it, he too was similarly affected. He had to stop when he witnessed three drones methodically making repairs.
It was clearly evident that not only was the away-team seen as irrelevant the drones' own wounds were just as irrelevant. A tactical drone was evidently in near critical condition. He was missing an arm and leaking some sort of hydraulic fluid. At least Harry hoped it was hydraulic fluid. He didn't want to think of the viscous fluid as blood. They were so single minded they pay no heed to the team. "Looks like they're a little preoccupied." Harry pointed out needlessly.
"Lower your phasers. If we don't appear threatening, they should ignore us." Tuvok recommended and lowered his weapon.
Chakotay at first didn't want to comply with Voyager's tactical officer but he knew it was the reasonable course of action. Why bring trouble to him when it was so ready to take him unwanted. The bear of a man continued to lead the way down the narrow passageway. They carefully made their way past the Borg, who completely ignored them. There were bigger issues to be dealt with than three irrelevant lifeforms. Finally, they reached an intersection. Here Chakotay stopped for a moment indicating one of the adjoining corridors.
"The alien bio-readings are getting stronger we're close." Chakotay said once more referring to his tricorder.
Just then Kim saw something down one of the opposite corridors that brought his heart into his throat. "Commander!"
They turn to see the corridor was piled high with DEAD BORG - their bodies mangled and mashed together in a bizarre "sculpture of death." All three men reacted in shocked revulsion not realizing they were seeing the exact same image that Kes saw in her mental flash but now this was the real thing. The trio of men take in the shocking Geiger-ish nightmare.
"Curious." the Vulcan's dark eyebrow rose a bit but he wasn't unfazed by the sight before him. In fact he was far more disturbed than he wanted to let on.
"That's not the word I had in mind." Chakotay chides dryly.
"Those bodies are reminiscent of one of the premonitions Kes described."
"Didn't she say we were all going to die?" Kim asked the Vulcan.
A shudder of fear and what the younger man had intoned as 'the creeps' washed over the commander, he grunted at allowing himself to feel the fear gruffly he ordered tricorder "Let's keep moving."
Crossing in to a third corridor they watched as a single drone laboriously continued to repair a section of the bulkhead or at least at first glance that was what he appeared to be doing. On closer inspection however it was revealed that he was not repairing the bulkhead but was becoming enmeshed in the fabric of a large, irregular orifice in the wall. The perimeter of the opening was covered with glistening alien flesh. It was as though something had seeped through the Borg bulkhead from the other side and latched onto the perimeter with its "skin." Something that was organically assimilating the Borg!
The team try as they might could not see past the opening but there was a definite sense there might be a cavernous chamber well beyond.
Chakotay lifted the tricorder hesitantly not wanting to touch the acid green tendril like skin. "It looks like it dissolved right through the Borg hull."
Harry looked as green in the face as the leachy membrane latched on to the metallic bulkhead. He watched as the tactical Borg lifted its hand toward the "fleshy" perimeter, assimilation tubules extruding from the Borg's fingers ready to penetrate the alien flesh.
Chakotay recognized the needle like extensions as those he had seen not only in sickbay but the same that had once penetrated into his own neck for assimilation. His flesh crawled at the memory of the rape-like assault on his person, his spirit. He couldn't help but felt placated of his vindictive thoughts - the Borg deserved this. Live by assimilation, die by assimilation.
Tuvok handled the sight a bit more tactically. He watched with scientific fascination as the alien flesh crackled like a Tarrin jellyfish jolting the tactical drone so hard with energy the Borg was forced back slightly. Quite a feat considering how many kilos the drone must have weighed with his armor on.
"The Borg is attempting to assimilate it." Tuvok said needlessly.
Harry looked at the Vulcan with a 'well duh' expression but immediately schooled it into a more appropriate expression, feeling slightly guilty of the disrespect he had given a superior officer.
The drone however lived by its axiom 'Resistance is futile'; and thus undaunted tried again to assimilate the biomaterial that had violated his ship. And again he was jolted back.
"Doesn't look like he's having much luck." Harry commented watching the drone attempt its directive a third time - well at least the third time since the away-team had arrived there was no telling how long that the drone had been attempting to fulfill the order to assimilate.
So myopic was the drone it didn't even acknowledge the First Officer as he stepped closer to inspect the orifice. Trepidation trickled down Chakotay's spine like the sweat streaking down his body. "There's a chamber beyond this opening... forty meters wide high concentrations of antimatter particles " he paused for a moment double-checking the readings of the tricorder, Dark eyes widened, "It looks like some kind of propulsion system."
Harry was equally astonished, his eagerness seeping in "It's a ship?"
"Starfleet has encountered species that use organic- based vessels. The Breen, for example." Tuvok reasonably stated trying to keep their discovery in perspective.
