DISCLAIMER: Paramount owns them all (Them being the characters from Star Trek: Voyager and the premis of the show itself). I am just borrowing them and I will return them and hit the reset button when I'm done.
NOTES: Ok, since I was asking about free-writing, I thought I'd try it *s* So expect a lot more mistakes than usual as this has been neither edited nor given the most cursory once over beta-wise.
I was surprised, the first time I looked at her. I thought I had forgotten everything - and I had - but the sight of her, injured and unconscious next to me, bought back feelings. Something inside me remembered her, even if it was not my conscious mind.
I had had quite a shock when I awoke the first time. For a moment, I'd looked down at the...the catsuit I'd been wearing and wondering just what the hell I did for a living, but then the balding, slightly grouchy doctor assured me it was for a good reason. I asked what the reason was, trying to sit up, and he looked at me strangely.
'What do you mean?' He asked, fiddling nervously with the cylinder in his hands.
'What's it for?' I asked, increasingly agitated. 'Why would anyone wear this out of choice?'
'Seven, are you-'
'What? Seven?' I suddenly realised that I didn't know my own name. I didn't know where I was. I didn't know anything!
I fell sideways off the narrow bed I'd been on and backed away from the balding man, who was holding his hands out, trying to calm me down. 'Who are you?' I cried. 'Who am I?'
'What kind of name is that?' I'd snapped, feeling tears make my eyes burn. I held them back, trying desperately to feel in control of something. 'No-one would have a name like that! No-one would dress like this! Where am I!'
I'd grabbed the edge of the bed next to mine and pulled myself upright, my body stiff and unresponsive. It was only when I turned to try and escape the man that I noticed it was occupied. My eyes fell on long, lean legs, bruised and bloody, leading up to a torso that was covered in what appeared to be lacerations, partly healed. I gasped as my eyes reached her face, and momentarily forgot my predicament as feelings overwhelmed my already fragile emotional balance.
Just as I reached out a hand to touch those strange ridges on her forehead, I felt something cold against my neck, heard a faint hissing sound and everything went dark.
The next time I awoke, I went from unconsciousness to full alert in about three seconds flat. I tried to get off the bed but then something stopped me dead. I'd run into some sort of invisible barrier that blocked my progress. Gingerly, I stretched out a hand, watching the energy curl around my fingers as I pushed harder, feeling the resistance grow. I had the strange feeling that if I pushed hard, I could break through the barrier.
'You're lucky that's not stronger,' a low, throaty voice said to my right.
I whirled and saw a petit, red-headed woman, her expression a mixture of amusment and worry.
'Who are you?' I asked, climbing back onto my bed and drawing my knees up towards my chest. My body was still stiff but it was healing with a speed that surprised me, and it didn't complain when I moved suddenly anymore.
'I'm Cap...I'm Kathryn Janeway,' the woman said. Then she moved away, fingered a control panel and I wacthed as the force-field fizzed and died. She moved and sat on the end of my bed without hesitation. 'How are you feeling?'
'Um, ok. I think.' I said. 'I want to know who I am. You do know, don't you?'
She nodded. 'Yes. Your name is Seve-'
'No. Seven isn't a proper name; it's a number. Why would anyone have a number for a name? Like some sort of...of designation!'
She smiled slightly at my outburst and said, 'I'll explain fully later. Your real name is Annika. Annika Hanson.'
'Annika?' I felt my eyes fill up again. I never thought I'd feel such joy at having something as simple as my own name. I felt like a little part of me had been reclaimed. My mind bubbled over with questions and I felt them trip off my tongue before I could stop them. 'What else? Where am I? What's…what's my job? Who are my friends? Who is she?'
The last question took Kathryn Janeway by surprise. Her eyes flickered toward the unconscious woman and back to me, and I could plainly see the question in her slate coloured eyes.
'I want to know.' I clarified. 'Is she my friend? Why is she hurt?'
Kathryn fidgeted but hid it well. 'No…not really. You two have quite a history of…antagonizing each other.'
Kathryn shrugged. 'I don't know. Ever since you joined our crew you two have been at loggerheads.'
'Crew? Our crew?'
'Yes,' Kathryn nodded. 'You're part of our crew. We're on a Starship - Voyager.'
'I'm a part…of Voyager?' I repeated, feeling a warmth spred through my chest. 'Like…like family?' And what about family? Did I have any? And a Starship! What a concept!
'Yes, like a family,' Kathryn agreed, although I could sense her feelings of awkwardness pouring off her like waves.
'What is it?' I asked, agitated. My new-found excitement at meeting the rest of the crew was dampened by her obvious agitation.
'I…I can't lie to you,' she said softly, and I stiffened. 'You…didn't get on so well with a lot of the crew. Most of them.'
'Really?' I asked. What kind of person had I been? I looked down at the catsuit once again and shuddered. 'Were you and I…friends?'
'Yes,' She said it without hesitation, a smile lighting up her features. 'Yes, we are.'
I smiled a little, feeling relieved. At least I had one friend aboard Voyager. Just then, the doors had opened and a relatively tall, youthfully attractive Asian man had walked in.
'Seven!' He called upon seeing me, rushing forward. I couldn't help but smile as he hugged me gently before Kathryn pulled him off.
'Harry…' She said, pulling him aside. She said something to him which I didn't catch and he returned to my bedside, more cautious but no less pleased.
'Annika,' he said, smiling slightly. 'I'm glad to see you're awake.'
'Thank you,' I replied. 'You are…?'
'Harry,' he said. 'Harry Kim.'
'Thank you Harry,' I said, and he blushed slightly.
'How are you feeling?' He asked.
'Okay, I think.' I said, reaching up to scratch my temple. As my hand dropped, my eyes focused on the movement, following the limb during its downward drift. It took a moment to figure out what I was looking at, but when I did, I froze and my eyes widened.
'What the…? What's this? What's this?' I asked, waving the hand with the metal winding round it toward Kathryn.
She caught it gently, her eyes asking me not to get too worked up. I was tempted to ignore the request, but didn't.
'It's an augmentation to your natural systems,' she explained quietly. 'You have them all over your body.'
'I…I do?' I whispered, swallowing a slow building wave of revulsion.
'Oh,' was all I could say.
Harry gave us some space and I saw him talking to the doctor. They came closer, and I could hear what they were saying.
'How's B'Elanna?' Harry asked, and my eyes moved to the woman in the bed beside me. That was her name?
'She's going to be alright…' The Doctor paused. 'But even with our medical technology…it's going to take a long time for her to be back to normal.'
I let my gaze linger on her, taking in everything as I heard the doctor continue. 'If she hadn't jumped in front of Seve…of Annika, though, Annika would have taken the full brunt of it. She'd be dead.'
She'd saved my life…yet we weren't friends? She had saved my life? What had happened? For the rest of the time that Kathryn and Harry were there, I didn't really hear their comments and questions, and couldn't, despite my almost overwhelming curiosity, ask any of my own. My mind was filled with images of B'Elanna saving me from certain death, again and again, her brown hair flying around her proud face as she fought for me.
I looked at the catsuit a third time and felt a desperate anger at my situation flow through me, coming easily.
'Was I a nice person?' I asked, interrupting whatever it was that Kathryn had been saying.
She blinked. 'Sorry?'
'Was I nice? To people? Was I kind to animals?' It sounded ridiculous, but I had to know.
'You were a little...aloof. Hard to get to know.'
Kathryn looked almost on the verge of tears at my insistant, almost desperate questioning. 'Yes, sweetheart, you were nice. You never did anyone harm. Not while you were in control of your own actions.'
My head whipped up. In control of my own actions? 'What are you talking about?'
'NO!' The medical equipment flew across the room, smashing into a trolley filled with important looking vials and overturning it. I watched them smash with an angry satisfaction, safe in the knowledge that whatever I did now I did under my own control. But what Kathryn had told me...
'No!' I repeated, trying to convey everything I felt in that one small word. It wouldn't be enough. It would never be enough to make me feel...clean.
Perhaps it would have been better, in a twisted way, if I could remember what I had done when I'd been part of the 'Borg'. Whatever I was thinking, whatever I was imagining...I would never know if the reality was actually better...or worse.
I felt a great, churning feeling of helplesness open inside me, settling in my gut and making me have to take my breaths in great gulps. 'I don't remember!' I cried, throwing something else across the room. 'How can I have done those things? I don't remember!'
'I told you, Annika,' Kathryn said, slowly edging closer. 'It wasn't you. No-one acts of their own free will when they've been assimilated. You had no power over what they made you do.'
'Why did you tell me?' I whispered, my voice more harsh for its lack of volume. 'I didn't need to know.'