Still studying the readings of the tricorder Chakotay informed the others of his latest findings. "There doesn't seem to be anybody on board." With the next breath he tapped the combadge on his barrel chest. "Chakotay to Voyager."
The captains' smoky-silk voice came over the badges, *Go ahead,*
"Captain, we've found an entrance to the bio-mass... we think it may be a ship of some kind. Permission to go inside."
Pleased with the go-ahead the First Officer of Voyager proceeded to enter the gaping opening, pausing for a moment before a circuit box on the bulkhead so far untouched by the parasitical biomatter.
"Harry... that's a Borg distribution node. See if you can download their tactical database-it might contain a record of what happened here."
"Aye, sir." The young ops-officer proceeded to do just as he had been ordered with his own tricorder leaving the senior officers to explore the creepier finds.
"Tuvok." The single utterance of the Vulcan's name was all that was needed to indicate what Chakotay wanted the tactical officer to do.
Phaser rifles in-hand, Chakotay and Tuvok made their exodus through the weird opening
in the wall, careful to avoid the "fleshy" perimeter having witnessed what had happened to the drone moments earlier.
Harry continued to work only a few feet away from the Borg who was still valiantly trying to assimilate the bio-matter with the same results as before.
Within the cavity the bulkheads were rounded organic-looking with its bone like framework, pulsing veins of energy running along the walls and fleshy membranes hanging from the ceiling like Spanish moss.
In the center of the room there was a raised dais - a structure that looked like a
chair that had grown out of the floor of the vessel. The only source of
light was a peculiar glow from certain sections of the walls. Adding to the disconcerting atmosphere was perhaps the most apprehensive a low, rumbling sound. Like a whale with indigestion. The Borg may not appreciate the sensations creeping over the commander of being in an utterly alien glistening body-cavity but Chakotay was growing more and more paranoid. More so because he felt that someone was watching him.
Tuvok was covering his six, yes but this was more than that. It was like someone was trying to whisper to him through the haze of deep sleep. Even though Tuvok would deny it, try to repressed his own emotional response to the bizarre environment he wasn't as unaffected by it all as he would have preferred. The vulcan didn't know what unsettled him more, being inside a living creature as if he not it was the parasite or his very slight emotional reaction.
Even as Tuvok and Chakotay penetrated the living-ship, the Queen of the Borg watched the proceedings with interest. She could hear from the drones still active on the disabled cube what species 5618-human and species 3259-vulcan were doing. They originated from Grid 325 and 324 what they were doing here in eighteen was still a bit of a mystery. Species 5618 did not have transwarp capabilities nor did species 3259.
What fascinated the Queen further still was the older male of species 3259 had once been assimilated. Faint traces of his dormant voice would still be heard as the slightest of whispering echoes.
She could hear exactly what the Federation members had been discussing, simultaneously adding anything relative to the distribution nodes. So far the data species 5618 uncovered was what the Borg already knew about species 8472.
They contained electrodynamic fluid which converted into an energy source. The bulkheads had intermittent flashes of multi-hued neurochemical pulses. It was a binary matrix laced with neuropathics. It was the computer core of species 8472.
The Queen of course continued to monitor the young specimen of species 5618. He was currently hacking into the Borg distribution node trying to gain access to the Borg computer banks. And for the moment the Queen allowed it. She commanded the drone to ignore him and continue with his attempts to assimilate species 8472.
Because it wasn't relative to the task the Drone didn't even acknowledge the scraping sound coming closer to the point of egress but clearly the young specimen wasn't so persistent in his task his officer had given him. From the respiration, increased heart-rate and production of perspiration the young specimen was clearly distressed by the unknown sounds.
The drone might be myopic but the Queen was the Collective she was the icon of multi-tasking even as she monitored the drone, the young specimen of 5618 she continued to monitor the other two members of the Federation deployment. From the deactivated drone on the floor of the bio-ship the Queen could 'see' through its ocular implant.
She could hear the male of species 3259 speaking and had 'watched' him scanning the scorched and damaged walls of the ship, "This damage was caused by a Borg disruptor beam. The wall appears to be regenerating itself."
From the eyes of the dead drone she saw 3259 specimen look down at 'her' and saw the shock on the drone's face, tendrils of bio-matter sticking out of its mouth wrapping around its head, leading into the nasal cavity. Clearly it was a startling sight for the specimen looking at the drone to have reacted as he had.
The Queen however omnipresent she was she was more interested in the scraping sounds coming from her drone. The distant, booming sounds of Borg disruption fires echoed down the corridor. Species 8472 had penetrated another bulkhead. A breach was imminent. Silently the Queen commanded the drone to assist in creating a front line of defense.
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