'You asked,' Kathryn said simply, her expression soft. 'Perhaps I made a mistake in telling you, but I would rather you heard it from me than from someone else.'
I felt the anger drain away, leaving me feeling small and drained. I wanted to curl up into a ball and kick and scream like a toddler having a tantrum, repeating 'It's not fair! It's not fair!' over and over again, but instead I sat back on my bed.
Kathryn took this as a sign that it was safe to approach me once more, but I didn't look at her. My eyes had fallen on B'Elanna's still figure. 'What happened?' I asked.
'What do you mean?' Kathryn said, placing a small hand over my mesh-encased one.
'I overheard Harry and the doctor talking. B'Elanna saved my life.' Kathryn nodded. 'How?'
'Well,' Kathryn made herself more comftable. 'You were wokring together in engineering when the warp core began to fluctuate. That's the ships engine.' I nodded my comprehension and she continued. 'You were working at a control panel, trying to shut it down, while B'Elanna - who's the Chief Engineer - was making sure everyone got out. She asked you to leave and you refused. You were convinced that you could stop the cascade failure and save the ship, but you needed another thirteen seconds. B'Elanna said you had ten at best, and you still refused to move.' Kathryn took a breath and I stared at her, wide-eyed and rapt.
'You couldn't stop the failure but you could channel the...er,' she paused. She had to work out how to tell the story so I could understand. 'Basically, you cut off all the parts of the engine from one another and allowed them to break down separately, containing each miniature explosion and stopping them from forming one big one. Unfortunately, one of the explosions was going to be just in-front of the console you were working at.
B'Elanna saw this and tried to pull you away, but you said that if you did not separate the final sections then they would react with the other parts when they exploded and create a big explosion anyway. You refused, even though you knew the explosion would kill you.'
'Really?' I asked, my breath catching in my throat. Was I really that brave?
'Yes, really. At the last moment, just as you inputted the last codes that separated the sections, the part of the engine infront of you exploded. But it didn't hit you. B'Elanna leapt infront of you just as it happened, taken most of the damage herself.'
My mouth hang open, and I searched for words to fit the situation, but all I could think of was, 'Really?'
'Yes,' Kathryn said, chuckling slightly at the completely shocked expression on my face.
Suddenly, a voice came out of no-where. I jumped, raising a hand to my mouth as the voice floated down from somewhere above us.
'#Chakotay to the Captain.#'
'Janeway here,' Kathryn said.
'#Captain is...is everything alright?#'
'I'll come and talk to you now, Chakotay,' she said, and then she tapped the shiny badge on the front of her tunic. It beeped, and, fascinated, I reached out and plucked it from her top. I ran my fingers over it and inadvertently pushed it down. It beeped again and I dropped it in surprise.
Laughing, Kathryn picked it up and put it back on her red and black top. 'I have to go,' she said, 'will you be alright?'
I nodded. 'I'll be okay. Will you come back?'
She smiled. 'Of course. I have a few things to do, then I'll be right back.'
I nodded, relieved, and then watched her as she left. As soon as she'd gone, I turned once more to my dark-haired saviour. She was looking better, and I couldn't help but smile.
'We must have been friends,' I whispered. 'And if not...well, I think we should have been.' I reached out gently and finally ran my fingers over her ridges. Her skin looked noticeably pale, and I felt guilty that I had had a hand in laying this proud woman down, even if I didn't remember doing so.
I wanted to know more of her story - where she came from, what she had done in her life - almost as much as I wanted to know more of mine. I wondered if she had ever done things that she had wanted to forget. I couldn't help but feel close to her: She was the only reason I was still alive. I wanted to repay her but until she awoke, I couldn't.
So I watched her.
I watched her breath, in and out, in and out, glad that it was deep and even. I watched the doctor check her every hour, then every two hours as she did better. I thought of how our first meeting might go, and I thought of what she would think of me now that I was not the person she would remember me to be. With that in mind, I asked the doctor for something other than the catsuit to wear, wanting to be out of its clinging confines as soon as possible. I wasn't comftable with every crew-member that saw me being able to estimate the size of my breasts.
Soon, I was wearing a uniform like the rest of Voyager's crew, only it wasn't the same colours. I'd had it 'replicated' in the same colours as the catsuit - those I had liked. So now I wore my blue and silver uniform and my practical black boots, feeling more comftable all the while. And still I watched, waiting for the day she would awake and we could be friends.
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